10 Dec 2003

Papuans plan to acknowledge Human Rights Day with protest in Jayapura

11:23 am on 10 December 2003

A demonstration is planned in the capital of Indonesia's Papua province today to celebrate International Human Rights Day.

The vice director of the human rights group, Elsham, Aloy Renaurin, says that up to six hundred people are expected to demonstrate in front of the parliament building in Jayapura.

Mr Renuarin says Papua's human rights situation is looking worse than ever with the appointment of Timbul Silaen as the new police chief and a request from former East Timor militia leader Eurico Guteres to set up a militia group.

Both Silaen and Guteres have been accused of severe human rights abuses in East Timor in 1999 and been indicted by the UN's East Timor's Serious Crimes Unit.

Meanwhile, the vice chairman of the Presidium Council, Herman Awon, says the arrival of Guteres is a clear sign that the government is trying to create trouble amongst the Papuans and break their unity.

Mr Awon says that he expects Guteres to work closely with the local military and police to instill a climate of fear and confusion.

Meanwhile, the New Zealand-based Indonesia Human Rights Committee says the New Zealand government should lead the call for an international tribunal to try alleged war criminals from East Timor.

The Committee's Maire Leadbetter says as Silaen and Guterres have been indicted by the UN's East Timor Serious Crimes Unit, New Zealand should insist that such people face an international tribunal.

"Because otherwise, if that doesn't happen, what we are going to see some sort of recidivous crime. The very people responsible for murder and mayhem in East Timor going on to perpetrate the same sorts of things in Papua and Aceh."