10 Aug 2009

Australian Labor Party calls for action on Papua from Canberra

7:57 pm on 10 August 2009

The Australian Labor Party's National Conference has adopted a motion recognising that West Papuans in Indonesia are experiencing serious human rights abuses.

The Conference has urged Australia's Government to raise concerns about the human rights situation in Papua region and Papuan Special Autonomy with the Indonesian Government.

The Party says Canberra should seek assurances that any aid or training provided to Indonesia's Military under the Lombok Treaty Agreement between the two countries, will not be directed against West Papuans.

The convener of Sydney University's West Papua Project, Jim Elmslie, says through the Treaty, Australia is assisting the military in its repression of West Papuans.

"There's a fairly wide range of information available that indicates that there's widespread human rights abuses and that the military occupation is deepening and extending so I am concerned that the Lombok Treaty draws Australia into what is a human rights mess."

Meanwhile, Papuan groups have expressed disappointment that the Pacific Islands Forum leaders summit in Cairns last week failed to officially discuss West Papua.