1 Sep 2005

UN must send peacekeepers to Indonesian province of Papua, says European MP

6:59 pm on 1 September 2005

A member of the European Parliament is calling on the United Nations to send peacekeepers to the Indonesian province of Papua.

Green MEP Caroline Lucas says she's heard of whole villages being burnt to the ground, about occupants being shot and tortured by the Indonesian government.

Dr Lucas says there are reports of completely unprovoked military attacks on civilians.

She says the world must step in as the current situation isn't sustainable or just.

"Well I've added my voice to an increasing number of voices who are calling for UN peacekeepers to be sent there, that involves other members of the national parliament in the UK, it involves some religious leaders and others as well, and we're forming a coalition really to try to put as much pressure on possible, to get a withdrawal from the Indonesian army in favour of independent blue berets."

Dr Lucas says the UN should oversee a referendum on independence in the province, and she'll be using every avenue she can in the European Parliament to persuade them to do this.

She says Papua's current problems stem from that agreement which she says was misguided.

worried that US commercial interests in Papua will outweigh the human rights concerns