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IHRC Calls On Govt To Speak Out On West Papua

3 December, 2000

Indonesia Human Rights Committee Calls On Government To Speak Out Against Indonesian Security Forces Killings And Arrests In West Papua

The 39th anniversary of West Papua's declaration of independence has been marred by an Indonesian crackdown. At least six independence supporters have been killed after police opened fire in Merauke on following a ceremony to raise the "Morning Star" independence flag, Earlier Indonesian police arrested key West Papuan leaders in an attempt to intimidate the people in the lead up to the celebrations on December 1.

"New Zealand should condemn these latest killings and violent clampdown against the West Papuan people. We should also condemn the provocative and counter-productive actions taken to arrest key leaders and mount a show of military might to intimidate the resistance movement," said Maire Leadbeater speaking for the Indonesia Human Rights Committee.

"We have sent an urgent fax to the Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, pointing out to him how vital it is for New Zealand to continue to speak out in support of the democratic rights of the West Papuan people. Tension is at breaking point as resistance to Indonesian rule escalates. "

"This latest violence is sadly predictable. In the lead up to the December 1 anniversary, Theys Eluay, chief of the independence Presidium Council was detained on subversion charges along with fellow leaders Thaha Al Hamid, Don Flassy and Jhon Mambor. The security forces were beefed up with the deployment of at least four battalions of military personnel, who were given orders to take 'stern action' against any threat to 'public order.' Then the security forces paraded the streets in an attempt to intimidate expressions of dissent."

"The people only wanted to celebrate a significant date in their history and they had severely curtailed their flag-raising plans in an attempt to meet the Indonesian authorities halfway. The West Papuan leaders want dialogue and negotiation and in a spirit of moderation they compromised on low key December 1 activities."

" New Zealand should also continue to advocate for peaceful dialogue and negotiation. Theys Eluay and other leaders have already have already held discussions with President Wahid and want to resume the process. New Zealand could be a significant broker."

"The people of West Papua have worked for their freedom for 39 years - no amount of force will stop their struggle."

for further information: Maire Leadbeater - 09-376-9098 cell 025-436-957


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