20 Apr 2006

Uniting Church says it doesn't support Papuan independence

4:06 pm on 20 April 2006

Australia's Uniting Church says it doesn't support independence for Papuans.

The Church has been accused by Indonesia's recalled ambassador to Australia, Hamazah Thayeb, of supporting the Papuan independence movement and the asylum seekers who made it to Australia earlier this year.

Speaking to the Indonesian parliament's foreign affairs committee, the ambassador said Australian politicians and church groups, especially the Uniting Church, were supporting independence.

However, a spokesman for the Uniting Church says it does not wish to be involved in the issue of Papuan independence.

He says the Church provides services to Papuans involved in and around their church, but does not make any political representations.

The spokesman says the Church values its relationship with the Indonesian authorities and doesn't want to jeopardise it by entering a slanging match with Jakarta over the comments.