2 Sep 2009

Call to push Indonesia to let ICRC reopen in West Papua

1:28 pm on 2 September 2009

The Indonesia Human Rights Committee has written to New Zealand's Foreign Minister Murray McCully urging him to ask the Indonesian Government to allow the International Committee of the Red Cross to reopen its office in Papua.

The Red Cross was forced to shut its office and leave Papua earlier this year after its staff members visited prisoners in jail.

The Committee's spokesperson Maire Leadbeater says she's deeply concerned the Indonesian authorities now say the Red Cross has no mandate to re-open a branch office in the province.

Ms Leadbeater says in recent months there has been an alarming escalation in human rights violation in Papua, including killings and displacement of communities.

The Committee is also urging Mr McCully to prevail on the Indonesian government to ensure medical treatment is given to one of Papua's most high-profile political prisoners, Filep Karma, who was jailed for 15 years in 2004 for his involvement in a flag-raising event.

She says there are reports Mr Karma has been very ill but medical treatment to him has been delayed.