28 November, 2011
Joint Letter to Minister Rudd on Promoting Respect for Human Rights in Papua
- Urge the Indonesian government to ensure full and free access of journalists to Papua; because of such restrictions, deploy Australian embassy staff to Papua to monitor and observe events on 1 December.
- Reiterate your government’s support, both publicly and privately with relevant Indonesian officials, for the rights to freedom of expression, assembly and association and your unequivocal condemnation of excessive use of force and the suppression of peaceful protest. We note that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently confirmed that the US has “very directly raised concerns about the violence and the abuse of human rights” in Papua. In our view, a clear and firm public statement on Australia’s position on human rights in the area is critical, especially since there is a real risk that Australian Ambassador Greg Moriarty’s recent reference to the actions of Papuan People’s Congress leaders as “illegal, provocative and counterproductive” may otherwise be interpreted as supporting a government crackdown on the Congress. While the Lombok Treaty between Indonesia and Australia affirms the “sovereignty, unity, independence and territorial integrity of both Parties” it also requires respect for obligations under international law and the UN Charter.
- Call for an immediate, full and impartial investigation into the deaths and injuries, and allegations of excessive use of force by the authorities, arising from the demonstration on 19 October. Accountability for Indonesian police and military personnel implicated in human rights abuses is critical, especially given the increasing military and security cooperation between Australia and Indonesia. Respect for human rights and the rule of law should be essential pillars of Australia’s engagement in Indonesia.
- There is clear evidence that a number of peaceful activists, politicians and religious clergy in Papua have been subject to arbitrary arrest, imprisonment, harassment and violence. The Australian government should urge Indonesia to release all persons detained in Papua for the peaceful expression of their political views, and not conflate the fundamental rights of freedom of expression and dissent with criminal activity. The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention issued a legal opinion on Filep Karma, a prominent Papuan political prisoner, asking the Indonesian government to “immediately release” him.
Human Rights Law Centre Human Rights Watch