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AWPA letter to Bob Carr re attack on Honai Lama village

Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)
Media release 8 June 2012

AWPA has written to the Australian Foreign Minister urging that he contact the Indonesian President asking the President to control the security forces in West Papua and urging that the security forces be returned to their barracks as a way of avoiding further escalation of the situation and avoiding possible bloodshed.

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

Senator the Hon Bob Carr
Minister for Foreign Affairs
Parliament House, Canberra
ACT 2600

8 June 2012

Dear Senator Carr,

I am writing to you concerning the dangerously deteriorating situation in West Papua. There have been a large number of shooting incidents in West Papua by unknown assailents in the past week and the most recent report concerns the attack by the military on the village of Honai Lama, a sub district of Wamena in the Baliem Valley.

One person has been reported killed and up to 17 wounded in the attack by the security forces. The head of the Jayawijaya district said that the security forces also set fire to 37 homes. The attack on the village was sparked by a road accident in which a child was knocked down while he was playing by the side of the road by two soldiers on motorbikes from Kostrad, the Indonesian Army's strategic reserve. The villagers turned on the soldiers and in the melee that followed the soldiers were dragged from their motorcycles and one died after allegedly being stabbed.

The national police spokesman, Saud Usman Nasution said "following the road accident soldiers from the local military arrived in two trucks and took revenge by firing gunshots toward local residents and setting a number of houses on fire." The situation remains tense as security force vehicles continue to patrol the streets. There is always concern for the civilian population in West Papua when the security forces undertake operations as Amnesty International reported in its annual report for 2012, “Security forces faced repeated allegations of torturing and otherwise ill-treating detainees, particularly peaceful political activists in areas with a history of independence movements such as Papua and Maluku. Independent investigations into such allegations were rare”

I urge you to contact the Indonesian President asking that he control the security forces in West Papua and urging him to order the security forces to return to their barracks as a way of avoiding further escalation of the situation and avoiding possible bloodshed.

Yours sincerely
Joe Collins
AWPA (Sydney)

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