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HUMAN RIGHTS FOR THE WEST PAPUANS

March 29, 2012

Subject:* HUMAN RIGHTS FOR THE WEST PAPUANS

Senator Bob Carr*
Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade*
Parliament House*
CANBERRA *
ACT 2600*

Dear Senator Carr

Congratulations on recently becoming a senator and for being appointed as Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade.*
I am an Australian citizen who believes that international human rights and the rule of law are essential for human beings to coexist peacefully.

It therefore concerns me and many of my friends that the Australian Federal Government currently provides military hardware to and has military cooperation with the Indonesian military (TNI).

The TNI occupied West Papua in 1962 and for the 50 years since that time, the people have been subjected to extreme brutality and other violations against their human rights and continue to do so.

The peoples of East Timor, Acheh and those in some parts of Indonesia have also suffered a similar fate at the hands of the TNI.

It shames me that the organisation perpetrating these crimes is being assisted by the Australian government.

Some of the crimes the TNI have committed in the Asian and Pacific regions are:

* massacres and extrajudicial executions
* torture
– late last year TNI personnel eviscerated a West Papuan civilian and taunted him while he was dying
* mass rapes
* heavy reprisals against those who protest for freedom
– eg West Papuans who raise their Morning Star flag have been shot of given long terms of imprisonment up to 15 years

The main reason for the TNI presence is that the US interfered in the decolonisation process in West Papua. The Dutch government of the day rightfully recognised that the people of West Papua are Melanesians and should be able to establish themselves as a free nation independent of Indonesia.

Former US president, John Kennedy intervened in this process and demanded that West Papua become part of the Republic of Indonesia against the wishes of the vast majority of West Papuans. Many observers believe the reason was that US geologists had reported finding huge deposits of oil and mineral ores (mostly copper and gold).

The fact is that the US mining giant, Freeport, operates the world’s largest copper mine and the world’s third largest gold mine in West Papua. The profits from this mining activity go to the US and Indonesia. It is reputed that Indonesia’s share is the largest contribution to the Indonesian economy. Freeport allows the TNI to manage security at the mine. West Papuans receive little or nothing from their own resources and are constantly terrorised by the TNI.

In addition, TNI generals have a number of companies (mostly timber and other natural resources) that are causing deforestation and great environmental damage. This will not change while the world stands by and allows the TNI to have "open slather" in West Papua.

Since the fall of Suharto, Indonesia claims to be a democracy, yet the victims of the crimes committed by the TNI have never received justice or compensation. Nor have the perpetrators ever faced justice.

*I therefore call on you to ensure that the Australian Government works towards the following goals: *
** the withdrawal of all Indonesian forces from West Papua*

**the holding of properly conducted UN plebiscite of the West Papuan people so that they can determine their own political future free from coercion and intimidation*

*(This exercise must be completely different to the so-called Act of Free Choice that occurred in 1969 sham which was coercive and during which many West Papuans were disappeared by the TNI because of their public opposition to integration with Indonesia)*

** the payment of compensation by the Indonesian government to all the victims of the brutal and corrupt practices of the TNI*
** **the UN to initiate a ban on all military hardware and cooperation with the TNI until it withdraws from West Papua and **the Indonesian government opens up West Papua to allow the Red Cross, other humanitarian relief organisations and foreign journalists to enter the country.*

***It is absolutely necessary that action be taken to help the Melanesian people of West Papua because to continue to support the TNI while it carries out its deadly actions in, what can only be described as a fascist and ruthless manner, more people are going to die and they will do so in large numbers.*

*The argument used by former foreign minister Gareth Evans and those since that Australia has been training TNI personnel in the importance of showing respect for human rights has been totally useless. The human rights abuses continue unabated.*

*Another argument that is equally implausible is that the current Indonesian Gocernment is a democratic one. While it is acknowledged that there have been improvement since the the mass murdering and totally corrupt, Mahomed Suharto, no government can be considered democratic when it:*

** does not insist that its military adhere to the rule of law and show respect for human rights and take action following human rights violations (eg the poisoning, torture, rape, murder, repression towards human rights and independence activists)*

** does not bring to justice all the war criminals in the ranks of its military that have been responsible for genocide and gross violations of human rights within *

* its own borders **and in other nations*

** refuses to apologise to and pay compensation to the victims of the war crimes and the corruption committed by its military*

** closes off any part of the country and refuses to allow the media, human rights and aid organisations to operate without hindrance, threat or menace*

*After many years of being apologists for Indonesian policy in East Timor, Australian leaders correctly did an about face after the TNI and its militias conducted a final orgy of mass murder and the destruction of 80% of East Timor’s infrastructure following the 1999 independence referendum and agreed to send peacekeepers to expel the TNI from that country.*

*Not to do so in the case of West Papua is to condone the crimes being committed by the TNI against the long-suffering people of this nation. To do nothing also tells the world that Australian leaders are not as committed to international social justice, the rule of law, respect for human rights and democracy as they claim to be.*

*Below are some details of a Forum on West Papua that was held in the University of South Australia this week.*

*Please show some compassion and act.*

*Yours sincerely*

*Andrew (Andy) Alcock*
*Forestville*
*South Australia*

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