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Home » » New Zealand MP Calls on Indonesia to Account for Human Rights Abuses in West Papua

New Zealand MP Calls on Indonesia to Account for Human Rights Abuses in West Papua

Written By Voice Of Baptist Papua on August 27, 2008 | 7:32 PM

By Hayley J. Campbell
Aug 27, 2008, 23:39

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Last week, the Forum leaders summit met in Niue to address key issues among the Pacific island countries. Absent from those issues, was the continuing unrest and protests taking place in West Papua. Keith Locke, an MP for Zealand?s Green party, criticized the Forum leaders for postponing the discussion over West Papua?s future. In addition, Mr. Locke is encouraging New Zealand and other Pacific Island countries to push Indonesia into a dialogue about their intentions regarding West Papua.

Since last year?s Forum meeting, several reports of human rights abuses have surfaced. Specifically, West Papuans have reported abusive treatment by Indonesian military. Indonesian law has made it illegal for West Papuans to raise nationalistic flags such as the Morning Star.

?The intimidation by the security forces of the West Papuan people is all pervasive and creates a climate of fear in the people of West Papua. The overwhelming military presence ensures that the security forces can act with total impunity,? Joe Collins, of the Australia West Papua Association (AWPA), told the Fiji Daily Post.

In April 2008, several students were imprisoned for waving flags suggesting Papua?s right to self-determination and independence from Indonesia. Once a Dutch colony on New Guinea?s western end, Papua became Indonesia?s largest province in 1969. Violence erupted in 2003 after President Megawati Sukarnoputri separated Papua into three provinces: Central Irian Jaya (Irian Jaya Tengah), Papua (or East Irian Jaya, Irian Jaya Timur), and West Irian Jaya (Irian Jaya Barat). Indonesian courts declared that the creation of the central province was unconstitutional and in opposition to Papua?s Special Autonomy status.

Collins says independent Pacific countries must stand up for the rights of other Pacific peoples struggling for independence and self-determination.

For more information, please see:
Radio New Zealand International -- New Zealand MP critical of Pacific Forum countries for ignoring plight of Papuans - 24 August 2008

Fiji Daily Post -- Forum urged to consider West Papuan rights -- 22 August 2008

ABC, Radio Australia -- Forum leaders arrive in Niue for summit -- 20 August 2008

The Pacific Islands Forum -- Press Statement: Sis Leaders Conclude 17th Summit in Niue -- 19 August 2008


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