Monday, May 4, 2020

AWPA letter to foreign minister


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

Senator the Hon Marise Payne 
Minister for Foreign Affairs
PO Box 6100
Senate, Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600


4 May 2020

Dear Foreign Minister,

I am writing to you on behalf of the Australia West Papua Association in Sydney, concerning the jailing of six West Papuan activists for treason. 

On the 24 April in Jakarta, the six activists were sentenced to jail terms of eight and nine months in prison. The five men and one woman were charged with treason simply because they raised a West Papuan flag at a rally on 28 August 2019. The rally which involved more than 500 people, was held to protest racist attacks by the police against Papuan students in Surabaya on August 17 2019. The human rights organisation TAPOL, based in the UK believes there are 63 political prisoners in Indonesian jails.

On April 15, the 63 political prisoners, 56 West Papuans, five Moluccans, one Indonesian, and one Polish citizen instructed their lawyers to bring their cases to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. 

The jailing of peaceful activists, simply because they raised a flag or demonstrated to bring attention to the injustices they suffer under Indonesian rule is against their rights under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states,

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek receive and impart information and ideas though any media and regardless of frontiers (Article 19).

(Article 20)
1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.

We urge you to use your good offices with the Indonesian Government to call 
for the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners.

Yours sincerely

Joe Collins
AWPA (Sydney)
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