Sunday, August 12, 2012

AWPA's letter to Sen Bob Carr concerning the recent arrests of peaceful demonstrators in West Papua


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

13 August 2012

Dear Senator Carr,

I am writing to you concerning the crackdown by the Indonesian security forces on two peaceful rallies in West Papua.  Both rallies were commemorating the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People

In Serui, on Yapen Island, the security forces consisting of a Police Mobile Brigade (Brimob) and military from the 1709 District Military Command blocked hundreds of peaceful protesters as they marched on the morning of the 9th of August. During the protest the security forces fired their guns into the air to disperse the protesters, causing many to flee in fear. According to Amnesty International at least seven people were arbitrarily arrested during and after the demonstration including a pregnant women and they are being held at the Yapen District police station. 

The Jakarta Globe (August 11) reported that in Manokwari ten people were arrested as they marched also celebrating the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People. The police accused them of being involved in a seditious act because the West Papuan National flag was waved during the rally.  We point out that at no time did any of the demonstrators commit violence and they were simply marching peacefully celebrating a UN proclaimed day
 The International Day of the World's Indigenous People was first proclaimed by the General Assembly in December 1994, to be celebrated every year during the first International Decade of the World's Indigenous People (1995 – 2004). In 2004, the Assembly proclaimed a Second International Decade, from 2005 – 2015, with the theme of "A Decade for Action and Dignity."

AWPA is greatly concerned for the safety of those arrested as many reports have stated that the security forces use torture to intimidate or extract information from prisoners in West Papua.
 We urge you to contact the Indonesian President asking that he guarantee the safety of the prisoners and urging him to immediately release all those arrested unconditionally.

Yours sincerely
Joe Collins
AWPA (Sydney) 
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