Sunday, April 15, 2012

Reply to AWPA letter from DFAT

Australian Government
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Dear Mr Collins

Thank you for your letter of 17 March 2012 about the five Papuan men who were found guilty of subversion in Jayapura on 16 March 2012 and sentenced to three years imprisonment . I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Minister for Foreign Affairs.

While we do not support the political objective of those convicted, Australia has a consistent and universal position of upholding the right of persons to peacefully express their political views. Australian Embassy officials in Jakarta have raised our concerns with the Indonesian Government over the convictions . As you may be aware , we regularly bring up the issue of human rights in the Papuan provinces at senior levels with the Indonesian Government. Most recently , Papua and human rights were discussed at the meeeting between Senator Carr and Indonesian Foreign Minister Natalegawa on 15 March in Canberra. Australia will continue to urge Indonesian to respect the human rights of all its citizens.

As you would be aware , Australia is committed to the territorial integrity of Indonesia, including its sovereignty over the Papuan provinces. Australia believes the best means of achieving a safe and prosperous future for the Papuan provinces is through reinvigorating the process of Special Autonomy. Australia provides substantial development aid to the Papuan provinces, $16.4 million in 2010-11, while our efforts are aimed at improving governance and living standards.

Thank you for bringing your views to the attention of the Minister.
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