Asia Pacific Report newsdesk
A West Papuan advocacy group in Australia has appealed to Foreign Minister Marise Payne to take the cue from a new United Nations Rapporteurs statement this week condemning the “ongoing human rights abuses” in the Indonesian-ruled West Papuan region.
Joe Collins of the Australia West Papua Association (AWPA) said there was an urgent need for Australia to speak out against the Indonesian military abuses in the two Melanesian provinces of Papua and West Papua.
“We are urging the Australian government to join with the UN Rapporteurs in raising concerns about the situation in West Papua, publicly with Jakarta, condemning the ongoing human rights abuses in the territory,” Collins said in a statement.
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“We know the government has said it raises concerns about the human rights situation in West Papua with the Indonesian government, but have not seen any public statements of concern on the issue unlike the governments concerns about abuses in China and the situation in the Ukraine.
“The issue of West Papua is not going away.”
In a letter to minister Payne, Collins raised the UN rapporteurs’ concerns about the deteriorating human rights situation in Papua and West Papua, “citing shocking abuses against indigenous Papuans, including child killings, disappearances, torture and mass displacement of people.”
The association said it would not go into “all the grave concerns” about human rights abuses in West Papua “as we have written many times on the issue”.
But Collins quoted the rapporteurs’ statement: “Between April and November 2021, we have received allegations indicating several instances of extrajudicial killings, including of young children, enforced disappearance, torture and inhuman treatment and the forced displacement of at least 5,000 indigenous Papuans by security forces.”
It is estimated that the overall number of displaced people in West Papua since the escalation of violence in December 2018 is more than 60,000.
Collins said that “Urgent action is needed to end ongoing human rights violations against indigenous Papuans.”
He also reminded the minister about AWPA’s letter on 12 August 2021 raising concerns about West Papuan activist Victor Yeimo, the international spokesperson for the West Papua National Committee (KNPB).
“He is being charged with treason. We look forward to your reply on this matter.”