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Greens challenge Indonesian President

6 April 2005

Greens challenge Indonesian President on human rights

Green MPs Rod Donald and Nandor Tanczos welcomed Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono this afternoon with the flags of West Papua and Aceh, two "nations" Indonesia continues to occupy and oppress.

The Indonesian President is to meet with Prime Minister Helen Clark, and the Green MPs will be holding a silent vigil to mark his visit. Mr Donald will also be attending the President's state dinner this evening.

"President Yudhoyonon needs to know that thousands of New Zealanders are totally opposed to his government's barbarous actions in Aceh and West Papua," said Mr Donald

According to the US State Department and international human rights organisations, the Indonesian military has acted brutally in both Aceh and West Papua.

"All New Zealanders know of Indonesia's brutal, murderous actions in East Timor, and are proud of the part New Zealand eventually played in helping build an independent East Timorese state out of the rubble of Indonesian atrocities. However, the real tragedy is that the Indonesian military continues to commit similar abuses in Aceh and West Papua, and has still not been held to account for its atrocities in East Timor.

"West Papua has been under Indonesian military colonisation for the past 40 years. More than 100,000 West Papuans have lost their lives under this military occupation, with many more tortured and raped.

"In Aceh, the Indonesian military has for the past three decades waged a brutal war against the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) with scant regard for civilian life. Recently, the military has been accused of embezzling tsunami aid, and torturing, abducting and murdering villagers suspected of helping GAM fighters. "

Mr Donald said he was joining the Auckland-based Indonesia Human Rights Committee in calling on Prime Minister Helen Clark to raise the situations in Aceh and West Papua with the Indonesian President.

"We're pleased to hear the Government won't be reinstating military cooperation with Indonesia until its military is brought to justice over its atrocities in East Timor. However, the Prime Minister must speak frankly with the Indonesian President about the outrages that his military continues to commit.

"New Zealand certainly shouldn't be negotiating a free-trade agreement with Indonesia while their government refuses to address these concerns."

ENDS

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