Monday, January 9, 2012

AWPA calls on Kevin Rudd to raise the human rights situation in West Papua with the Indonesian Government during his visit to Ind

The Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)

Media release 9 January 2012

AWPA calls on the Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd to raise the human rights situation in West Papua with the Indonesian Government during his visit to Indonesia.

The Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd is visiting Indonesia where he will meet with his counterpart, Dr Marty Natalegawa, and other senior figures," to discuss the full breadth of shared political, security, commercial, environmental, and cultural interests" .

Joe Collins of AWPA said that in light of the ongoing military operations in the Paniai region which has caused the displacement of thousands of people, villages attacked and burned and reports of villages strafed by helicopters, it is time for the Australian Government to take seriously the human rights abuses that are being committed by the Indonesian security forces in West Papua", the security forces that we help train".

According to a report in the local media in West Papua , “The military operations have been on-going ever since Brimob troops from East Kalimantan were sent to Paniai in the second week of November” (Jubi 29 December). Jubi also believes that this operation will continue as the security forces hunt for the OPM who have moved from Eduda (one of their base camps into woodland areas following an attack by the security forces. The Free Papua Organization says 14 of its members were killed during the attack VIVAnews reported that – “In the aftermath of the occupation of the OPM headquarters by Indonesia's security forces in Eduda, Paniai, the situation has become more tensed. Hundreds of villagers around Eduda were evacuated”

AWPA is urging the Foreign Minister to raise the military operations in Paniai with the Indonesian Government asking that it controls its security forces in West Papua and urging the Indonesian Government to order its security forces to immediately return to their barracks as a way of avoiding further bloodshed.

AWPA has regularly raised concerns that any aid or training given to the military could be used against the West Papuan people and we again urge the Australian Government to put a moratorium on the training, funding and any ties between the Australian military and any Indonesian units found to have been involved in human rights abuses.

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