The situation in West Papua remains serious and the news reports have some grim news. The number of confirmed deaths is slowly rising - from two, to four and now six - and I have received distressing news about severe injuries sustained by others.
I wrote in New Matilda today that it is time for the Australian government to take a tough stand on behalf of human rights in West Papua. Although the congress has ended in violence and its delegates are fleeing or in hiding, there is still time for the government to make a positive intervention on behalf of Papuans who have been arrested for expressing their wishes for their people.
The leaders we know to still be in custody are:
- Forkorus Yaboisembut, who was elected as leader of the movement. I have heard reports that he may be paralysed due to injuries sustained in custody. I sincerely hope this is not the case.
- Edison Waromi – deputy leader.
- Argus Krar
- Selfius Bobii
- Dominikus Sorabut
These people are not violent criminals, but leaders of a community that has mounted a long but peaceful struggle for basic human rights. The world is watching West Papua, and the authorities will have to answer for their fate.