4 Apr 2005

Church leader in Indonesian province urges Canberra not to turn blind eye to human rights

12:16 pm on 4 April 2005

A church leader in the Indonesian province of Papua has urged the Australian government not to turn a blind eye to human rights abuses in his homeland as it contemplates a new security pact with Indonesia.

The call comes from West Papua Baptist Church President, Reverend Sofyan Yoman, and has been made as the Indonesian President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, is due to arrive in Canberra for his first visit to Australia.

The Rev Yoman is quoted by the news agency the Australian Associated Press criticising a ground-breaking security treaty Australia is preparing to sign with Indonesia.

It is expected Australia will formally recognise Indonesia's territorial integrity and oppose any independence movements as part of the treaty.

The church leader said the Australian government should be prioritising "human integrity" over territorial integrity.

Rev Yoman said international donors to Indonesia such as Australia should pressure Jakarta to open a dialogue with the independence movement, the OPM.