6 Sep 2007

Australian politicians urged to stand up for Papua

1:46 pm on 6 September 2007

A prominent Australian businessman says Australia must stand up to the Indonesian military over its activities in Papua.

Ian Melrose of the Optical Superstore says successive governments in Australia have all ignored reports of human rights abuses and mass murders in the Indonesian province.

He is paying for television commercials highlighting this point running ahead of the Australian elections due later this year.

Mr Melrose, who says previous campaigns he has run raising concerns over Canberra's mistreatment of East Timor were successful, wants the Australian government to push for human rights monitoring in Papua.

"The Indonesian military are committing atrocities in West Papua and all that would be required is for international media to have access to West Papua and to film some of the things that are going on and have gone on, and bring that to the world, and all of a sudden the Indonesian military would stop doing what it is doing because the publicity would be such that the rest of the world would not tolerate what the Indonesian military is up to."

The Liberal Government had not comment on the call while Labor says it wants access for foreign journalists.