1 Aug 2007

Call on New Zealand to speak out against intimidation of Papuans

2:00 pm on 1 August 2007

The Indonesian Human Rights Committee is calling on New Zealand's prime minister, Helen Clark, to take action on the serious intimidation and violence directed at Church leaders in the Indonesian province of Papua.

Reverend Socratez Sofyan Yoman was threatened with a gun by a police officer over the weekend after a church service at the Baptist Church in Jayapura.

Two days later police conducted a violent raid on the Kingmi Church Synod offices and attacked the staff - three of whom had to be hospitalised because of their wounds.

The offices were ransacked and equipment and windows were smashed.

The New Zealand-based Committee's Maire Leadbeater says New Zealand must now speak out or it will be perceived as acquiescent in police violence and grave abuses of the civil and human rights of Church members and leaders.

Rev Sofyan Yoman is the President of the Communion of Baptist Churches and a critic of the actions of the security services and the policies of the Indonesian Government in West Papua.