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Security treaty with Indonesia premature

Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)


Press release 9 November 2006

Security treaty with Indonesia premature


The Australia West Papua Association spokesperson Joe Collins expressed grave concerns at the new security treaty with Indonesia.

AWPA is concerned that there is too much secrecy surrounding this security treaty. We do not know the full terms of this agreement or what the government is committing us to.

AWPA is particularly concerned that the treaty contains clauses that commits us to suppress Papuan independence supporters and activists What does this actually mean? And in conducting joint border protection patrols with Indonesia do we turn back West Papuan asylum seekers fleeing persecution? Collins said.

Mr Downer implies that the first security treaty with Indonesia failed because the agreement had not been subject to any public debate and had not proved to be a sustainable document. In discussing the proposed treaty last June, Mr Downer stressed that "there will be no secret treaty" -"This whole process will be very transparent," and "People will be able to make public submissions long before this treaty is formally ratified.

Yet we have not seen any call for submissions concerning this treaty. If the government is so sure of the publics support why not publish the full seven pages of the treaty?

A Newspoll commissioned on the treaty by businessman Ian Melrose and released yesterday, showed 64 per cent of Australians supported a clause which guaranteed access to foreign journalists to areas of Indonesia such as West Papua and 72 per cent of respondents supported free access for human rights monitors.

“The West Papuan people have a right to choose their own future and Australia appears to deny this right to the West Papuan people. While human rights abuses continue in West Papua, Australia should not be negotiating a security agreement which will restore military relations with Indonesia in any form”.


ENDS

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