Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Media release- Concern for human rights activists in West Papua

Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)

Media release -24 February 2016

Concern for human rights activists in West Papua

AWPA  has written to Foreign Minister Julie Bishop concerning the intimidation of West Papuan representatives from the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) and other activists who attended the opening of an office in the town of Wamena in the Papuan highlands on the 15 February.

The Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister, Luhut Pandjaitan has also told the ULMWP to leave the country as it could pose a threat to the country’s territorial integrity. The Jayawijaya Resort Police have questioned a number of activists who attended the opening.  The security forces are trying to tarnish the ULMWP representatives as separatists, which raise grave concerns for their security as human rights defenders, and peaceful activists are regularly arrested because of accusations that they are so-called separatists.

A Catholic priest Father John Djonga faces possible treason charges simply because he led a prayer service on the  15th  to inaugurate the office building of the Papuan Customary Council, where a banner of the ULMWP was unveiled.

Joe Collins of AWPA  said,  “we are urging the Foreign Minister to raise concerns about the threats by the security forces to representatives of the ULMWP with the Indonesian Government.  We also urge the Foreign Minister to encourage the Indonesian Government to respond favorably to the request by the Pacific Island Forum (PIF) leaders to allow a PIF fact-finding mission to investigate the human rights situation in the territory.

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


The Hon Julie Bishop MP
Foreign Minister
House of Representatives
Parliament House
Canberra  ACT 2600


24 February 2016

Dear Foreign Minister,

I am writing to you concerning the intimidation of West Papua representatives from the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) and other activists who attended the  opening of  an ULMWP office in the town of Wamena in the Papuan highlands on the 15 February. A number of the human rights defenders and peaceful activists  who attended the opening have been threatened by members of the security forces.  A Catholic priest Father John Djonga faces possible treason charges simply because he led a prayer service on the  15th  to inaugurate the office building of the Papuan Customary Council, where a banner of the ULMWP was unveiled.

The Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister, Luhut Pandjaitan has also told the ULMWP to leave the country as it could pose a threat to the country’s territorial integrity. The Jayawijaya Resort Police have questioned a number of activists who attended the opening.  The security forces are trying to tarnish the ULMWP representatives as separatists.  These threats raise grave concerns for their security as human rights defenders and peaceful activists are regularly arrested because of accusations that they are so-called separatists.

This is not the first time that representatives of the ULMWP have been targeted by the security forces.  In July 2015 the ULMWP Secretariat in Fakfak was raided by the Indonesian military and police just because the people of Fakfak were celebrating West Papua being granted observer status at the MSG.  According to information received from local activists nearly 100 people were brought to the police station including the elderly and women and children. They were interrogated about the ULMWP and many of their personal belongings were stolen by the police.

The ULMWP was granted observer status at the MSG Summit held in the Solomon Islands in June 2015.  Although Jakarta has tried to discredit the ULMWP by stating the ULMWP only represents West Papuans living abroad, the opening of ULMWP offices in FakFak and Wamena proves otherwise. The ULMWP has the support of  West Papuan people both inside and outside West Papua.

We urge you to use your good offices with the Indonesian Government to raise concerns about the threats to representatives of the ULMWP and human right activists because of their peaceful activities in relation to the opening of the ULMWP office in Wamena.

We also urge the Foreign Minister to encourage the Indonesian Government to respond favorably to the request by the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) Leaders to allow a PIF fact-finding mission to West Papua.

Yours sincerely
 Joe Collins
AWPA (Sydney) 

 

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