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JAKARTA, Indonesia (January 12, 2000 – Indonesian Observer/Antara/Kabar Irian)---The local branch of the Legal Aid Study Center has asked the national Human Rights Commissions in Jakarta to form a special team to investigate human rights violations in Irian Jaya.

Its director, Yan Warinussy, as reported by Antara, pointed out yesterday in Manokwari that human rights abuses against the Melanesian people in Irian Jaya have not yet been resolved, although the number of incidents is alarming.

Many rights violations have occurred in the sub-districts of Biak, Manokwari, Mapaduma, Sorong and Timika, since 1969, just six years after the region became part of Indonesia.

He said that the rights abuses, allegedly committed by military personnel and policemen, included torture, killings and abductions.

"The situation has prompted the Irianese to form their own territory called West Papua," he said, adding that despite the rich natural resources, most of its native inhabitants continue to live in poverty.

"It is also the reason why sporadic fighting between separatists and military troops broke out last time," he said.

Irian Jaya, the western half of New Guinea, was handed over by the Dutch colonizers to Indonesia in 1963 and its local tribal leaders were received by the late President Sukarno in Jakarta on May, 1963, during which meeting they pledged Irian as a part of Indonesia.

KABAR IRIAN ("Irian News") Website: http://www.irja.org/ 

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