23 November 2012
Mr Joe Collins
PO Box 28
SYDNEY NSW 2088
Dear Mr Collins,
Thank you for your letters dated 17 and 24 October 2012. I have been asked to reply on
behalf of the Minister for Foreign Affairs.
The Australian Government is also concerned about violence in Papua and we continue to underscore this message with the lndonesian Government. Australian Embassy officials in Jakarta closely monitor the situation in Papua. They visit regularly to examine first-hand the situation there and they make representations to the Indonesian Government on human rights.
Prime Minister Gillard and Foreign Minister Carr have raised developments in the Papuan provinces with their counterparts, President Yudhoyono and Foreign Minister Natalegawa, during regular bilateral exchanges.
Australia's consistent message to the Indonesian Govemment on human rights is clear - Indonesia should respect the rights of all its citizens. The Aushalian Government recognises that under President Yudhoyono, Indonesia's human rights record has improved. We welcome his commitment that any abuses by security forces in the Papuan provinces are to be investigated and punished.
In your lelter of 24October you urged the Government to raise human rights in West Papua at the IIN. I thought therefore I should report that on 23 May 20l2,the Australian Government participated in the IJN Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review of Indonesia, which included providing key recommendations on Indonesia's human rights record.
Australia recommended that Indonesia should intensiff its efforts to respect and uphold freedoms of religious and political expression, including by ensuring effective state protection for minorities; and continue to increase human rights transparencyby improving the access of local and international media organisations. We recommended further engagement with the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and other relevant intemational organizations throughout Indonesia.
We also recofllmended that Indonesia ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court; and ensure fair and proper legal action in relation to those investigated and prosecuted, including impartial trials and reasonable sentences, as well as detention standards that meet R G Casey Building John McEwen Cres Barton 0221 Telephone:02 6261 llll Facsimile:02 62613lll international norms. In addition, we recommended that Indonesia ensure prompt, comprehensive, and effective investigations into credible allegations of human rights violations by members of the security forces, and examine options for establishing an independent review mechanism withthe ability to recommend prosecutions.
In your letter of 17 October you raised the issue of Australia's support to the Indonesian National Police's special counter-terrorism unit, Detachment 88.
As you are aware, the sole focus of Australian engagement with this unit is combating terrorism. It is important to underline that Australia's training activities have nothing to do with countering separatist goups or organisations. Against ttre tragic history of terr-9rist activities in the region, - Io.t,rOirrg thJ loss of s8 Aristralians in the first Bali bombing, such engagement is crucial to protect tf,e safety of both Indonesians and Australians.
Detachment 88 has been at the iorefront of Indonesia's success in apprehending terrorists and has made almost 800 arrests since it was established in 2002. You mentioned the appearance of the Australian Federal police Commissioner before Senate Estimates hearings in October. You will be aware that the Commissioner said he had looked into the issue extensively and had found "we are doing everything that is reasonable and appropriate to ensure that we are only supporting activities that would be acceptable to the Australian community".
Thank you for.bringing your views to the attention of the Australian Government.