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Govt Urged to Move on Papua Leader’s Death

September 18, 2012

AAP: Govt Urged to Move on Papua Leader’s Death

September 18, 2012

Australian Associated Press

THE Australian Greens fear the death of a Papuan freedom fighter – and
its links to Australian defence personnel – is being swept under the

Greens senator Richard Di Natale has urged the federal government to
reveal what progress it has made with Indonesian authorities over the
killing in June of separatist leader Mako Tabuni.

The leader of the West Papua National Committee was reportedly gunned
down by Detachment 88, an Indonesian counter-terrorism unit trained by
Australian forces.

At the time Foreign Minister Bob Carr voiced his concerns and said he
would seek a full explanation from Indonesia.

But the government had since gone quiet, Senator Di Natale said.

"The question is what have they actually done to progress a call for
an inquiry and what representation has been made," he told AAP.

"The Australian government’s got a responsibility to bring this to the
attention of the Indonesian government and not sweep it under the
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Senator Di Natale said senior Australian government ministers were at
odds over Papua.

While Senator Carr had acknowledged human rights issues in the
Indonesian province, Defence Minister Stephen Smith last week said he
had no such concerns.

He said as much while announcing a new deal to sell military hardware
to Indonesia.

"You can’t claim that you have no concerns when the situation has been
laid bare and your own foreign minister makes comments that completely
contradict it," Senator Di Natale said.

"There’s been a litany of death, torture and political imprisonment."

He noted the case of independence fighter Filep Karma, who is serving
a 15-year sentence for taking part in a flag-raising ceremony in 2004.

Senator Di Natale was joined by Democratic Labor Party senator John
Madigan and about 20 others on Tuesday at a free West Papua rally
outside Parliament House.

The pair have vowed not to back off, despite Senator Madigan’s
condolence motion for refugee advocate Vikki Riley being voted down
last week.

Riley, who championed self-determination for Papua, died in Darwin
earlier this month after being knocked off her bicycle on her way to
visit detainees.

The government and the coalition said they wouldn’t support the motion
because Ms Riley’s involvement in Papua was out of line with their
respective party policies.

Senators Madigan and Di Natale said they would move a second,
lengthier condolence motion in the next sitting week.

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