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Letter to Foreign Minister concern Nduga and intimidation

AWPA has written to the Australian Foreign Minister concerning the security force operation in the Nduga region and also concerning the ongoing intimidation of KNPB activists.

In light of this escalation of ongoing human rights abuses in West Papua,

AWPA is calling on the Foreign Minister urging her to join with other democratic voices calling on Jakarta to withdraw its troops from the Nduga regency.

To raise the ongoing intimidation of KNPB activists with Jakarta.

We also urge the Australian Government to rethink its policy of aid and training to the Indonesian security forces.

Joe Collins of AWPA said,

"The Australian Government tells us that there is an improvement in the human rights situation in West Papua. But there have been a number of security force operations in West Papua in the past year and mass arrest of peaceful activists whenever the celebrate days of significants in their history or try to bring attention to the injustices they suffer under Indonesian rule. Its time the Australian Government took the situation in West Papua seriously."

Letter below

--------------

Senator the Hon Marise Payne

Minister for Foreign Affairs

PO Box 6100

Senate, Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

2 January 2018

Dear Foreign Minister,

I again write (previous letter sent on the 18 December) for the Australia West Papua Association in Sydney about the shocking events occurring in West Papua.

The Indonesian security force operation continuous in the Nduga region which is creating internal refugees as local people including children flee their home villages for safety in the forest. However, hiding in the forest also creates difficulties due to lack of food, proper shelter and potential sickness. Of particular concern is the probable use of a chemical weapon (white phosphorus) which is banned by the Geneva Convention for use against civilians. Reports of its use include images (burn victims) has appeared in an article in “The Saturday Paper” (22 December) and on social media.

The Governor of Papua, Lukas Enembe, church and civil society organisations have called on Indonesia to withdraw its troops from the Nduga regency, stating that the presence of the military and police in Nduga has triggered trauma among the villagers in that regency and that they have fled to the forest.

Jubi report (21 December).

This demand was authorized during non Regional Government Budget plenary meeting held at the Papua provincial parliament on Thursday (20/12/2018).

“We have all attended the plenary meeting of Papua provincial parliament relating to the incident in Nduga. Thus, the stance of the provincial government, the Papua provincial parliament, the Papuan People’s Council, the Papua Representative Office of the National Human Rights Commission, the church and civil society organizations is clear. We demand President Jokowi to immediately withdraw troops from Nduga,” said Papua Governor Lukas Enembe after the plenary meeting.

In light of this escalation of ongoing human rights abuses,

we urge you to join with other democratic voices calling on Jakarta to withdraw its troops from the Nduga regency.

Intimidation of the West Papua National Committee members

The intimidation of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) continuous with the latest incident occurring on the 31 December. The Timika police raided the KNPB office, ransacking the office and arresting six members of the group including the KNPB Timika chapter’s Deputy Chairman Yanto Awerkion. The KNPB members had gathered to celebrate the anniversary of the opening of their office in Timika. CNN Indonesia reported that the Papua Regional Police had said that the KNPB office is closed and would be used as a Police or TNI post.

We point out that if the year ended with the intimidation of KNPB activists, it began with the arrest of 14 KNPB activists simply because they raised a KNPB flag on the 7th January 2018. The activists were arrested by the Indonesian military and police in Kisor and were taken to the Indonesian police station in Aifat. (Also, on the 1 December over 500 people were arrested in West Papua and Indonesia as the celebrated West Papuan National flag day).


The continuing crackdown on peaceful West Papuan activists throughout the year, the intimidation and deportation of journalists and ongoing security force operations is leading to a population traumatised and in fear.

We urge you to raise these matters with the Indonesian Government and to rethink the Australian Governments policy of aid and Military training to the Indonesian security forces.

Yours sincerely

Joe Collins

AWPA (Sydney)

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