The messaging around John Key’s trip to Indonesia has not inspired confidence around the dirty little secret of West Papuan human rights and self-determination.
One positive though has been the ability to raise some awareness around the human rights abuses that are currently occurring in West Papua.
I hope that the Prime Minister will be braver in advancing human rights concerns than his officials at MFAT, who in their briefing to journalists last week indicated little support for raising the human rights abuses issue in any meaningful way.
We need the leaders in the region to talk with Indonesia about the list of abuses from torture of political prisoners and the lack of international media access in West Papua.
We need the leaders to speak up for the “Jayapura 5” who were given 3 years jail for heading a peaceful Congress that discussed issues of self-determination.
A vague mention of human rights being a good thing is not a strong message that Indonesia will respect or respond to in a positive way.
In a country where you can get a jail term of 15 years for raising a flag there is little chance of a fair hearing so we need to speak up.
We applaud those working within Indonesia to advance democracy and human rights since the massacres in East Timor and the struggles in Aceh.
To assist those within Indonesia it is vital our leaders keep raising human rights abuses.
We need to keep advancing human rights issues with Indonesia if we are to have a peaceful and stable Aotearoa/New Zealand and region.
West Papua must be on the agenda this week or we fail our neighbours and we betray our own freedom of speech.