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Australian government should raise human rights situation in West Papua with the president

Australian West Papua Association (Sydney) Media Release - February 9, 2020

The Indonesian president, Mr Joko Widodo is visiting Australia and is expected to deliver an address to a joint sitting of parliament in Canberra on Monday the 10th. He is in Australia to discuss/finalize the Indonesia-Australia comprehensive economic partnership agreement (IA-CEPA), which is in the final stage of ratification.

Joe Collins of AWPA said, "we can expect the usual talkfest on trade and investment, maritime issues, defense/security, counter-terrorism and cyber security. However, the one issue that won't be on the agenda is the human rights situation in West Papua".Collins said, "Canberra continuously remains silent on the issue of West Papua and even during the mass demonstrations that occurred in August and September (in response to racism attacks on West Papuan students), it took a question by a journalist before our foreign minister made a comment on the issue".

Indonesia and various governments continue to say the human rights situation in West Papua is improving, yet Jakarta continues to block fact-finding missions to the territory, arrest and deport foreign media, harass human rights defenders and local media in West Papua, and shuts down the Internet during demonstration in order to stop information getting out.

AWPA is calling on Canberra to not only raise the human rights situation in West Papua with Jokiwi, but urge him to release all political prisoners who face charges of treason simply because they raised the West Papuan flag our took part in anti – racism demonstrations.

The visit by the Indonesian President is an opportunity for Australia to show its commitment to human rights in our region by a making a strong statement of concern on the issue of West Papua.

AWPA also urge Scott Morrison (as leader of a Pacific Islands Forum country) to urge Jokiwi to allow a fact finding to West Papua as requested by the PIF leaders.

A number of rallies will be held in various cities including Sydney tomorrow. Outside DFAT office Sydney 5pm.

Source: https://awpasydneynews.blogspot.com/2020/02/media-release-indonesian-president.html