13 Aug 2009

Papuan activist wants to lobby Wellington over ongoing abuse by Indonesian military

5:32 pm on 13 August 2009

A West Papuan human rights activist is in New Zealand this week to lobby support for international dialogue on issues surrounding Indonesia's Papua region.

Australia-based Paula Makabori, who is a member of the Institute for Papuan Advocacy and Human Rights, says Australia and New Zealand could play a vital role in addressing the deteriorating situation in her homeland.

While Jakarta granted Papua special autonomy provisions in 2001, implementation has been poor and most West Papuans reportedly continue to live in a climate of fear and poverty.

Ms Makabori says Australia and New Zealand cannot remain silent on ongoing human rights abuses at the hands of the Indonesian military and the recent upsurge of violence in Papua.

"For us West Papuans, we are not Asians, we are Melanesians, we are Pacific Islanders. And West Papua is not the Middle East, it's just there at the backyard of Australia and New Zealand and we would like to see that these two big brothers can pull Indonesia and convince them to come to the peace dialogue table."

Paula Makabori