3 Aug 2017

NZ govt rejects West Papua human rights petition

2:45 pm on 3 August 2017
Maire Leadbeater presents her petition asking urging the government to address the ongoing human rights situation in West Papua.

Maire Leadbeater presents her petition asking urging the government to address the ongoing human rights situation in West Papua. Photo: RNZ / Daniela Maoate - Cox

A parliamentary committee in New Zealand has turned down a call to push for a UN special rapporteur on freedom of expression to visit West Papua.

A human rights petition, organised by West Papua Action Auckland and supported by other human rights groups and Catholic and Anglican church leaders, had sought for New Zealand to condemn the arrest and intimidation of peaceful protestors.

A spokesperson for the petitioners Maire Leadbetter said the Foreign Affairs Committee had instead opted for what she calls a 'business as usual approach that will mean little more than occasional inoffensive chats with Indonesian authorities and comments during the UN Universal Periodic Review process'.

Ms Leadbetter said she was pleased the committee doesn't deny human rights breaches in West Papua, but she was appalled Foreign Affairs officials told the committee that there was doubt about whether torture occurs in West Papua.

She said this flies in the face of extensive documentation from numerous human rights, church and academic reports all of which describes the use of torture in West Papua as endemic.

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