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Indonesian Defence Minister Sudarsono In Australia

Indonesian Defence Minister Juwono Sudarsono in Australia

AWPA Calls on the Australian Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon to raise the human rights situation and the behavior of the Indonesian military in West Papua with the Indonesia's Defence Minister Juwono Sudarsono

Indonesia's Defence Minister Juwono Sudarsono is in Australia to attend the East Asia Dialog Forum. While in Australia he will meet with Australia's Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon. Joe Collins from the Australia West Papua Association said that "Australia's Defence Minister should be raising concerns about the human rights situation and the behavior of the Indonesian military and police in West Papua with his Indonesian counter part".

At the present moment nine West Papuan men face charges of plotting against the state, simply because of their involvement in a peaceful protest on the 13 March in Manokwari, where they displayed the West Papuan National Flag , the Morning Star.

Joe Collins said "how can Indonesia claim to be a democratic country if they arrested and imprison people simply for raising a flag. AWPA is concerned that military aid and training given to the Indonesian military (which the Lombok Treaty commits us to) could be used against the West Papuan people".

Australian governments of all persuasions believe that a stabilised region to our north is our best defence. Yet it is the activities of the Indonesian military and police, their involvement in human rights abuses and resource extraction which will lead to the very instability that the government is trying to avoid.

Australia's defence minister should not only raise the human rights situation in West Papua with the Indonesian defence minister but call on the Indonesian government to release all political prisoners including the nine arrested in Manokwari . If Indonesian wants to claim to be a democratic country it should stop imprisoning people for simply taking part in peaceful protests.

ENDS

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