John Key in Indonesia – What about West Papua?

West Papuans arrested and tortured by Indonesian police and military

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.


5 thoughts on “John Key in Indonesia – What about West Papua?

  1. I am a New Zealander who grew up in West Papua. I have seen and heard about so many horrific things that have happened there (torture is only a fraction of it) and yet the world is deaf to the plight of the Papuans. I hope that one day their voices will be heard.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1 (+6)

  2. I think there was a consensus at the time of East Timor’s independence that Indonesia be reassured that this would not lead to any break up of the country.

    However that would obviously require some autonomy on Aceh and West Papua – this has been somewhat successful in Aceh but tentative moves in West Papua have now come to nothing.

    Possibly the observation that failure to effect a more successful autonomy in West Papua could lead to placing the area into decolonisation status is now required.

    The problem with raising human rights issues with “trading partners” is the China precedent. Everyone trades with them and human rights are now barely mentioned – because things have improved and are improving (just like glaciers have receded and are still receding).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 (+1)

  3. Not that I supported Quaddafi either, But hypocrisy much!

    “This Dictator of an oil rich country.

    Overthrew a democratically elected Government.
    Murdered between 700 thousand and a million of his own citizens to get into power.
    Brutally squashed two independence movements. Now engaged in squashing a third.
    Keeps about 2/3 of his country in poverty……………..””.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 (+3)

  4. However that would obviously require some autonomy on Aceh and West Papua – this has been somewhat successful in Aceh but tentative moves in West Papua have now come to nothing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

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