INDEPENDENT NEWS

Letter To Phil Goff Re: Crisis in Puncak Jaya

Published: Mon 20 Dec 2004 09:02 AM
A copy of the letter sent today to Phil Goff re the humanitarian crisis in Puncak Jaya, West Papua

Indonesia Human Rights Committee,
Box 68-419,
Auckland.
Hon Phil Goff,
Minister of Foreign Affairs,
Parliament Buildings,
Wellington.
19 December, 2004
Dear Phil Goff,
We recently wrote to you about the desperate situation that has developed in the Puncak Jaya region in West Papua. At least 5,000 people are being held in this remote, cold and forested region, surrounded by military. The people are too afraid to return to their villages out of fear of being shot as suspected members of the OPM (Free West Papua movement).
The latest reports from Church sources say that at least 23 people, mostly children, have starved to death and that the people lack water, food and adequate clothing and shelter to protect them from the cold conditions.
On December 16, 2004 500 Papuans protested outside parliament in Jayapura, the provincial capital, yesterday demanding that President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono stop
the military operation in Puncak Jaya, and allow humanitarian agencies to assist the starving villagers. . It is very likely that Mr Yudhoyono’s planned Christmas visit to West Papua will be marked by further tension and protest.
Instead of moves to resolve the situation or allow aid into the region, the military dispatched an additional 900 troops to the region. about one week ago.
We urge that New Zealand make an immediate offer of aid to help these desperate people and call on President Yudhoyono to ensure that this and other international aid can reach the starving people.
Yours sincerely,
Maire Leadbeater
(for the Indonesia Human Rights Committee)

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