AWPA calls on PNG government not to return any West Papuans to Ind. authorities
AWPA has written to the PNG Prime Minister asking that the West Papuan people who have been apprehended during Operation
Sunset Merona along the PNG/West Papuan border not be handed over to the Indonesian authorities. Joe Collins said we are
urging the PNG Government not to return any West Papuans back to the Indonesian authorities where their lives would be
at risk .
AWPA letter to PNG PM
Rt Hon. Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare
28 January 2011
Dear Prime Minister,
On behalf of the Australia West Papua Association (Sydney), I am writing to you concerning the West Papuan people who
have been apprehended during Operation Sunset Merona along the PNG/West Papuan border.
I would first like to thank the PNG people and the present and past PNG Governments for their support in allowing West
Papuans fleeing persecution and fearful for their lives to reside in PNG.
I am sure you are aware of the ongoing human rights abuses in West Papua and of the recent shocking video footage of
West Papuans being tortured by Indonesian soldiers . The video showed Indonesian soldiers torturing two Papuans. The
soldiers in the video threaten the two men with sharp weapons and press a burning bamboo stick against one of the men’s
genitals. The witnessing of the torture of the men prompted a wave of international criticism with human rights
organisations around the world condemning the actions of the Indonesian military. The soldiers were put on trial not for
torture but for disobeying orders and only received a few months for such outrageous acts. This was not an isolated
incident and one can understand that fear West Papuans have of the Indonesian security forces.
For this reason we are concerned by a media report in which the Acting Deputy Police Commissioner of PNG said that "
anyone found not be a citizen of PNG will be considered an OPM activist ". We are also concerned that the authorities
have charged nine men for setting up training camps. We urge you not to return these men back to West Papua where their
lives could be at risk from the Indonesian military. We understand that the reason for the operation was a concern for
security along the border. However, we would like to bring to your attention to cables released by WikiLeaks in relation
to West Papuan human rights and also to the PNG border.
-the cables revealed
that US diplomats blame the government in Jakarta for unrest in West Papua due to neglect, corruption and human rights
-that Indonesian military commanders have been accused of illegal logging operations and drug smuggling from West Papua
into Papua New Guinea.
AWPA again thanks the People and Government of PNG for its humanitarian support for the West Papua people and urge your
government not to return any West Papuans back to the Indonesian authorities where their lives would be at risk .