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Open Letter From Australia West Papua Association

The Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)

Media release 20 December 2009

The Australia West Papua Association has written to The Hon Stephen Smith MP, Minister for Foreign Affairs concerning the increasing tension in West Papua caused by the shooting of OPM leader Kelly Kwalik by Indonesian security forces. AWPA has raised a number of concerns about the reported death of Kelly and has called on the Foreign Minister to use his good offices with the Indonesian Government, urging it to control its security forces in the territory during any funeral and mourning services by the West Papuan people for Kelly Kwalik and asking it to halt any military operations as a way of avoiding further bloodshed.

Letter below.

Open letter to the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs,

The Hon Stephen Smith

Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)
PO Box 28, Spit Junction, Sydney, Australia 2088

The Hon Stephen Smith MP
Minister for Foreign Affairs
Parliament House
Canberra
ACT 2600

20 December 2009
Dear Mr Smith,

I am writing to you on behalf of the Australia West Papua Association (Sydney), concerning the volatile situation in West Papua caused by the shooting of OPM leader Kelly Kwalik on Wednesday the 16 December. While his death has yet to be confirmed (the family of Kelly has declined to provide DNA samples to the authorities), there is no doubt that there is increasing tension in West Papua because of the reports of his death by the security forces . The West Papuan People are expressing their grief and outrage through numerous rallies which include calls for independence

Media articles have reported that Kelly was shot by members of the Police Mobile Brigade and by members of the anti-terror force Detachment 88. AWPA's concern is that the Australian military may have been training these forces as part of our commitment to Indonesia under the Lombok treaty. We point out that Kelly Kwalik is a hero to the West Papuan people and who, like all members of civil society organisations in West Papua, had committed himself to the concept of West Papua as a land of peace. We ask the question, what benefit have the West Papuan people received by our troops training with the Indonesian military?

It is reported that the security forces are also seeking other members of Kelly's unit and we have great fears the civilian population could suffer during any military operations in the area.

We are also concerned that the security forces will now try to make Kelly a scapegoat for the fatal shootings around the Freeport copper and gold mine in West Papua earlier this year, including that of Australian mine technician Drew Grant. The Australian Government sent two Australian Federal Police officers to the mine area to investigate the shootings and we would be interested to hear about their findings. Kelly Kwalik had denied any involvement in the killings.

We ask you to use your good offices with the Indonesian Government, urging it to control its security forces in the territory during any funeral and mourning services by the West Papuan people for Kelly Kwalik and asking it to halt any military operations as a way of avoiding further bloodshed.

Yours sincerely
Joe Collins
Secretary
AWPA (Sydney)

ENDS

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