World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


West Papua: A regional issue of concern

AWPA calls on the PIF countries to put West Papua on its agenda as a regional issue of concern

The 41st Pacific Islands Forum will be held in Port Vila, Vanuatu between 3-6 August.

The Australia West Papua Association has written to the leaders of the PIF countries asking that

At the PIF summit in Vanuatu in August, the Australia West Papua Association
urges the Pacific Islands Forum

to have the issue of West Papua on its agenda and also on the agenda of all future meetings of the PIF as a regional issue of concern

urges the PIF to send a fact finding mission to West Papua to investigate the human rights situation in the territory.

urges the PIF to raise concerns about the human rights situation in West Papua with the Indonesian President and call on him to halt any ongoing or proposed military operations in the Puncak Jaya region.

urges the PIF to grant observer status to genuine representatives of the West Papuan people who are struggling for their right to self-determination.

The International community has be stating that the autonomy package is the best way forward for the West Papuan people. However , not only have the West Papuan people rejected it but even those institutions that were implementing it have also realised it has failed. We believe that it is pointless for the international community to keep saying the autonomy package is the best way forward for the West Papuan people. AWPA believes that regional organisations such as the PIF can play an important role in helping facilitate dialogue between the West Papuan leadership and the Indonesian Government and we encourage the PIF to urge the Indonesian President to dialogue with representative of the West Papuan people to discuss all the issues of concern in the territory.


Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)
17 July 2010

Re Pacific Islands Forum

Dear Prime Minister,

The Australia West Papua Association (Sydney) is writing to you concerning the issue of West Papua. It is now 47 years since Indonesia took over the administration of West Papua from the United Nations Temporary Executive Authority (UNTEA) in 1963 and the people of West Papua still continue their struggle for self -determination. This can be clearly seen by the thousands of West Papuans who marched peacefully in the past week in the symbolic handing back of the failed “special autonomy” package to Jakarta. They were also calling for a referendum.

The human rights situation in West Papua has continued to deteriorate since the last Pacific Islands Forum (PIF ) summit with ongoing human rights abuses occurring in the territory. We would like to bring your attention to a number of recent reports that raise grave concerns about the human rights situation in West Papua.


In Amnesty’s International Report for 2010, it states in relation to Papua
“Violence increased sharply around the time of parliamentary and presidential elections, creating a climate of fear and intimidation. There were reports that security forces used unnecessary or excessive force during demonstrations and tortured and ill treated people during arrest, questioning and detention. Security forces also reportedly committed unlawful killings. Severe restrictions were imposed on the right to peaceful assembly and expression”.

Amnesty’s report also points out that
“At least 114 people were detained for peacefully expressing their views. The overwhelming majority were peaceful political activists who were sentenced to terms of imprisonment for raising prohibited pro independence flags in Maluku or Papua”.


Below is an extract from Human Rights Watch World Report for 2010, in relation to West Papua.

"Papua and West Papua
Indonesian authorities have responded to a longstanding, low-level armed separatist insurgency in the provinces of Papua and West Papua with a strong troop presence and often harsh and disproportionate responses to non-violent dissent or criticism. Human Rights Watch has long expressed concerns over anti-separatist sweeps by the police, which often result in individuals who peacefully express support for independence being arrested and detained on charges of treason or rebellion (makar). The government continues to restrict access by foreign human rights monitors and journalists to Papua, exacerbating the existing climate of impunity and making investigations extremely difficult. Prior to being ordered to close its Jayapura office, the ICRC had been visiting detainees in Papua's Abepura prison, where prison guards continued to torture inmates, including political prisoners Buchtar Tabuni and Yusak Pakage.

In July a series of shootings at the Freeport goldmine in Timika left three people dead, including one Australian. Police, declaring that the Free Papua Movement (OPM) was involved in the attacks, arrested at least 20 Papuans in relation to the killings and declared seven as suspects. The OPM denied any involvement, and those targeted by the police insisted that they were neither affiliated with the OPM nor participants in the attacks. In November police released the final seven Papuans detained in connection with the incident. In November a Manokwari district court convicted three men of makar (rebellion), for raising a pro-independence flag".

