20 Aug 2007

Indonesian link of Papuan separatism to terrorism seen as new hard line

3:19 pm on 20 August 2007

An Australian academic says the annual address by the Indonesian president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, which linked Papuan separatists to terrorism, is an attempt to deflect the international community from intervening in the province.

Professor Peter King of Sydney University says Mr Yudhoyono's statement on Papua in parliament was a hard line stance that went further than any made previously.

The president had said there would be no place for anyone pushing separatism while at the same time, he had stated that Indonesia was serious about stamping out terrorism and praised the security forces for preventing it.

Professor King says there's been disappointment expressed at the president's position.

"What the president has done is to stamp the so-called separatists, many of whom are simply talking about human rights as terrorists so he's really giving full backing to his own army and his own commanders, even the notorious ones. So, there's a lot of disappointment about him taking this hard line."

Professor Peter King.

Both the army and the police have been linked to acts of suppression, torture and murder of those calling for the right to self determination in Papua.