28 Jan 2014

EU committee asked to press Jakarta over Papua

10:25 am on 28 January 2014

A European Union committee has been asked to press the Indonesian government for greater media freedom and an open dialogue with Papua.

West Papuan campaigners gave testimony at the Human Rights subcommittee in Brussels last Friday into the situation in the region.

Norman Voss from Human Rights and Peace for Papua told the committee there is an underlying current of fear in West Papua, perpetuated by the ongoing military presence.

Mr Voss says before any real change can happen, Indonesia must follow through on promises to hold open discussion with Papua.

"We call on the EU to support president Yudhoyono's pledges to hold a dialogue with Papua. Churches and other peace activists have been calling for years for a peaceful dialogue under neutral mediation between hard-liners on both sides. Jakarta shows reluctance while violations continue and conflict tensions are escalating."

Norman Voss also told the hearing there is a high level of social disparity and Indonesia is exploiting Papua's natural resources.