West Papuans Arrested For Flag Raising In Timika
The Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)
24 September 2008
West Papuans arrested for Flag Raising
Just days after the Australian Defense Minister Joel Fitzgibbon met with his Indonesian counterpart Juwono Sudarsono, 18 West Papuans are arrested in Timika for flag raising.
An Antara News report quoted the Australian Defense Minister as stating:
"Australia and Indonesia are pursuing cooperation in key areas that will enhance TNI`s capabilities and support the increasingly important role of the Indonesian Department of Defense".
Joe Collins of AWPA said “how we can continue to offer aid or training to the Indonesian military and police when they continue to arrest people for merely raising a flag is beyond me”.
In fact aid to the Indonesian forces was one of the main concerns raised in the majority of submissions concerning the Lombak treaty.
During Minister Joel Fitzgibbon’s visit to Indonesia the Indonesian Defense Minister Juwono Sudarsono said that the raising of the Morning Star flag by Papuans should not be considered an act of separatism.
Joe Collins said that “if the Indonesian Defense Minister is serious in his statement then he should not only support the release of the 18 men arrested for raising the Morning Star flag in Timika but call for the release of all West Papuan political prisoners”
AWPA is also concerned for the safety of the flag raisers as the report titled “The Practice of Torture in Aceh and Papua 1998-2007” stated “it can be concluded that the use of torture is long standing in the police and military and is committed in a systematic and widespread manner and the victims are civilians in Aceh and Papua”.