Tuesday, February 12, 2013

1) IHRC Media Release: Fact finding mission to West Papua advocated.

1) IHRC Media Release:  Fact finding mission to West Papua advocated.
2) McCully must listen to West Papuans not just Indonesia - Greens
4) McCully snubs West Papuan
Indonesia Human Rights Committee,
Box 68-419,
13 February 2013.
1) Media Release:  Fact finding mission to West Papua advocated.
 The Indonesia Human Rights Committee has faxed Foreign Minister Murray McCully to condemn his failure to meet with West Papuan leader Benny Wenda this week.
“It is shameful that Mr McCully was so worried about upsetting Indonesia that he chose not only to shun Mr Wenda himself,  but also to urge other parliamentary colleagues to do the same.’
However, Mr McCully can make amends – we are urging him to take steps to put in place a multi-party fact-finding mission to West Papua. There is a clear precedent – a multi-party parliamentary delegation – led by a National Party MP – went to East Timor in 1994 when it was under Indonesian occupation.
Letter below.
For further information: Maire Leadbeater : 09 815-9000 or 0274-436 957.
12 February 2013.
Hon Murray McCully,
Parliament Buildings,
Fax: 04 499 0704
Dear Mr McCully,
We understand from news media reports that you refused an invitation to meet with exiled West   Papuan tribal leader, Benny Wenda.  It is reported that you also strongly discouraged National Party parliamentarians from helping to host meetings with Mr Wenda.
We are shocked that you were so opposed to hearing an alternative perspective on this long-running conflict in our Pacific region.  However, we note that Mr Wenda’s visit has attracted widespread interest and support across the parliamentary spectrum.  In this light we urge you to take steps to form a multi-party delegation of parliamentarians to go to West Papua on a fact-finding mission.
A cross delegation of New Zealand parliamentarians went to East Timor in 1994 when that country was under Indonesian occupation, so there is a clear precedent.
Scholarly research has repeatedly confirmed that the Indonesian take-over of West Papua  in the 1960s was conducted fraudulently and with the use of extreme duress.
You acknowledge that there are ongoing grave human rights abuses taking place in West Papua.  The arrests, torture and killing of activists has been going on now for five decades and the security force presence has recently been intensified. It is always difficult for abuse cases to be independently investigated because of the restrictions placed on independent journalists and human rights workers. However, respected organisations such as Amnesty International repeatedly document shootings and beatings of peaceful demonstrators and widespread imprisonment of people whose only ‘crime’ has been to express an aspiration for independence or to raise the banned ‘Morning Star’ flag. 
West Papuan leaders use the term ‘genocide’ because they believe that is the only appropriate word to describe the systematic abuse suffered by the West Papuan people. They live in a climate of fear, subject to constant scrutiny from both uniformed security forces and plain clothes intelligence officers who masquerade as traders or motorcycle taxi drivers.  Leaked military documents have established that the intelligence forces maintain surveillance over a wide range of community and tribal leaders. 
Benny Wenda made a miraculous escape from West Papua, but other leaders of his standing have been killed, including Theys Eluay in 2001 and Mako Tabuni in 2012. 
In 1997 and 1998 New Zealand had a National led Government but it succeeded in playing a very constructive role in helping to resolve a long and tragic conflict in another Melanesian nation: Bougainville.
We appeal to you to take a fresh look at this situation.  It is vital that there be open access to West Papua.  We have been calling repeatedly for our Government to press for access for independent journalists, humanitarian workers, UN envoys and human rights monitors. 
Now is the right moment for a multi-party fact-finding mission to West Papua.
Yours sincerely,
Maire Leadbeater
(for the Indonesia Human Rights Committee)



