Green Party says NZ should be facilitating peace talks in Papua
The New Zealand Green Party say the country should be facilitating peace talks in Papua rather than police advisors.
The New Zealand Green Party says New Zealand should be facilitating peace talks in Indonesia's Papua region rather than sending police advisors.
The New Zealand foreign minister, Murray McCully, announced last week that New Zealand would resume a community policing programme in eastern Indonesia, including Papua and West Papua.
It would involve New Zealand police providing training, mentoring and encouraging community engagement.
There was a pilot project in the region in 2009/10 but Green MP, Catherine Delahunty, says that that aid did not change the reality in the region where police violence directed at the indigenous population remains commonplace.
CATHERINE DELAHUNTY: Talking to West Papuans, this is not what they want from New Zealand. What they want New Zealand to do is to be a leader for peace and help broker a peace dialogue between West Papuan leadership and the Indonesian government. The idea of sending more police over there to do what we'd done before with no evidence that changed anything, to me it's a waste of money. It's also a real concern because it's a smoke screen for what's really going on, which is that there's a culture of violence in the police force in West Papua and a number of people have been shot, harassed, killed and had their human rights basically abused since New Zealand has been doing community policing. So the Green Party would like to see what evidence is there that these programmes of sending over a couple of officers and a few trainers to a situation where the population is basically under siege from the police and the military is doing anything except whitewashing an untenable political situation for the citizens of West Papua.
DON WISEMAN: I imagine the minister would claim that something like this is the beginning of this process of improving the quality of the policing.
CH: Well, the minister has claimed that, and since the programme that finished in 2010 allegedly improved things, but from what I've seen the detail of those programmes there appeared to be no proper monitoring and no actual evidence that anything had improved. And you only have to look at the statistics of the killings, the state-sanctioned killings, and the way in which citizens in West Papua have no right to protest and the fact that there has been up till now no access to independent media to verify what's going on. So this is a very unhealthy situation, and rather than sending police over to make it look better, we should actually be calling on the Indonesian government to engage in a proper dialogue.
DW: Would you like New Zealand to be providing aid of any sort to Papua?
CH: At this point in time the most useful thing we can do is to provide political leadership for peace. So aid in a situation where the political situation is very, very contaminated, so it's difficult to provide aid that won't be used as a justification for the continuation of the human rights abuses and the blocks to self-determination. I know that there are some good NGOs who are trying to projects on the ground - we wouldn't block those. But we think that the government's role in this situation is to be calling for and offering to broker or mediate a genuine solution to the situation in West Papua in terms of dialogue and peace between those citizens and their leadership group and the Indonesian government. Sending some community policemen over, no matter how well-intentioned they are, is not going to work, because so many West Papuan citizens have witnessed police violence and killings of family members by the police force and they have seen the state refuse to act to deal with those issues. So we really don't think that New Zealand is playing the rightful role of creating a better situation. Not at all.
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