reply from DFAT to AWPA letter re Puncak Jaya
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
25 July 2011
Dear Mr Collins
Thank you for your letter dated 19 July 2011 about troubles in the Papuan district of Puncak Jaya. I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Rudd.
The Australian Government follows closely developments in the Papuan provinces, including the recent conflict in the highlands to which you refer. The report of civilian injuries following the most recent clashes between Indonesian troops and the OPM is indeed disturbing. Such violence -regardless of the protagonists-does nothing to improve the safety and prosperity of the Papuan people.
The Australian Government welcomes all efforts to build a better future for the Papuan people and to address peacefully their legitimate concerns. To that end, it is pleasing that the senior military commander responsible for the Papua provinces, Major General Erfi Triassunu, was this month preparing to engage in a dialogue with the OPM, mediated by the respected Komnas HAM , to address the Puncak Jaya violence. Peaceful talks there are the best way to resolve differences and stop the violence that has claimed the lives of four civilians , 11 military personal and an unknown number of OPM members since May.
The Australian Government has long supported Indonesia's territorial integrity , including its sovereignty over the Papua provinces. Under President Yudhoyono, Indonesia's human rights situation has improved markedly. Nevertheless, Australia has a strong track record of raising with the Indonesian Government our concerns about allegations of human rights abuses when they occur. We will continue to register with the Indonesian Government the importance of ensuring the rights of all Indonesians are respected.
Thank you for bringing your views to the attention of the Minister.