28. WEST PAPUA (Presbytery / Synod of South Australia and Presbytery / Synod of Western Australia)

That the Assembly resolve to

1. continue to express solidarity with the people of Papua by resourcing and supporting our partner church, the Evangelical Christian Church in the Land of Papua, in its ministry of peace and reconciliation, and in its call to for all Papuans to have an effective voice in determining their future.

2. welcome President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s stated commitment to working with the churches in Papua to end violence. With our partner church, call on the Indonesian Government to withdraw military forces from a security role among local communities in Papua, to hand all these responsibilities to the police, and to bring perpetrators of human rights abuses to justice.

3. affirm initiatives taken by the Synod of Western Australia, the Synod of South Australia and Uniting Church congregations and communities with UnitingWorld as the Uniting Church in Australia engages in Papua.

4. encourage more Uniting Church communities to engage in similar actions.

5. express to the Australian Government about our concerns for Papua and to call on the Australian Government to support initiatives that involve peace, reconciliation and the development of an effective voice for all Papuans regarding their future.

Rationale:

The Uniting Church in Australia works in partnership with the Evangelical Christian Church in the Land of Papua. This partnership commenced more than 20 years ago.

Indigenous Papuan communities are under serious pressure. Their Melanesian and their Christian identity is under threat. Rapid, ongoing, migration from other parts of Indonesia means indigenous Papuans will soon become a minority in their own land. Meanwhile, extensive militarization, poor health and education facilities and the impact of large scale mining, oil palm and logging interests are having a critical impact on the survival of local communities.

In a meeting with church leaders on 16th December 2011, President Susilo Bambang Yuhoyono identified churches and religious leaders as having a central role to play in Papua’s future. He also stated that he Indonesian Government is committed to solving “the problem in Papua.”

This resolution is developed in consultation with UnitingWorld.