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Howard should raise West Papuans' plight with Rice

Howard should raise West Papuans' plight with Condoleezza Rice

Greens Senator Kerry Nettle today called on the Australian government to raise the plight of the West Papuan people with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice with a view to preventing the situation erupting into the kind of bloodshed seen in East Timor.

"The situation in West Papua is the most pressing security issue in our region and as such deserves to be on the agenda with Ms Rice," Senator Nettle

"Ms Rice will be aware of the issue because the Black Caucus in the US congress recently raised it with her.

"The Indonesian government must be reminded that the world is watching the situation in West Papua and that Australians will not accept human rights abuses on our doorstep.

"Australia came late to the aid of the East Timorese and as a result many people died at the hands of Indonesian backed militias. John Howard must not repeat this mistake regarding West Papua."

"The situation in West Papua is very volatile right now. I fear that many more lives will be lost if the Indonesian government does not listen to the legitimate grievances of the West Papuans.

"Australia is uniquely placed to play a positive role in enabling the West Papuans and Indonesians to resolve their problems peacefully but so far we have heard nothing but blanket support for the Indonesian military from Canberra.

"The Greens support the right to self determination for the West Papuans, and call on the Australian government to do likewise."

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