December 02, 2011
(fair dealing – non-profit)
THE Queensland Parliament has called on Indonesia to investigate and act on humans rights abuses in Papua.
Retiring Labor veteran and Amnesty International advocate Judy Spence used the last sitting of Parliament overnight to call on Indonesia to act on allegations of human rights abuse at the Third Papuan Peoples’ Congress in October.
Amid reports of further clashes between Indonesian police and West Papuan independence activists, Ms Spence told Parliament she despaired at “the direction that human rights is going in many countries of the world today”.
“I do not think we are seeking improvements,” Ms Spence said.
“In fact, I think we are taking backward steps in many countries. So it behoves us all to be very vigilant about the human rights standards in our own country and our own state but also to fight for causes internationally at every opportunity.”
Liberal National Party MP Bruce Flegg backed the motion, saying “there is sufficient evidence of serious human rights abuses on our doorstep to cause us deep concern”.
Dr Flegg called on Indonesia to acknowledge it has committed human rights abuses, decrease its military presence in West Papua and allow access by United Nations observers and journalists.
“This is a nation (Indonesia) that is very close to us,” he said.
“In many ways, they are a friend of Australia and I think it is right and proper that the Queensland parliament and Australia as a whole should be urging them to improve their human rights record in this area. It is a black spot for them.”