Concern for human rights activists in West Papua - Solomon Star News

Concern for human rights activists in West Papua

27 February 2016

Australia West Papua Association (AWPA) has written to Foreign Minister Julie Bishop concerning the intimidation of West Papuan representatives from the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) and other activists who attended the opening of an office in the town of Wamena in the Papuan highlands on the 15 February.

The Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister, Luhut Pandjaitan has also told the ULMWP to leave the country as it could pose a threat to the country’s territorial integrity.

The Jayawijaya Resort Police have questioned a number of activists who attended the opening.  

The security forces are trying to tarnish the ULMWP representatives as separatists, which raise grave concerns for their security as human rights defenders, and peaceful activists are regularly arrested because of accusations that they are so-called separatists.

A Catholic priest Father John Djonga faces possible treason charges simply because he led a prayer service on the  15th  to inaugurate the office building of the Papuan Customary Council, where a banner of the ULMWP was unveiled.

Joe Collins of AWPA  said,  “we are urging the Foreign Minister to raise concerns about the threats by the security forces to representatives of the ULMWP with the Indonesian Government.  

“We also urge the Foreign Minister to encourage the Indonesian Government to respond favorably to the request by the Pacific Island Forum (PIF) leaders to allow a PIF fact-finding mission to investigate the human rights situation in the territory”.