29 Nov 2011

Australian NGOs say Canberra must speak up about Papua violence

5:45 am on 29 November 2011

Australian non government groups are calling on Canberra to condemn the growing use of force by police and soldiers against civilians in Indonesia's Papua region.

There are unconfirmed reports of 50 deaths in the past five months with at least 3 when police broke up a regional congress in October.

A strike at the huge Freeport mine has also sparked violence, while the region is preparing to mark, on the 1st of December, the 50th anniversary of a declaration of independence before Indonesia took control.

The Human Rights Law Centre's Tom Clarke, says Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd must speak up for the rights of all persons to freedom of expression, association and assembly.

"That would be a very simple and concrete thing that he could do. I notice that just a couple of weeks ago Hilary Clinton directly raised concerns with Indonesia about the violence and abuse of human rights in West Papua, so I think Kevin Rudd should really follow Hilary Clinton's lead and bring up this topic with his counterparts."

The Australian Human Rights Law Centre's Tom Clarke.