Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Media Release -Cause for concern for West Papuan activists

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

Media Release 17 October 2012

Cause for concern for West Papuan activists

AWPA has called on the Minister for Foreign Affairs Bob Carr to urgently raise concerns about the crackdown on peaceful activists in West Papua. Letter below.

Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)

PO Box 28, Spit Junction, Sydney, Australia 2088

Senator the Hon Bob Carr
Minister for Foreign Affairs
Parliament House, Canberra
ACT 2600

17 October 2012

Dear Senator Carr,
I am writing to you concerning the crackdown on members of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB)  in West Papua.  On Tuesday the 16 October the security forces consisting of intelligence officers raided student dormitories at the University of Cenderawasih (UNCEN) in Waena, Jayapura in an unsuccessful attempt to arrest peaceful activists Fanny Kogoya and Danny Wenda. 

We are greatly concerned at the arrests and the intimidation of KNPB activists and human rights defenders in West Papua. On the 29 September eight members of KNPB were arrested by members of the security forces including members of Detachment  88 without any reason. They were arrested during a raid on the KNPB Regional Secretariat in Wamena . The authorities tried to blame  the activists for a bomb accident in Wamena. Detachment 88 is partialy  funded and trained by the Australian Federal Police (AFP).

We note that AFP  commissioner Tony Negus in a senate budget estimates hearing said that  Australia had spent about $300,000 training 11 members of Detachment 88 in Indonesia in counter-terrorism investigation over the last few years. The issue of allegations of human rights abuses by the  Indonesian security forces in West Papua, including by members of Detachment 88 was raised at the hearing by Senator Richard Di Natale. We are greatly concerned by the use of  Detachment 88 in West Papua and their role in targeting peaceful human rights defenders and activists.

We ask you to use you good offices with the Indonesian Government,
urging that they control the security forces in West Papua and to halt the intimidation and arrests of peaceful activists.

We are also concerned for the safety of those human rights defenders that have been arrested as many reports have indicated that the security forces routinely use torture to extract confessions.

Yours sincerely

Joe Collins
AWPA (Sydney)
CC. The Hon Stephen Smith, Minister for Defence

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