The Jakarta Post
Amnesty International Australia and Indonesian human rights lawyer Veronica Koman have urged the Australian government to bring up the human rights situation in Papua and West Papua during President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s ongoing visit to Canberra.
Veronica highlighted the plight of 56 indigenous Papuans and Jakarta-based activist Surya Anta, who are currently facing trial for treason following widespread protests in favor of Papuan self-determination between August and September last year.
“These people were arrested when expressing their opinion during mass protests against racism and for an independence referendum in August and September 2019 and during a commemoration of West Papua’s national day on Dec. 1, 2019,” Veronica said in a statement on Sunday. “We demand their immediate and unconditional release.”
She also mentioned the ongoing military operation against armed rebels in Nduga regency, which has displaced thousands of people in the region.
According to Amnesty International Indonesia executive director Usman Hamid, 263 displaced Nduga residents had died from hunger and illnesses as of the end of last month.
“We are also concerned about the increased troop deployments and activities in Intan Jaya regency since December last year,” Veronica said. “Indonesia must end these operations and immediately withdraw troops from Nduga and Intan Jaya regencies, so the indigenous West Papuans can return to their homes and be free from living in constant fear.”
Jokowi arrived in Canberra on Saturday and is set to address the Australian Parliament on Monday.
Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi said the President would discuss the planned capital relocation, the newly ratified Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA) and future Indonesia-Australia cooperation. (kmt)