Australian Greens Senator, Dr Richard Di Natale, has condemned the Australian Foreign Minister’s comments in Senate Estimates where he blamed the escalating tensions in West Papua on the international human rights movement.
“Senator Carr’s comments are a clear acknowledgement that human rights abuses, killings and incarceration of political prisoners in the province of West Papua are escalating but rather than show leadership he has blamed people like me who are campaigning for an end to the violence,” said Senator Di Natale
“To imply that I am in some way responsible for the atrocities inflicted on the West Papuan people and to label my advocacy for the West Papuan people as the ‘Greens latest cause de jour’ and ‘a cruel deceit by self-indulgent people’ is both offensive and patronising.
“It is patronising to the people of West Papua, who are not taking their cues from me but are actively engaged in a local movement for self-determination. It also makes me wonder what Minister Carr thinks about the many Australians who campaigned for an end to violence in East Timor or for Nelson Mandela to be freed from prison.
“Filep Karma is currently serving a 15 year prison sentence simply for flying the West Papuan Morning Star flag but according to Minister Carr, any foreigner who flies a flag as a way of highlighting this injustice is ‘planting in the minds of people who actually live in the place, the notion that this campaign has some sort of international resonance’.
“Uncannily, an old episode of the show 'Hollowmen' aired last night on ABC and it focused on Australia’s response to human rights abuses in West Papua. Surprisingly, even though it is supposed to be a parody demonstrating how best to give the impression of action while doing nothing, the response on the show was stronger than what we’ve actually seen from Labor.
“The time has come for Australia to step up and ensure that the continued Australian funding of the Indonesian defence forces only continues if we see an end to the human rights abuses in the region.”
Footage of Senator Di Natale’s questions to the Foreign Minister and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=36QiX1B7jMo
Media Contact: Andrew Blyberg 0457 901 600