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Indonesia accused of denying province democracy

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, March 25, 2010) - Reports of arrests of peaceful protesters in the Indonesian province of Papua have renewed calls for the government to start talks with the region’s pro-independence movement.

A spokesperson for the Institute of Papuan Advocacy and Human Rights in Australia says 15 people demanding a referendum were arrested in Jayapura and others taken into custody in Manokwari and Serui earlier this week.

Paula Makabory says the arrests send a clear signal that Indonesia is not interested in extending democracy to Papua.

"I could say that West Papua becoming the obstacle in Indonesia’s democracy because Indonesia’s governments never want to sit down with the West Papuan representatives and talk about their long-standing problems there."

Paula Makabory says there are no political or human rights under international law in Papua.

She says the shooting by the Indonesian army of a civilian woman in Puncak Jaya three days ago is an example of what she describes as ongoing, unprovoked military violence in that area.

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