AWPA CONDEMNS ANY RESUMPTION OF AID TO THE INDONESIAN MILITARY

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AUSTRALIA WEST PAPUA ASSOCIATION

Sydney, Australia

News Release November 14, 2002

The Australia West Papua Association, Sydney condemns any resumption of aid to (or the idea of training) the Indonesian military and in particular the Indonesian special forces unit, Kopassus. The tragic circumstances around the bombings at Bali may encourage the Australian Government to support a resumption of aid to the Indonesian military. AWPA believes this would be counter productive as it would be used to oppress not only the people of West Papua and Aceh but the people of Indonesia itself

Numerous reports indicate the TNI’s involvement in human rights abuses not only in the past in East Timor but at present in West Papua.

Joe Collins from AWPA said the present government has learned nothing from what happened in East Timor. He cited Gareth Evans, a previous foreign minister who has said

"I am one of those who has to acknowledge, as Australia’s foreign minister at the time, that many of our earlier training efforts helped only to produce more professional human rights abusers".

At present the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade are holding an inquiry into Australia’s relationship with the Republic of Indonesia. We urge the Australian government to send the committee members of this inquiry on a fact finding mission to West Papua to investigate the human rights situation in the province.

Further Info. John Ondawame Mob. 0407450514 Joe Collins (02) 99601698

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