Thursday, May 5, 2016

1) West Papua report dismisses Canberra’s claims


2) NZ govt concerned about human rights abuses in Papua
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1) West Papua report dismisses Canberra’s claims
7:13 pm today
Claims by Canberra that the plight of West Papuans in the Indonesian region is improving are false, according to an Australian Catholic Church fact finding mission's report.
The mission in February by the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission in Brisbane has produced a report called 'We will Lose Everything'
Peter Arndt, who led the fact finding team, says the indigenous people they met made it clear the human rights situation was not improving and it remains a difficult environment.
"With security forces routinely using violence and intimidation to keep the people, and especially those wanting to express their political views about self determination, at bay," he said.
Following his last trip to West Papua, Mr Arndt said he went to Jakarta where he said he made an attempt to speak to an official from the Australian embassy, to report on what his team had found in Papua.
"But for some reason my appointment was cancelled 45 minutes before it was due to be held."
Peter Arndt said it's hoped that the report, which is being progressively launched around the Pacific, would lead to a greater understanding of what is happening in West Papua.
Some Papuans say life in their region has improved significantly, compared to the years under the rule of Indonesia's President Suharto who fell in 1998.
But the proportion of West papuans to the overall population of their region is declining quickly as non-Papuan migrants stream in on a regular basis, via the state-facilitated transmigration system.
Mr Arndt explained that Papuans he had spoken to were very worried that they would continue to be deeply marginalised economically and socially.
"So they want people to hear their story and their desperation," he said, "and to take effective action to change that situation in West Papua before it's too late for them."
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2) NZ govt concerned about human rights abuses in Papua
7:13 pm today
The New Zealand government has reiterated its concerns about human rights abuses in Indonesia’s Papua region.
On Monday as many as 1,700 people were arrested in demonstrations across all of the main Papuan cities.
The demonstrations were in support of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua's bid to be a full member of the Melanesian Spearhead Group, as well as the International Parliamentarians for West Papua summit held in London this week.
Responding to questions in parliament today from opposition Green MP Catherine Delahunty about ongoing human rights abuses the Foreign Minister Murray McCully said New Zealand had always been concerned about the situation in West Papua.
" I have been following the reports of arrests with some interest. The government is concerned about these matters and the government wants to see an improvement in the situation in that part of the world. The government does not believe that megaphone diplomacy will serve that objective."
Earlier this week the government blocked a motion by Ms Delahunty which was to have asked New Zealand's parliament to support the call by the International Parliamentarians for West Papua for a referendum on self-determination in Papua.
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