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West Papua Legal Action to Expose Jakarta Lobby

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For immediate release: Friday 28th April, 2006.

West Papua Legal Action to Expose Jakarta Lobby

West Papua solidarity groups today welcomed law firm Mallesons Stephen Jacques’s legal action against the Howard Government and claim the proceedings will highlight undue and unlawful interference with domestic immigration policy.

Spokesperson from the Free West Papua Campaign, Nick Chesterfield, claims the Howard Government has overlooked concerns about human rights, in pursuit of economic and ideological interests.

“Howard Government policy is being formed, not based on Australia’s domestic and international legal obligations, but on a dangerous desire to appease the Jakarta lobby at all costs. Rather then promoting and upholding International Law to help end the escalating human rights violations occurring in West Papua, the Howard Government is kowtowing to the Indonesian military and its cronies,” Mr Chesterfield said.

The current legal application is likely to force the Howard government to abide by its legal responsibility requiring an immediate decision, or for cause to be shown why no decision has yet been made.

Mr Chesterfield said the high-powered legal action will deliver another big blow supporting the growing campaign to change the Australian Government policy of appeasement.

“We’re seeing a lot of community based activities and protests in support of the West Papuans which reflect the widespread concern in Australia about the horrifying violence being inflicted upon some of our nearest neighbours,” Mr Chesterfield said.

A recent Newspoll found that over 75 percent of Australians support West Papuan self-determination, suggesting that the ALP and the Coalition are both extremely out of touch with public sentiment about West Papua.

“The Howard Government cannot maintain its short-sighted tactic of trying to sweep these issues under the carpet. The Australian people will continue to voice outrage about the violence in West Papua,” Mr Chesterfield said.

The Free West Papua Campaign’s next protest action will target Rio Tinto’s AGM on Thursday 4 May in Melbourne to highlight the company’s involvement in corruption, human rights abuses and wholesale environmental destruction in West Papua.

ENDS

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