Friday, January 6, 2017

'Special relationship' is house of cards

Letter in todays SMH 7 Jan 2016

'Special relationship' is house of cards

The West Papuan solidarity movement has been calling on the Australian government for years to stop all ties with the Indonesian military. Indonesia has just done so ("Cutting ties a matter of principle", January 6). It's a pity it did not come from the Australian side because of ethical reasons i.e. because of the behaviour of the Indonesian military in West Papua.
Throughout the past year the Indonesian security forces cracked down on numerous peaceful rallies with thousands of Papuans arrested. Although the majority of activists were eventually released, during the arrests activists are regularly beaten and in some cases face torture. The Australian government should note that's it's now 53 years since Indonesia took over administration of West Papua in 1963 and West Papuans are still marching in the streets calling for a real referendum unlike the sham so-called act of free choice that was held in 1969.
We are continually told that Indonesia and Australia have a special relationship. What sort of relationship is it if an incident can occur because an Indonesian soldier does not like to see educational material about West Papua? The relationship appears to be a house of cards. The Australian government should realise the issue of West Papua is not going away and should be doing all it can to raise concern about the human rights situation in West Papua with the Indonesian government.
Joe Collins Australia West Papua Association Mosman


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