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Bob Debus Should Raise W. Papua Issue With Indo

Australia's Minister for Home Affairs, Bob Debus, should raise the issue of West Papua with the Indonesian government.

Joe Collins from the Australia West Papua Association said that "Mr. Debus is the 10th Federal Government Minister to visit Indonesia since the swearing in of the new Australian Government".

According to a press release from the Australian Embassy in Jakarta, Mr. Debus (who is on a visit to Indonesia) will meet with a number of Indonesian Ministers and officials, including the Indonesian Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda, to discuss a wide range of joint activities between Australia and Indonesia . Joe Collins said that " it is encouraging that one of the pillars of the new government's foreign policy is engagement with our neighbours in the Asia-Pacific region. However, West Papua will be one of Australia's most pressing foreign policy issues in the future, and now is the time with the large number of visits from Australian officials to Indonesia, to be discussing the human rights situation in West Papua.

There are still ongoing human rights abuses in West Papua and the special representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights defenders, Ms Hina Jilani, said in a report on her mission to Indonesia that there is a climate of fear in West Papua. With the new improved relations between Australia and Indonesia the Australian government should be encouraging the Indonesian government to dialogue with the West Papuan leadership to try and solve the many issues of concern in the territory" and request the Indonesian government to allow a cross party fact finding mission to visit West Papua to investigate the human rights situation in the territory.

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Extract from report below

PROMOTION AND PROTECTION OF ALL HUMAN RIGHTS CIVIL, POLITICAL, ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURA RIGHTS, INCLUDING THE RIGHT TO DEVELOPMENT

Report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights defenders, Ms. Hina JILANI

Addendum

MISSION TO INDONESIA*
Full report can be fond at
http://www.unhcr.org/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/refworld/rwmain?page=&docid=47baaeb62

1. Climate of fear in West Papua

64. The Special Representative visited Jayapura, capital of the West Papua province, on 8 and 9 June 2007. She had the opportunity to meet with the Secretary of Province, officials from related provincial government offices, the Provincial Prosecutor, the Provincial Chief of Police, the Provincial Chief of Military Command, members of the People's Representative Council of Papua, representatives of MRP (Papua People's Council), religious leaders belonging to the Consultative Forum of Religious Leaders of Papua, members of Komnas HAM-Papua, and individual human rights activists.

65. A climate of fear undeniably prevails in West Papua, especially for defenders engaged with the rights of the Papuan communities to participation in governance, control over natural resources and demilitarization of the province. The situation of these defenders does not seem to have eased, and despite the adoption of the Special Autonomy Law in 2001, their legitimate activities for the protection of human rights continue to be targeted. The Special Representative heard credible reports of incidents involving arbitrary detention, torture, and harassment through surveillance. She was also informed of cases where human rights defenders had been threatened with prosecution by members of the police and the military. It was alleged that when defenders had attempted to register their complaints, that had been denied and they had been threatened. Instances of excessive and disproportionate use of force when policing peaceful demonstrations were also brought to her attention.

ENDS

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