(Note. Yusak Pakage has been released in July and this is welcome however a large number of political prisoners still remain in jail.)


The Indonesian security forces have also been conducting sweeping operations in the Puncak Jaya regency in the highlands of West Papua looking for members of the OPM. These security operations have occurred regularly in the Puncak Jaya region leaving the local people in fear and traumatised. There has been a call by the authorities for the OPM to surrender and there is a danger that if the OPM does not surrender a much larger security operation will take place. The possibility of a larger military operation taking place is only adding to the fear in local communities in the region.


We thank all the Forum leaders for raising concerns about the human rights situation in West Papua in the official communiqué at past PIF summits.

At the PIF summit in Vanuatu in August, the Australia West Papua Association
urges the Pacific Islands Forum

to have the issue of West Papua on its agenda and also on the agenda of all future meetings of the PIF as a regional issue of concern

urges the PIF to send a fact finding mission to West Papua to investigate the human rights situation in the territory.

urges the PIF to raise concerns about the human rights situation in West Papua with the Indonesian President and call on him to halt any ongoing or proposed military operations in the Puncak Jaya region.

urges the PIF to grant observer status to genuine representatives of the West Papuan people who are struggling for their right to self-determination.

The International community has be stating that the autonomy package is the best way forward for the West Papuan people. However , not only have the West Papuan people rejected it but even those institutions that were implementing it have also realised it has failed. We believe that it is pointless for the international community to keep saying the autonomy package is the best way forward for the West Papuan people. AWPA believes that regional organisations such as the PIF can play an important role in helping facilitate dialogue between the West Papuan leadership and the Indonesian Government and we encourage the PIF to urge the Indonesian President to dialogue with representative of the West Papuan people to discuss all the issues of concern in the territory.

AWPA (Sydney)

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Gaza: Worst And Bloodiest Day Since The Beginning Of The Offensive

• Mass Killings in al-Shuja'iya Neighborhood in Gaza and Dozens of Dismembered Bodies Are in the Streets; More>>

ALSO:

Russia: Lack Of Access At Crash Site Of MH17

We are deeply concerned by the Russia-backed separatists’ refusal to allow OSCE monitors safe and unfettered access to the crash site of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17. Yesterday, the monitors were allowed only 75 minutes at the site. Today, they ... More>>

ALSO:

Syria: Palestinians In Refugee Camp 'will Likely Go Hungry'

Unable for more than a month now to deliver food and other supplies to Palestinians trapped in a refugee camp near Damascus, the United Nations agency tasked with ensuring their well-being said today it is urgently seeking to resume its humanitarian activities, ... More>>

Al Jazeera: Egypt Verdict Defies Logic And Any Semblance Of Justice

Following today’s verdict in Cairo, Al Jazeera English managing director Al Anstey said: “Today three colleagues and friends were sentenced, and will continue behind bars for doing a brilliant job of being great journalists. More>>

Papua New Guinea: Indonesian Troops Fire On PNG Soldiers Along Border

Indonesian troops have opened fire on a PNG Defence Force border patrol, increasing further tension at the Papua New Guinea-Indonesia border. The flare-up at the border compelled the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Immigration to summon the Indonesian ... More>>

World News: Internet Well On Way To 3 Billion Users - UN Telecom Agency

Releasing new statistics today, the United Nations International Telecommunications Union (ITU) announced that by end 2014, there will be nearly three billion Internet users – two-thirds of them from the developing world – with mobile-broadband ... More>>

Syria: Gunfire Impedes Food Delivery To Palestinian Refugees

Gunfire stopped distribution of food today in a besieged Palestinian refugee camp, a United Nations spokesperson confirmed today, reiterating demands that the UN agency assisting Palestinian refugees be allowed to safely and without interruption distribute ... More>>

Ukraine: Ban Welcomes Release Of Abducted Military Observers

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has welcomed the release earlier today of European military monitors and accompanying Ukrainian staff abducted a week ago in the country's crisis-torn eastern region, even as he expressed sadness at the loss of life... More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news