Monday, April 03, 2006

Papua: Greens call for UN referral, Labor calls for autonomy and Howard wants status quo

The Australian reports "hundreds rallied in Brisbane, Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne, where Papuan asylum-seekers granted temporary protection visas two weeks ago are due to arrive from Perth today.

Indonesian critics accuse Canberra of secretly plotting the break away from Jakarta of the separatist province of Papua, likening it to the 1999 independence crisis in East Timor.

Mr Howard said he was hoping to speak "in the next little while" with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. He is also considering a visit to Jakarta, but this could be some months away.

Speaking to the Melbourne rally, organised by the Free West Papua movement, federal Greens leader Bob Brown called for the plight of the Papuans to be referred immediately to the UN.

"If the Howard Government's repeated calls for liberty and democracy around the world are not hollow, then it must act to ensure one million West Papuans get liberty and democracy," Senator Brown said...

Opposition foreign affairs spokesman Kevin Rudd said yesterday he supported the right of people to protest, and he had raised cases of human rights abuses with the Indonesians and would continue to do so.

However, he said it was important to recognise Indonesia's sovereignty over the province.

"The bottom line is, the only effective solution to this in the long term is to ensure that we have an effective autonomy package for West Papua, with West Papua remaining part of the Indonesian republic," he said."

Bill Leak in The Australian

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