UK Government supports the UP4B and freedom of expression in Papua

Bintang Papua

The Director of the Asia-Pacific Directorate of Foreign Office, Peter Wilson, has responded positively to the creation of UP4B, the Unit for the Acceleration of Development in the Provinces of Papua and West Papua.

His support for the Unit was expressed during a meeting with Bambang Darmono, the head of UP4B, at the Foreign Office in London.

'The British Government will continue to keep in touch with the UP4B in the framework of supporting development in the provinces of Papua and West Papua,' the spokesman for the UP4B delegation stated in a press release following the meeting.

The head of UP4B was on a visit to London on the invitation of the British Government, in order to visit several institutions and meet several individuals to discuss the question of development and living conditions in West Papua, in anticipation of the impact of Global Warming and with regard to freedom of expression.

The head of UP4B said that the Unit would speed up development in Papua and West Papua, based on the principle of ensuring a good environment for the people. He said that programmes to accelerate development in the two provinces would pay close attention to the question of protecting the environment because this was of lasting importance to the future of the Papuan people.

He also said that the question of traditional land ownership had been discussed and said that everything will be done to respect this. This was in order to ensure that the people of Papua and West Papua could play a role in productive economic activities.

With regard to the question of freedom of expression, the British Government believes that this is going well because the chance to express opinions in public happens very frequently. This is evident from the many reports in the media about the occurrence of political activities such as frequently-held demonstrations. The police only take action when demonstrators act in violation of the law or in the case of criminal activities.

During his visit to London, the head of UP4B met several Members of Parliament, including Richard Graham. He also had a discussion with Amnesty International to discuss how the principle of basic human rights was being handled in Papua.

He is quoted as saying: 'The discussion with Amnesty International was very productive because both sides were able to explain their positions on the question, within the framework of the situation in West Papua.'

[Translated by TAPOL]