3 December, 2000
Indonesia Human Rights Committee Calls On Government To Speak Out Against Indonesian Security Forces Killings And
Arrests In West Papua
The 39th anniversary of West Papua's declaration of independence has been marred by an Indonesian crackdown. At least
six independence supporters have been killed after police opened fire in Merauke on following a ceremony to raise the
"Morning Star" independence flag, Earlier Indonesian police arrested key West Papuan leaders in an attempt to intimidate
the people in the lead up to the celebrations on December 1.
"New Zealand should condemn these latest killings and violent clampdown against the West Papuan people. We should also
condemn the provocative and counter-productive actions taken to arrest key leaders and mount a show of military might to
intimidate the resistance movement," said Maire Leadbeater speaking for the Indonesia Human Rights Committee.
"We have sent an urgent fax to the Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, pointing out to him how vital it is for New
Zealand to continue to speak out in support of the democratic rights of the West Papuan people. Tension is at breaking
point as resistance to Indonesian rule escalates. "
"This latest violence is sadly predictable. In the lead up to the December 1 anniversary, Theys Eluay, chief of the
independence Presidium Council was detained on subversion charges along with fellow leaders Thaha Al Hamid, Don Flassy
and Jhon Mambor. The security forces were beefed up with the deployment of at least four battalions of military
personnel, who were given orders to take 'stern action' against any threat to 'public order.' Then the security forces
paraded the streets in an attempt to intimidate expressions of dissent."
"The people only wanted to celebrate a significant date in their history and they had severely curtailed their
flag-raising plans in an attempt to meet the Indonesian authorities halfway. The West Papuan leaders want dialogue and
negotiation and in a spirit of moderation they compromised on low key December 1 activities."
" New Zealand should also continue to advocate for peaceful dialogue and negotiation. Theys Eluay and other leaders have
already have already held discussions with President Wahid and want to resume the process. New Zealand could be a
"The people of West Papua have worked for their freedom for 39 years - no amount of force will stop their struggle."
for further information: Maire Leadbeater - 09-376-9098 cell 025-436-957