14 Jan 2009

Australia/Indonesia Defence pact to add pressure on West Papuans, says Coalition

8:24 pm on 14 January 2009

The West Papua National Coalition for Liberation says a new defence pact signed between Indonesia and Australia's defence forces will add to the growing pressure from security forces on West Papuan pro-independence movements.

This week the Australian Defence Force chief co-signed a statement with his Indonesian counterpart, agreeing to build a more secure and peaceful region and claiming a "clear direction" for future cooperation.

The statement outlined Australia's support for Indonesia in areas of counter-terrorism, maritime security and intelligence as well as humanitarian assistance.

The coalition's Secretary General vice chairman, Dr John Otto Ondawame, says the pact can be seen as Australia's endorsement of the already strict control of the region by Indonesia's military.

"Giving more power to the Indonesian military to control over the territory (Papua). The consequences will be that our situation will be under pressure because they blame the resistance movement as a terrorist organisation and they will increase their operations in these areas."

Dr John Ondawame