NZ foreign minister pushed to raise abuses with Indonesia
The Indonesian foreign minister has met her NZ counterpart as MPs raised human rights concerns.
New Zealand's Foreign Minister Murray McCully has been criticised for not raising concerns over human rights abuses with his visiting Indonesian counterpart.
Retno Marsudi has been in New Zealand holding talks with Mr McCully who was pressed by other New Zealand MPs to raise concerns over abuses in the Indonesian provinces of Papua and West Papua.
In December, Indonesian security forces opened fire on a peaceful demonstration, killing five school students in uniform.
Alex Perrottet reports.
Retno Marsudi's New Zealand visit followed a Pacific tour of Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Fiji. The Minister's visit to these Melanesian countries comes as the Melanesian Spearhead group considers a membership bid by West Papuans, the indigenous people of Indonesia's troubled eastern region. The Greens MP, Catherine Delahunty has raised in Parliament the matter of human rights abuses in Papua and says Murray McCully must communicate those concerns. She says it's hypocritical for the Government to have the 'guts' to address abuses in Iraq while ignoring closer neighbours.
CATHERINE DELAHUNTY: This is a quiet war against the people of West Papua. It's very disappointing to have on the one hand the government saying we must participate in a war to protect human rights and yet the war in our region, the attack on West Papuan people, they are really not doing anything about it.
Catherine Delahunty says it's disappointing there was no reaction to the slaughter of school children wearing uniforms in Papua in December. Her concern comes at a time when PNG's government has spoken out about the need for action to stop the abuses in its neighbouring territory. During Ms Marsudi's PNG leg, the PNG Prime Minister Peter O'Neill urged the Indonesian government to support the West Papuan application to join the Melanesian Spearhead Group. Maire Leadbeater, from West Papua Action Auckland, says Mr O'Neill has raised documented violations, and Mr McCully should do the same.
MAIRE LEADBETTER: Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister Peter O'Neill didn't say anything about necessarily wanting a change of sovereignty or anything but he's talking about a voice at the table, I think, of the Melanesian Spearhead Group. And why should that not be granted, because it's very clear that that's what the united leadership of West Papuan leaders want.
PNG's Foreign Minister, Rimbink Pato, has confirmed that PNG respects Indonesia's sovereignty, but says there are proper channels to raise concerns, if and when abuses occur. But he confirmed he still hasn't raised the December shooting with his Indonesian counterpart.
RIMBINK PATO: Human rights is clearly a concern to all of us but as to the specifics, it's a matter that we have to deal with case by case. During the meeting I had that was not one of the specific matters that was not one of the matters that was raised on our part, and neither was it raised on the part of the Indonesians, because I did not receive a brief in relation to it.
Mr McCully could not respond to requests for comment, but Catherine Delahunty says the Government is facing increasing pressure to take a stronger regional stand.
CATHERINE DELAHUNTY: The West Papuans are very clear that they are relying on countries like New Zealand as regional neighbours to stand up and say very clearly to INdonesia, you need a peace negotiation with West Papuan leadership, you need to stop allowing the military their abusive control and you need to be prepared to discuss not only human rights but self-determination.
Rimbink Pato says his office will make enquiries and look into the shooting of the school children.
To embed this content on your own webpage, cut and paste the following: