Leader of the Australian West Papua Association (Sydney) (AWPA), Joe Collins, has spoken out against reports that Jakarta has requested Australia to pass on a message to the Solomon Islands to refrain from interfering in the internal affairs of Indonesia.
“This is an outrageous request as it is the duty of all nations to raise concern about human rights abuses not only in West Papua but no matter where they are committed.
“The Solomon Islands and the other six Pacific leaders who raised concern about the human rights abuses in West Papua (at the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September) are to be congratulated for their courageous stand on the issue of West Papua,” said Mr Collins.
He said that it is a pity that Australia does not follow the Pacific leaders in also condemning the ongoing human rights abuses committed by the Indonesian Military.
“Not only should Australia refuse the request of the Indonesian defence minister but should be supporting the Pacific leaders in calling on Jakarta to allow a PIF facing mission to West Papua.”
Indonesia’s Defence Minister was quoted by media as having requested Australia to pass on the message to the Solomon Islands, saying that as a major donor, Australia should raise the issue of non-interference with Solomon Islands.
Joe Collins, along with AWPA’s Secretary Anne Noonan, were awarded the 2012 John Rumbiak Human Rights Defender Award.
AWPA’s role is to lobby and inform the Australian Government and the International Community and in particular regional organizations such as the Pacific Islands Forum and the Melanesian Spearhead Group to raise concerns about the human rights situation in West Papua.