Friday, April 26, 2013

1) AWPA letter to Sen Bob Carr

1) AWPA letter to Sen Bob Carr
4) Marni Gilbert & Maire Leadbeater: Stand up for West Papua

1) AWPA letter to Sen Bob Carr
Senator the Hon Bob Carr
Minister for Foreign Affairs
Parliament House, Canberra
ACT 2600

26 April 2013
Dear Senator Carr,
I am writing to you concerning  statements from the security forces   in West Papua regarding peaceful rallies called by civil society organisations  to be held on the 1 May. The rallies are to commemorate the  tragic event of  50 years ago when  the United Nations Temporary Executive Authority (UNTEA) transferred administration of the Dutch colony of Netherlands New Guinea to Indonesia on the 1 May in 1963. 

AWPA is  concerned that statements from the security forces indicate they may crackdown on any peaceful rallies held to protest the handover by the UN. The Jayapura police chief has said that 1000 security personal will be on duty and that there would be an increase in patrols for the 1 May. The police chief also said "in principle we do not give permission to anyone in the community to hold a memorial ceremony on the 1 May". 

One of the civil society organisations, the West Papua National Committee  (KNPB) plan to hold a  peaceful rally in Sentani at the grave of Chief Theys Eluay, who was killed  by Kopassus officers in  November 2001. At the commemoration held  last year one person was killed and 13 people were arrested when they unfurled the West Papuan national flag.  

AWPA is urging you to use your good offices with the Indonesian Government asking that it control its security forces in West Papua and urging the Government to keep the security forces in  their barracks and let the West Papuan people commemorate this tragic event in their history peacefully.

Yours sincerely
Joe Collins
AWPA (Sydney) 


2) PM meets West Papuan leaders, shows support

Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo yesterday meets officials from the West Papuan National Coalition for Liberation (WPNCL) in Honiara.
During the meeting with Mr. Lilo expressed his support for the West Papuan agenda to be discussed at the MSG level.
He said this would be included in the next Melanesian Spearhead Group Summit.
Mr. Lilo said that he was aware of the West Papuan struggles, which is now more than 50 years.
Vice Chairman of the WPNC Dr. Otto Ondawame expressed his delight after the assurance by Prime Minister Lilo.
Dr. Ondawame said given the important role that MSG plays in regional politics it is vital that the West Papuan issue is discussed at the leadership level.
He said they area also rallying for support in Melanesia and beyond to ensure that their West Papuan issue is discussed at all opportunities available at the regional and international level.
Posted at 01:50 on 26 April, 2013 UTC
The Solomons Islands Prime Minister met with officials from the West Papuan National Coalition for Liberation in Honiara yesterday.
The Solomon Star reports Gordon Darcy Lilo gave support for the West Papuan agenda to be discussed at the Melanesian Spearhead Group summit in June.
The summit will be hosted by New Caledonia’s Kanak and Socialist National Liberation Front, the FLNKS.
The Star reports the vice chairman of the West Papuan National Coalition, Otto Ondawame was delighted by Prime Minister Lilo’s comments.
Dr Ondawame says given the important role the MSG plays in regional politics it is vital the West Papuan issue is discussed by Melanesian leaders.

4) Marni Gilbert & Maire Leadbeater: Stand up for West Papua

By Marie Leadbeater, Marni Gilbert
9:30 AM Friday Apr 26, 2013
Indonesia has been getting away with human rights abuses, write Marni Gilbert and Maire Leadbeater

It has been controversial right from the time of the first pilot project five years ago, but our Government seems set to continue giving aid to the police in Indonesian-controlled West Papua. Does anyone seriously think that a course about community policing can transform a police force whose modus operandi is intimidation and brutal force?
Although it is little publicised, New Zealand also trains Indonesian military officers at our Defence Force Staff and Command College. In 2011 we trained an officer from Kopassus, the feared Special Forces. Last month 11 Kopassus men stormed a Yogyakarta prison and gunned down four detainees. That was just the latest in a horrific list of crimes which includes the 2001 assassination of West Papua's charismatic independence leader Theys Eluay.
It took an appeal to the Office of the Ombudsman before we could extract information about whether New Zealand considered the human rights record of the Kopassus officer before accepting him. But the answer was quite straightforward - no human rights screening was done.
West Papuans have been campaigning for freedom since the 1960s when the Dutch plan to prepare the country for independence was derailed.
Western nations and even the UN chose to stay on side with Indonesia and turn a blind eye to a fraudulent "act of free choice" in 1969. Only a little over 1000 handpicked and threatened men took part in a vote that has since been fully discredited.
Indonesia's harsh repression has resulted in a death toll of at least 100,000, and a refugee flow of more than 10,000. Today the youthful leaders of the peaceful resistance movement describe their land as one big prison where no activist or human rights defender is free from surveillance or the punitive actions of the police and the military.
Indonesia has marginalised the indigenous population by encouraging migration from its more populous regions to the extent that the Papuans may now be a minority in their own land.
In remote areas there are regular reports of mass deaths through a combination of malnutrition and untreated communicable disease.
Church and traditional leaders repeatedly call for dialogue between the Indonesian authorities and representatives of the Papuan people. They want this process to be mediated by a third party - perhaps a Pacific neighbour such as New Zealand.
West Papua is in a black hole of media obscurity since Indonesia bars almost all international journalists, although some manage to visit clandestinely and some brave "citizen journalists" circulate reports and videos on the internet. The Pacific tour of British-based tribal leader Benny Wenda in February helped to turn the spotlight on West Papua. In Wellington Speaker David Carter banned Benny from speaking on parliamentary premises, thus ensuring good media attention and exposing the Government's "see no evil, hear no evil" approach.
Importantly, Benny's visit helped to reignite the West Papua debate in Melanesia. It is now probable that the Melanesian Spearhead group of nations, which includes New Caledonia's independence movement (FLNKS), as well as Fiji, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu will grant West Papuan representatives official observer status when it meets in June.
In a break with the past, several prominent Papua New Guinea politicians are urging their Government to take a strong stand for improved human rights across the border in West Papua.
Fiji rightly claims our attention, but why not West Papua where human rights violations are off the scale? For one thing it is the only territory in the Pacific to have long-term political prisoners. At the end of March there were at least 40 political detainees, many of whom have been subjected to torture and forced confessions. Most have faced charges of treason but this is code for actions such as raising the banned Morning Star flag or to leading a demonstration calling for a self-determination referendum.
Fortunately there is a promising new international campaign to publicise this situation. Indonesian, West Papuan and international NGOs have just joined together to launch, a carefully documented account of all of those serving sentences for non-crimes or undergoing interrogation.
Our group will make the campaign to free West Papua's political prisoners a priority.
The Government faces a choice. Stand up for West Papuan rights and work with the Melanesian nations as they stir to action. Or continue business as usual with Indonesia - training the forces of oppression and shunning West Papuan leaders.
Marni Gilbert and Maire Leadbeater are members of West Papua Action Auckland.
Dialogue: Contributions are welcome and should be 600-800 words. Send your submission to Text may be edited and used in digital formats as well as on paper.
By Marie Leadbeater, Marni Gilbert

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