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Downer Should tell Habibie 'Free West Papua'

Media Release
Bob Brown 9 Jul 1998

Greens call on eve of talks in Jakarta

West Papua (Irian Jaya) is on the brink of all-out rebellion and a mounting toll of injury and death. Australia should urge restraint on the Indonesian military and back a plebiscite on independence for the colony, Greens Senator Bob Brown said today.

Australia"s Foreign Minister Alexander Downer will visit Indonesia this week.

"These are Australia"s nearest neighbours. West Papua is closer than East Timor. Since the Indonesian paratroops dropped into West Papua and illegally annexed the country the Free Papua Movement has been fighting for self- determination", said Senator Brown.

"The result has been thousands of deaths, torture and execution of political prisoners, and more than 10 000 refugees fleeing into Papua-New Guinea.

"The repression of West Papua is no less than China"s repression of Tibet.

"The Howard Government"s silence on this issue is appalling. Australia should also reverse the previous Labor Government"s decision to ban West Papuan refugees," said Senator Brown.

Last week the Coalition-Labor majority voted down Senator Brown"s motion calling for action over West Papua.

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