By RNZ Pacific
New Zealand’s Foreign Minister, Winston Peters, said Indonesia was making progress in West Papua with the welcoming of a press pack.
Peters was responding to questions on Friday on human rights concerns in the Melanesian region, where pro-independence militants are waging war with the Indonesian military.
Indonesia hosted a trade exposition in Auckland last week, which many condemned as an attempt to cloud issues in West Papua and win over other Pacific Island states.
Peters said he raised West Papua issues with his Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi during bilateral talks.
But he said journalists going to Papua on a press junket soon was a positive sign.
“The great news is, of course, that the group of journalists there, as we speak, in Indonesia, from Africa and the Pacific, who are also going on to West Papua, to have a look themselves. So this is progress.”
Winston Peters said he expected the journalists to report accurately and independently.
Reporters face restrictions working in Papua, where they are required to obtain special permits and use government-approved assistants.
Last year, BBC journalist Rebecca Henschke was told to leave Papua after she posted an Tweet which the Indonesian government took exception to while she was reporting on a measles outbreak which killed dozens of children.
- This article is published under the Pacific Media Centre’s content partnership with Radio New Zealand.