Report – By Henry Yamo
“Human rights are an inviolable and fundamental principle of the United Nations charter and the United Nations is always very strong in committing to ensure that the human rights of everybody in member countries and elsewhere are fully protected.”
So said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during a joint press conference with the NZ Prime Minister John Key in Auckland today.
Ban’s statement came after he was questioned by journalists who asked what measures were being taken by the UN to address the reports of human rights abuses in Fiji and West Papua.
The secretary-general said the issue of human rights was something that should be discussed with the Decolonisation Committee of the United Nations General Assembly, adding that it could deal with any country regardless of whether it was an independent state or self-governing territory.
Ban Ki-moon: “And when [the issue] comes again, whether you are an independent state or a non-self-governing territory or whatever, the human rights is inalienable and a fundamental principle of the United Nations.
“We will do all to ensure that people in West Papua, their human rights will be respected.”
Reporter: “Will a human rights fact-finding mission be dispatched to West Papua at some time?”
BKM: “That is the same answer [to a previous question on Fiji] that should be discussed at the Human Rights Council among the member states.
Normally the Secretary General acts on the basis of a mandate given by inter-governmental bodies.”
Throughout the conference, human right groups from West Papua and Fiji were protesting outside the Forum venue at Sky City, calling for the United Nations to give recognition to the issues of human rights in their respective countries.
Groups protesting in Auckland to attract attention from the United Nations included the Free and Democratic Movement of Fiji, based in New Zealand as well as members of the West Papua National Coalition for liberation (WPNCL) and the Auckland-based Indonesia Human Rights Committee.
Representatives of the two groups said they would take their call further to the United Nations General Assembly that would be held later this month.
Henry Yamo is a Masters in Communication Studies student from Papua New Guinea on the Asia-Pacific Journalism course at AUT University.