1 Feb 2011

PNG Prime Minister told security operation at Indonesia border inflicting harm

8:19 pm on 1 February 2011

The governor of Papua New Guinea's capital, Port Moresby, has called on the government to end an operation arresting people who're suspected of illegally crossing the border from Indonesia.

Operation Sunset Merona has been underway for two weeks with more than 100 people arrested and detained.

Powes Parkop, a long time human rights activist who was a spokesperson for the Melanesian Solidarity network before entering parliament, says it's inflicted more harm than good and should be stopped.

The National newspaper reports that he's written to the prime minister, Sir Michael Somare, saying he's been told that the Papuans have been harassed, intimidated and assaulted by soldiers and police.

He says the detainees, who include women and children, have had their homes and food gardens destroyed.

Mr Parkop says the operation is clearly targetting West Papuans and he says the PNG government is being used by Indonesia to target them.