10 Aug 2007

Sydney conference on Indonesia's Papua told the military the main impediment to development

2:35 pm on 10 August 2007

A Sydney conference on Indonesia's Papua has heard concern over the role of the Indonesian military in the region.

A number of Papuan leaders, human rights activists and academics have been attending this week's conference at Sydney University.

The chairman of the Papuan People's Assembly, Agus Alue Alua, told the conference that five years of special autonomy status has done nothing to lift social conditions for most Papuans.

He also said the main problem in Papua is the poor implementation of special autonomy.

The Indonesia Human Rights Committee's Maire Leadbetter says a recurring theme among the speakers is that the other main obstacle to development and basic human rights in Papua continues to be the military.

"Each one of these academics stressed the point again, absolutely unequivocally no change in the Indonesian military that in fact it's a reversal if anything, things have gone back to that dual control and presence of the Indoesian military at every level of society."