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West Papuans Flee to Australia

West Papuans Flee to Australia


Indonesian military shoots Papuan schoolchildren in what has been described as a reprisal attack for a boatload of 43 West Papuans claiming asylum in Australia for Indonesia's brutal occupation. Their arrival in Cape York posed a huge diplomatic problem for the Australian Government, and includes some of West Papua's leading independence advocates. "Apart from the fact that they're all West Papuan, they're all fleeing for their lives from Indonesian military violence." said Nick Chesterfield, from the support group, the West Papua National Authority.

All Papuan ayslum seekers have been flown by Military aircraft to Christmas island for "processing". A Melbourne protest will take place on Tuesday 24 January.

The WEST-PAPUA story: Below a Mountain of Wealth, a River of Waste | Tapol |

Subject: [wp] U.S. Letter to Australia on Papua Asylum Seekers

PO Box 15774, Washington, DC 20003

20 January 2006

Prime Minister John Howard
c/o Embassy of Australia to the United States
1601 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20036-2273

Via facsimile: 202-797-3168

Dear Prime Minister Howard:

We strongly urge your government to respond with compassion and in compliance with legal and international obligations with respect to the 43 West Papuan refugees seeking asylum who arrived at Port York on January 17. While Australia is to be commended for its timely and successful efforts to assist these men, women, and children after their harrowing journey, it is equally important that they now be accorded the full rights and privileges which accrue to their refugee status.

The circumstances of their plight, especially the systemic human rights violations which impelled them to make this arduous voyage, are not in question. International human rights organizations, the media, and West Papuan rights organizations now under threat have convincingly documented the widespread and intensifying abuse in West Papua carried out by Indonesian authorities, primarily by the military and police. In December 2003, Yale Law School
published a report that addressed both the scale and seriousness of the situation in West Papua. It said in part:

The Indonesian military and security forces have engaged in widespread violence and extrajudicial killings in West Papua. They have subjected Papuan men and women to acts of torture, disappearance, rape, and sexual violence, thus causing serious bodily and mental harm.

Systematic resource exploitation, the destruction of Papuan resources and crops, compulsory (and often uncompensated) labor, transmigration schemes, and forced relocation have caused pervasive environmental harm to the region, undermined traditional subsistence practices, and led to widespread disease, malnutrition, and death among West Papuans….Many of these acts, individually and collectively, clearly constitute crimes against humanity under international law.

The military and police operate with impunity within Indonesia's corrupt judicial system. Increasing military deployment and continuing development of "militia" to intimidate the local population, as well as the central government's plan to divide the province, have led to a potentially volatile climate. The marginalization of West Papuans in their own land, reflected in a dearth of fundamental health, education and other basic services as noted in recent World Bank reporting, has created intolerable conditions.

It is certain that the 43 West Papuan refugees would face persecution should they be sent back to Indonesia. We urge you to ensure that they have the fair hearings to which they are entitled.

Thank you for your consideration.


Karen Orenstein, Washington Coordinator
East Timor and Indonesia Action Network

Bama Athreya, Deputy Director
International Labor Rights Fund

Kevin Martin, Executive Director
Peace Action! and Peace Action Education Fund

Emily Goldman, Senior Program Officer
Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights

Mary Anne Mercer, Deputy Director
Health Alliance International

Joseph K. Grieboski, President
Institute on Religion and Public Policy
Secretary General, Interparliamentary Conference
on Human Rights and Religious Freedom


ETAN welcomes your financial support. For more

John M. Miller Internet:

National Coordinator
East Timor & Indonesia Action Network:

48 Duffield St., Brooklyn, NY 11201 USA
Web site:


Close Freeport's Papua Ops: Amien Rais by Joyo News Service 9:24pm Sat Jan 21 '06

JAKARTA, Asia Pulse/Antara - Former Chairman of the People's Consultative Assembly Amien Rais supported a statement by non-governmental organisation Indonesian Forum for Environment (Walhi) asking the government to halt PT Freeport Indonesia's operations in Papua province as the US mining company was believed to have caused serious damage to the environment.

"All of its arguments cannot be accepted, PT Freeport has to be closed. It's no longer a violation, but a crime," said Amien Rais here on Thursday.

According to Amien, the biggest mining company in Eastern Indonesia had damaged the environment. For instance, he said, a mountain had vanished, and turned into a lake. He also said that the snow on top of Mt Jayawijaya had melted as the result of Freeport's operations.

Apart from that, about 230 square kilometers of green pasture around the mining activities had now changed into desert.

The waste material of the mining operations left a negative impact on the life of people of Papua.

Concentrates of gold, silver, bronze, and uranium, were sent through 100 kilometers of pipelines into the Arafura Sea.

He also believed that there was a tax manipulation and an unbalanced profit sharing between the company and the Indonesian Government.

Apart from that, he asked president director of PT Freeport Indonesia Jim Moffet to be responsible for the environmental damage and for looting Indonesia's mining assets.

He urged the administration of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Vice President Jusuf Kalla pay attention to t! he report on the Freeport case and take firm action against the US mining company.

"If they fail in this, I doubt whether the government is really serious in fighting corruption ," said Amien Rais.

© Scoop Media

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