13 Jul 2007

NZ prime minister urged to raise abuses in Indonesia's Papua province

5:10 pm on 13 July 2007

The New Zealand-based Indonesia Human Rights Committee has called on the prime minister, Helen Clark, to raise human rights abuses in Papua when she meets the Indonesian President.

Miss Clark is due to meet President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono next week.

The Committee says Papuans have been denied their right to self-determination and those who dare talk about independence or raise the West Papua flag risk jail or worse.

It says Miss Clark should appeal for an end to the closure of Papua and for the free access to the territory of human rights organisations and the international media.

Last week, a report by the group Human Rights Watch said the security forces in Papua enjoy near total impunity for all their actions which has led to underreporting of crimes and to an ongoing climate of fear, tension and simmering anger.