26 Jun 2006

Australia and Indonesia meet to resolve differences over Papua

7:31 am on 26 June 2006

Australia's Prime Minister John Howard and Indonesia's President Yudhoyono meet today in an attempt to resolve diplomatic tensions between the two countries over the province of Papua.

The dispute was sparked by Australia's granting asylum in March to 42 asylum seekers from Papua, who arrived in January claiming political persecution.

The Indonesian government is now seeking a formal declaration that Australia respects the territorial integrity of Indonesia and does not support calls for Papuan independence.

But Amnesty International says it is concerned that in the context of the current diplomatic dispute, both governments appear to have lost sight of the fact that a long history of human rights violations, and impunity for human rights violators, continues to remain at the heart of the issue.

Indonesian officials have declared that any human rights violations which have taken place in Papua are the actions of rogue elements in the security forces.