18 Mar 2008

NZ asked to suspend military ties with Indonesia amid Papua abuse

2:35 pm on 18 March 2008

The New Zealand-based Indonesia Human Rights Committee says it continues to be deeply concerned about the human rights situation in West Papua.

It has written to the New Zealand foreign minister, Winston Peters, asking the government to suspend all defence training ties with Indonesia.

The letter says New Zealand's defence ties serve to give legitimacy to a military force which is manifestly responsible for deepening repression and ongoing violence in West Papua.

Instead, it says, New Zealand should support the call of US Congressional leaders, Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin and Donald Payne for internationally mediated dialogue to help resolve the ongoing crisis in West Papua before there is further bloodshed.

There have been reports of arrests in recent days over the raising of the banned Morning Star flag.