Friday, March 17, 2006

Terror fears may spark more Papuan asylum bids reports "a new wave of West Papuan refugees may target Australia for asylum bids amid fears Indonesian forces will unleash a fresh reign of terror, a leading independence fighter has told The Courier-Mail. The Free Papua Movement (OPM) southern regional commander, Jiren Bonny, said the progress of the asylum bid by 43 West Papuans in detention on Christmas Island was being closely monitored.

Speaking at a river camp at Kiunga on the West Papua-PNG border, Mr Bonny rejected claims the Indonesian army was now under control in West Papua.

A document signed by nine regional West Papua tribal leaders and sent to United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan in recent weeks said Indonesian forces were training militia groups and preparing for an East Timor-style looting spree should international support for West Papua independence grow.

The document said local people had been panicked by the redeployment of troops from Aceh province to West Papua and claimed plans had been made to loot and destroy West Papuan infrastructure if international troops were sent to help any move to independence."

The Indonesian Government is desperate to have the 43 asylum seekers returned to Indonesia. It would appear that one of its main fears is that the truth about West Papua is finally emerging and these people can verify instances of human rights violations. Australian governments have been complicit in turning a blind eye to these violations over decades and it is vital the full story is now told.

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