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Australian government must show leadership on West Papua: Greens

Media Release
Richard Di Natale 1 Dec 2011

Greens spokesperson for West Papua, Senator Richard Di Natale, has called on the Australian government to show leadership on the issue of West Papua by calling for restraint from the Indonesian military and police today.

“Today is a very important day for the West Papuan people. It marks the 50th anniversary of the first raising of the Morning Star flag and is celebrated as an unofficial day of Papuan independence,” said Senator Di Natale.

“The Papuans will celebrate with gatherings and protests as is their legal right, but recent history would indicate that this day may end in bloodshed and arrests.

“I call on the Australian Foreign Minister to contact his Indonesian counterpart and make it very clear that the world is watching.

“The Australian government should suspend training of the Indonesian military, pending a thorough investigation into the lives lost at the 3rd West Papuan Congress in October, and should insist that Indonesia allow foreign journalists access into the province.

“Australia must take a strong stance against the abuse of human rights in our region. All people are entitled to freedom of expression and association without fear of being shot or imprisoned.

“President Obama said in his recent visit, as ‘two great democracies we speak up for these freedoms when they are threatened’.

“Now is the time for Australia to speak up.”

Media contact: Andrew Blyberg 0457 901 600

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