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Home » , , , , , , » ‘Don’t ignore West Papua’ appeal from human rights advocate

‘Don’t ignore West Papua’ appeal from human rights advocate

Written By Voice Of Baptist Papua on August 26, 2012 | 6:37 PM

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By the Pacific Media Centre news desk

A prominent Australian advocate on West Papuan human rights has appealed to the Pacific Islands Forum not to “ignore the issue as it has done in the past” at the leaders meeting in the Cook Islands this week.

Responding to a briefing to a Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) media briefing on the Forum yesterday by Secretary-General Tuiloma Neroni Slade that one of issues to be discussed would be regional security, Joe Collins of the Australia West Papua Association warned of current security issues in the Indonesian-ruled region.

“Although it is to be expected that RAMSI  (Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands) and the situation in Fiji will be the top security issues of concern, we hope the PIF leaders will not ignore the issue of West Papua as it has in the past,” Collins said in Sydney.

2012 PIF logoCollins said a security operation was ongoing in the Paniai region of West Papua after a police officer was shot and killed.
Authorities had also imposed a curfew in the district.

The district police chief, Adj. Sr. Comr. Anton Diance, had reportedly said the police were tracking down those responsible for the killing, Collins said in a statement.
“Activists in Paniai have reported that during the security operation the police have raided homes and arbitrarily arrested innocent civilians,” he said.

‘Home torches’

“At least five homes were torched by police officers, the activists claimed, and at least 15 civilians were tortured.
“The police deny the claims, saying they are in pursuit [of the suspects] according to procedures,” Collins said.

According to the AWPA statement, the Coordinating Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Minister Djoko Suyanto said last week the government’s heavy-handed response to the recent shootings in Papua should not be misconstrued as a human rights violation, as it was a “risk that had to be taken in locating the perpetrators”.

“We will take all necessary action to track them down, so don’t blame us for any human rights violations, because they are the human rights violators who terrorise members of the security forces and the people of the land,” Djoko said at his ministry.

The comments were made after a coordination meeting with the National Intelligence Agency (BIN) chief Lt. Gen. Marciano Norman, National Police chief Gen. Timur Pradopo, and Indonesian Military (TNI) chief Adm. Agus Suhartono on Thursday.

Sweeping operations

“These statements are of concern as they imply the security forces can act with impunity in their sweeping operations,” said Collins, who was one of the leaders at a pro-West Papuan demonstration during the Forum in Auckland last year and at a regional conference on the issue.

He called on the PIF leaders to raise the human rights situation in West Papua with the Indonesian government and also to urge Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to “control” his security forces in the territory.

“The West Papuan conflict should be of great concern to the Forum leaders and if it is ignored we will see increasing conflict in West Papua which in turn could affect the region,” he said.

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