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Insult to the Pacific

Minister’s visit draws leaders’ ire

AS Indonesian Minister Yohana Susana Yembise attempted to woo Fiji’s women, church leaders in her home were calling for justice.
 
Father Neles Tebay, a priest who coordinates the Papuan Peace Network advocacy group, spoke out against the detention of seminarians and the killing
of two people at a graduation party in the mining town of Timika.
 
“Every peaceful protest is faced with a military approach,” he said. “How can it be?”
 
His outburst came as the Pacific’s Catholic bishops prepared to send a factfinding mission to Papua New Guinea.
 
Within Papua, Catholic activists in Papua province denounced what they say are repressive measures after police detained six seminarians taking part in a peaceful rally in early October.
 
The demonstration called on Indonesian President Joko Widodo to investigate the unresolved December 2014 killings of four student protesters, when armed police broke up the protest and hauled away several people, including the seminarians.
 
“We just wanted to hold a peaceful protest,” said Freddy Pawika, who is also a member of the Franciscan-run Secretariat of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation
in Papua.
 
“We are called to defend Papuans who easily become victims of violence and the police’s brutality.”
 
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