Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Media release- AWPA letter to Australian Foreign Minister re arrests in West Papua



Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)

5 April 2016
Media release- AWPA letter to Australian Foreign Minister re arrests in West Papua


AWPA has written to the Foreign Minister re recent arrests in West Papua.

AWPA is calling on Julie Bishop  again to raise concerns about the arrests of peaceful demonstrators in West Papua with the Indonesian Government, the on going crackdown on peaceful civil society groups and the intimidation of journalists for simply doing their job.  As Australia is a Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) country we are urging  the Foreign Minister to join with other Pacific Leaders and encourage the Indonesian Government to allow a PIF fact-finding mission to investigate the human rights situation in the territory. 
Joe Collins 
AWPA

———————

The Hon Julie Bishop MP
Foreign Minister
House of Representatives

Parliament House

Canberra ACT 2600

5 May 2016

Dear Foreign Minister,
I am writing to you concerning the mass arrests of peaceful demonstrators on the 2 May in West Papua. Up to 1700 peaceful activists were arrested in a number of rallies throughout the territory.  The rallies were called to show support for the bid by the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) for full membership of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) and to support the International Parliamentarians for West Papua (IPWP) who were meeting at the Houses of Parliament in London to discuss the issue. 

Although the majority of the demonstrators were released, during the arrests in Jayapura a large number were taken to the Mobile brigade (BRIMOB) headquarters and made to remove their shirts and put in a field in the extremely hot midday sun. Seven of the activists were tortured; receiving blows with rifle butts to the head, punched in the chest and head and stood on. The reports of the incidents have spread around the world.  Demonstrators were also arrested in peaceful rallies on the 13 and 27  April with the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) being a major target of the security forces as one of organisations involved in the calling the rallies. Local Journalists were also stopped from covering the arrest of protesters.

There is increasing support for West Papua internationally and we note that at the meeting of the IPWP at the House of Commons, the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said it was time the West Papuan people were able to make their own choice about their political future. “It's about a political strategy that brings to worldwide recognition the plight of the people of West Papua, that forces it onto a political agenda, that forces it to the UN, and ultimately allows the people of West Papua to make a choice about the kind of government they want and the kind of society in which they want to live," he told the meeting.  Other speakers at the meeting included MPs, ministers and political leaders from the UK, Tonga, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.

We urge you again to raise concerns about the arrests of peaceful demonstrators in West Papua with the Indonesian Government, the on going crackdown on peaceful civil society groups and the intimidation of journalists for simply doing their job.  As Australia is a Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) country we urge you to join with other Pacific Leaders and encourage the Indonesian Government to allow a PIF fact-finding mission to investigate the human rights situation in the territory. 

Yours sincerely
Joe Collins
AWPA (Sydney)








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