12 Jan 2009

Rudd urged to speak to Indonesia over Papuan jailings

11:39 am on 12 January 2009

The Australia West Papua Association is calling on Australia's prime minister to initiate dialogue with his Indonesian counterpart after eleven West Papuans were jailed for subversion.

The eleven were detained in March 2008 on political charges of subversion and have now been given prison sentences of either three or three and a half years.

A spokesperson for the Associatio, Richard Rumbiak, says this is a clear case of state sanctioned political persecution against human rights defenders.

He says Indonesia claims to respect and protect human rights but he says this is clearly not true.

Mr Rumbiak says Australia is an important advocate for the protection of human rights in the region, but Indonesia exists in a blind spot.