In brief... DTE 65 - May 2005

Down to Earth No 65  May 2005

Indonesian government attempt to block West Papua solidarity meeting

Representatives from Asian countries including Thailand, South Korea, Indonesia, East Timor, Burma, Sri Lanka and the Philippines joined others from the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the UK and Ireland for an international solidarity meeting on West Papua in April/May. One focus of the meeting, held in Manila in the Philippines, was violence perpetrated against women in West Papua.

Indonesian media reports stated that the Indonesian government had asked the Philippines government to stop the meeting, which, it claimed, went against the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation signed by members of ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations).

A statement issued by the meeting organisers congratulated the Philippines government for not bowing to Indonesian pressure. Mark Doris from West Papua Action, said "What does the Republic of Indonesia have to hide? If there is nothing to hide, we call on ..Indonesia to allow immediate and unfettered access to the international media and NGOs so that they can see for themselves the conditions under which West Papuans are living."

International journalists and NGOs are routinely refused access to West Papua.

(Source: West Papua Solidarity Meeting Clarification 3/May/05; Sinar Harapan 28/Apr/05)


Free West Papua Campaign launched in UK

A new West Papua freedom campaign was launched in Oxford in March, by Papuan tribal leader and political exile Benny Wenda, with support from local MPs Andrew Smith and Evan Harris, local MEP Caroline Lucas and the Bishop of Oxford, Richard Harries.