Senator the Hon Marise Payne
Minister for Foreign Affairs
PO Box 6100
Senate, Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600
27 May 2021
Dear Foreign Minister,
I am writing to you on behalf of the Australia West Papua Association in Sydney, concerning the jailing of West Papuan activist Victor Yeimo, who is the international spokesperson for the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) and the Papuan People's Petition.
He was arrested on the 9 May and faces a number of charges including treason because of his peaceful role in the anti-racism protests on the 19 August in 2019.
The demonstrators at the time were protesting against the arrest and racial abuse against West Papuan students in Surabaya, Indonesia.
Victor Yeimo has denied any involvement in another follow up anti-racism rally on the 29 August which led to clashes between the security forces and protesters,
Victor has been arrested because he is a member of the KNPB, a peaceful civil society organisation which can bring large numbers of demonstrators to the streets bringing the world's attention to the injustices the West Papuan people suffer under Indonesian rule.
It has been reported that the Indonesian authorities have prevented lawyers from accompanying Victor during a number of his interrogations and also making it difficult for family members to pay him a visit.
Over 30 civil society groups, including Amnesty International Indonesia and Human Rights Watch have issued a joint statement on May 18 calling for Victor Yeimo's release
The jailing of peaceful activists, simply because they took part in a demonstration is against their rights under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states,
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek receive and impart information and ideas though any media and regardless of frontiers (Article 19).
1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
We urge you to use your good offices with the Indonesian Government to call for the immediate and unconditional release of Victor Yeimo and all political prisoners.