Dept of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
1 July 2011
Dear Mr Collins
Thank you for your letter of 7 June 2011 to the Prime Minister regarding West Papua. I have been asked to reply on the Prime Minister's behalf.
The Australian Government has long recognised the territorial integrity of Indonesia , including by signing and ratifying the Lombok Treaty between our two countries. The best chance for a secure and prosperous future for the people of Papua and West Papua lies within an integrated Indonesian state.
Australia has a strong track record of representations urging the Indonesian Government to ensure the human rights of all Indonesians are respected and believes this is the most appropriate avenue for such dialogue. In November last year, the Prime Minister discussed the issue of human rights in Papua with President Yudhoyono during her visit to Jakarta. In December 2010, the Minister for Foreign Affairs , Mr Rudd, raised concerns about video footage depicting the torture of two Papuan men with the Indonesian Foreign Minister, Dr Natalegawa. The Australian Embassy in Jakarta also discussed Papua with Dr Natalegawa in October and raised the issue with senior officials from the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in November 2010.
Indonesia has made progress in relation to human rights over the past 11 years, with fewer reports of abuse and more evidence of restraint by the military. The Australian Defence Force provides ongoing training to the Indonesian military that emphasises human rights awareness , accountability and respect for the rule of law. We believe that our support for increased professionalism within Indonesia's security forces will continue to result in improvements to their human rights record.
The Yudhoyono Government's policy of Special Autonomy for the Papua provinces has economic development and improved governance as its top priorities . Indeed , the Papuan provinces receives a greater allocation of central government funding per capita than other regions in Indonesia. We strongly support endeavours to improve the welfare of the Papuan people.
We also continue to raise with Indonesia the importance of accessto the Papuan provinces for credible observers , including foreign media. Staff from the Embassy regularly visit the Papuan provinces (most recently in May 2011) and discuss issues of concern with a range of stakeholders , including NGO representatives and local government officials.
Thank you for bringing your views to the attention of the Government