8 Jul 2016

Indonesia given deadline to end Papua violations

10:29 am on 8 July 2016

Indonesia has been given a 2017 deadline to address press freedom violations in its Papua province.

Tabloid Jubi office, Waena, Papua province.

Tabloid Jubi office, Waena, Papua province. Photo: RNZI / Koroi Hawkins

The call from the chair of the regional media watchdog Pacific Freedom Forum came as Indonesia was earmarked to host the International Press Freedom Day event in May next year.

Speaking from Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea Titi Gabi said Jakarta must end abuses against local media in Papua and West Papua and ensure open access for foreign media to the restive Melanesian provinces.

In May and June this year Indonesian security forces arrested more than 2,500 protesters there after they called for an independence referendum and an international investigation into numerous human rights abuses.

West Papuan demonstrators tightly monitored by Indonesian police.

West Papuan demonstrators tightly monitored by Indonesian police. Photo: Whens Tebay

Titi Gabi said Indonesia needed to rein in security forces persecuting citizens exercising their rights to freedom of expression before it can play host to the rest of the world on Press Freedom Day next year.

The PFF chair also added her organisation's support for a growing demand for global intervention in Papua and West Papua, as declared in recent statements from the United Nations, the Melanesian Spearhead Group, the European Union, TAPOL and ICP, the International Coalition for Papua.

In 2015 two New Zealand media organisations, including RNZ International, were given access to Papua.

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