17 Dec 2004

Papuans object to Indonesian presidential visit

2:07 pm on 17 December 2004

Human rights activists in the Indonesian province of Papua say they'll try to stop any presidential visit timed to coincide with Christmas.

Churches, student organisations and human rights groups say the people will stop Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono from making any visit to the largely Christian province next week.

The organisations say Indonesia has been pouring in hundreds of troops to carry out a military operation against alleged separatist rebels in the Highlands region.

Reports from church sources say more than 6,000 people have fled their homes in the area owing to unrest.

In other developments, the rights groups say a 45-year-old man remains on hunger strike in prison.

Philip Karma was detained as authorities arrested nineteen others when they broke up a separatist demonstration in Jayapura on the first of December.