2) McCully must listen to West Papuans not just Indonesia - Greens

Fuseworks Media
The Minister of Foreign Affairs Murray McCully should meet with and listen to the views of West Papuan leader Benny Wenda, Green Party MP Catherine Delahunty said today.
Mr McCully advised National MPs not to support a forum at Parliament which would have had Mr Wenda as the key speaker. The Speaker of Parliament David Carter later refused permission for the forum.
"The Government’s current policy of only dealing with Indonesia when raising human rights in West Papua means the voice of the indigenous people, the West Papuans, are missing from the dialogue," said Ms Delahunty.
"Mr McCully’s advice to Government MPs to avoid a forum aiming to highlight human rights abuses by the Indonesian Government in West Papua reflects poorly on him and the current policies of the Key Government.
"Stopping Mr Wenda from having a platform to speak at Parliament sends the message that freedom of speech is being sacrificed in order to placate a trading partner," said Ms Delahunty.
"The Government and the Minister of Foreign Affairs should reconsider how they deal with Indonesia, and stop providing military and police training to Indonesian forces while human rights abuses are occurring in our backyard."

Posted at 18:49 on 12 February, 2013 UTC
A leading West Papuan activist says Indonesian security forces cannot silence the calls by West Papuans on their right to self-determination.
The UK-based Benny Wenda has been in New Zealand this week as part of an overseas tour campaigning for West Papuans’ right to self-determination which he says has been denied to his people ever since Western New Guinea’s incorporation into Indonesia in the 1960s.
Mr Wenda says the Indonesian government has tried to discredit his people as willing participants in ongoing violence in Papua region.
Yet he says Indonesia will not stop the Papuan movement by the targetting of peaceful groups such as the National Committee of West Papua.
“Only this is the safe way to campaign for peace and the world could hear our cry for freedom so that’s why when they come out in their peaceful way, Indonesia creates violence to discrimenate them, (label them) this violent group or this terrorist group, whatever. But actually not. It’s Indonesia which is creating then violence in West Papua.”
Benny Wenda.
Indonesia denies the claims.


4) McCully snubs West Papuan

By Isaac Davison Isaac_Davison
5:30 AM Wednesday Feb 13, 2013

West Papuan independence leader Benny Wenda, with lawyer Jennifer Robinson, says aid from New Zealand sent to Indonesia does not reach indigenous people. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully will not meet a West Papuan freedom fighter who was refused a public forum at Parliament.
He confirmed that he did not plan to speak with exiled West Papuan Benny Wenda, despite calls from the Opposition for the National-led Government to pay greater attention to indigenous peoples in Indonesia.
Mr Wenda met Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFAT) officials instead.
The New Zealand Embassy in Jakarta had recommended a meeting take place if Mr Wenda requested it.
Mr McCully earlier revealed that he had advised two National MPs against hosting the independence leader after they had proposed co-sponsoring the West Papuan in a public forum at Parliament Buildings.
He said New Zealand had a constructive relationship with Indonesia, and Government MPs hosting a member of the independence movement was not a "good fit" with this relationship.
Speaker David Carter later refused permission for Mr Wenda to speak at a function at Parliament.
The Green Party felt Government was more interested in protecting its $1 billion trade agreement with Indonesia than seriously confronting its human rights breaches.
Mr McCully said he met a wide range of people "from within and outside" the Indonesian Government. He always engaged Indonesian ministers and senior officials on the issue of human rights in West Papua.
"The background to human rights matters in West Papua is not a good one. While the Indonesian Government has worked very hard in recent years to improve the human rights position, it is fair to say that even they would agree that the position is far from perfect."
The minister also noted that New Zealand gave the region $5 million in aid each year. But Mr Wenda claimed this aid did not help West Papua's indigenous people.
Speaking at a Victoria University building next to Parliament yesterday, he said the money was siphoned off by the Indonesian military.
Asked about this claim, Mr McCully said there was no credible evidence that aid had been misdirected in the region.
Mr Wenda is in New Zealand as part of a tour to promote self-determination of West Papua, which is under Indonesian control.
He spoke of horrific abuses at the hands of the military, including the rape of two family members.
The freedom fighter was accompanied by human rights lawyer Jennifer Robinson, a legal adviser for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.
Ms Robinson told media that she and Mr Wenda were used to being censored, but not in a free and democratic country. The Speaker's office decided not to allow them a public forum under direction from Parliamentary Relations, which had advice from MFAT.
The guidelines for use of Parliamentary facilities said that when events had party political connotations, they would be considered on a case-by-case basis.

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