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Step up on West Papua

Australian Greens Media Release - December 18, 2012

The Australian Greens today called for Foreign Minister, Senator Bob Carr, to explain what Australia is doing to help put an end to violence and human rights abuses in West Papua.

"The Australian Greens were saddened to learn that two more West Papuan activists were killed on Sunday by Indonesian police," said Greens spokesperson on West Papua, Senator Richard Di Natale.

Hubertus Mabel and Natalis Alua are not the only members of the West Papua National Committee to be killed. It has been reported that in this year alone 22 members have been killed, three are missing, 200 have been arrested and seven charged with serious offences.

"Australia should not ignore the ongoing violence and human rights abuses on our doorstep. Australia should be a vocal advocate for human rights in our region, yet our Foreign Minister barely acknowledges the issue.

"When pushed by ABC's 7:30 Report earlier this year, the Foreign Minister agreed that there needed to be an inquiry into the killing of a Papuan activist leader, Maku Tabuni. I was assured at Senate Estimates that DFAT were pursuing this matter with the Indonesian government but no one has been held responsible for the killing and Papuans continue to be murdered.

"Minister Carr should be calling on Indonesia to open up West Papua to foreign journalists and human rights monitors because the scrutiny of independent journalists and NGOs is crucial to improving human rights in the region.

"Australia pursued a seat on the UN Security Council because we want to influence global politics and diplomacy. But if the government wants the responsibility of being a player on the international stage then it simply cannot run away from tough discussions with our friends."

Media contact: Andrew Blyberg 0457 901 600