20 Aug 2002

Britain called on to persuade Jakarta to end Papua crackdown

6:07 pm on 20 August 2002

Tapol, the Indonesian Human Rights Campaign has today called on the British Government to take immediate action to prevent rising tension in Papua province from descending into conflict.

Last month police launched an operation, Operasi Adil Matoa, to pursue separatists, but human rights groups, such as Elsham, fear it is also directed at them and legitimate political organisations.

Elsham also fears the police crack down will destroy its efforts to establish a "Zone of Peace" in the province.

Tapol says the most immediate danger is a threat by police to use force against rebel OPM leaders in West Biak who have so far failed to respond to summonses issued three weeks ago.

The police say the OPM leaders have until this week to respond.

Tapol has asked the British Government, along with its EU partners, to urge Jakarta to drop Operasi Adil Matoa, and to help with the establishment of the Zone of Peace.

It also asks that they encourage Jakarta to enter into dialogue with the province's pro independence groups.