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Conflict Is Feared In West Papua – NZ Must Act

Conflict Is Feared In West Papua – NZ Must Act


Indonesia Human Rights Committee

Box 68-419,

Auckland

2 June, 2002.

MEDIA RELEASE:

Violent conflict is feared in West Papua - New Zealand Government must act.

Over the weekend there have been alarming accounts from West Papua (covered by Australian and Indonesian news sources) of a new build up of both Indonesian special forces and Laskar Jihad paramilitary fighters. Church and human rights groups fear that the boatloads of new migrants containing several thousand mostly young men are a front for the the Laksar Jihad paramlitary re-inforcements.

The Indonesia Human Rights Committee has made representations to the Minister of Foreign Affairs appealing for the government to condemn this new build-up without delay. The group is also backing an international campaign calling on the United Nations to conduct a review of the 1969 "Act of Free Choice" under which only 1,025 Papuans voted under duress to incorporate with Indonesia. The Indonesia Human Rights Committee is organising a letter writing campaign which will mobilise both groups and individuals to direct letters to the UN Secretary General and to Helen Clark and Phil Goff.

"The 1999 orgy of death, destruction and devastation in East Timor happened because the outside world turned a blind eye to the activities of the militia and paramilitary groups. However, there is now no doubt that the East Timor campaign of violence was funded and orchestrated by the Indonesian military."

"West Papuans like the East Timorese want the chance for a genuine act of self-determination. The strong support for independence is confirmed by the massive outpouring of grief over the mysterious death of popular independence leader Theys Eluay late last year."

" The West Papuans have already lost at least 100,000 of their people under Indonesian rule. Prompt action by New Zealand can help to avert further tragic deaths now by speaking out about the latest military intimidation and by supporting the campaign to review the 1969 "Act of No Choice".

for further information: Maire Leadbeater 09-815-9000 or cell phone 025-436-957


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