Francois Pihaatae, secretary general of the Pacific Conference of Churches (IST)
Jayapura, 09/03 (Jubi) – A Christian minister has urged churches to speak out about human rights  in Papua.
“They ( the churches) should speak up with one voice for the alleged atrocities committed by Indonesian security forces against the people of West Papua.” Rev. Francois Pihaatae,  secretary general of the Pacific Conference of Churches, told via telephone on Saturday night (09/03).
In launching the album Rise of the Morning Star, a collection of songs by from Fijians to support  freedom for West Papua by Fijian artist Seru Serevi in Suva on Thursday (6/3),  Pihaatae compared the Bible story in which Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead to what is happening in Papua.
He said that while the people of West Papua continues to struggle, their hopes for freedom are real and alive.
“This week a pro-Indonesian Papuan group came to Fiji to promote economic development and progress. Although this is a good thing, but not if economic progress is built on suffering, pain and death of people. ” Pihaatae said, referring to a visit by Frans Albert Yoku, Nick Meset and Surel Mofu a few days ago.
Papuans have lost the right to voice their anger, hurt and frustration on their own land.
It is the responsibility of the church to be the voice of the voiceless, otherwise the institution will be seen as condoning the suppression of the people of West Papua.
“The churches must speak out. They must bring justice to the people of Papua. ” Pihaatae stressed.
Recent a series of public lectures at several universities in Fiji organized by the Indonesian government have presented one side of the situation in Papua, he said.
The world needs to listen to the other side of the story.
“Now the church must speak out to address the issue of self-determination of West Papua. Not only on the pulpit, but also through the highest bodies in the Pacific. ” Pihaatae stated. (Jubi / Victor Mambor/ Tina)

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