Indonesia does not give international journalists access to West Papua to record the grave injustices done towards the West Papuans.
Up until now Australia has also actively ignored the West Papuan injustice. For decades it has unwittingly done deals with human right abusers and provided weapons that have killed West Papuans and sustained their torment. The West Papuan genocide is now at 500,000.
Recently the Honourable Julie Bishop was most outspoken against Russia on the 298 deaths from airplane crash MH17, a tragedy that happened some 12,000 km away from Australia. We encourage the Honourable Julie Bishop to do good again by unplugging the ears and opening the eyes of the Australian Government and stand up to Indonesia which is only 200 km away from Australia.
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Dear Ms Bishop,
West Papua was previously a Dutch colony but was handed over to Indonesia in the 1960s without the consultation of the indigenous people and entirely against their will. The West Papuan people were denied their fundamental rights to self-determination and independence ever since and are struggling for their rights to this day against an increasingly brutal Indonesian military who have killed an estimated 500,000 indigenous Papuans. In an attempt to cover up the human rights atrocities, genocide and occupation; the Indonesian government still bans foreign journalists from reporting in West Papua and with the threat of violence restricts even local journalists from documenting the independence struggle.
The people of West Papua desperately need international journalist access and media freedom in their country so that the outside world will be able to take notice of the human rights violations happening there. This will allow the international community to act to prevent such violence against the West Papuans in the future and allow them their human rights including their long overdue right to self-determination.
Thankfully, on 30th July 2014, the New Zealand Parliament passed an historic motion, moving that “the House call upon the new President of Indonesia to commit to genuine media freedom in West Papua including the right of local and international journalists to report on the political situation there without risk of imprisonment or harassment by the Indonesian state.” The motion was passed with no opposition and was a major landmark on the road to journalists’ access to West Papua.
Recently the Indonesian military began an operation in the Lanny Jaya region of West Papua in an attempt to exterminate pro-independence sentiment. Indonesian soldiers are currently burning villages, killing livestock and forcing thousands of villagers to flee into hiding in the jungle where they are suffering in poverty. On 6th August, two French journalists, Thomas Dandois and Valentine Bourrat who had been trying to document this emergency situation for French/German TV Channel Arte, were arrested by the Indonesian police. They were being threatened with a 5 year jail sentence and a 40,000 US dollar fine simply because they were journalists operating in West Papua.
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