Tag Archives: Government

West Papua: Senator Richard Di Natale questions Foreign Minister Carr

Video of Question Time in the Australian Senate on Tuesday March 20, 2012, where Senator Di Natale questioned Foreign Minister Carr about his meeting with the Indonesian Foreign Minister.

He asked Senator Carr whether he had raised West Papua in this meeting, and if not, when the Government planned to do so.

The video includes Senator Carr’s response.

[youtube http://youtu.be/v-MD9ak3ORg]

Federal parliament yesterday (Australia)

http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22chamber%2Fhansards%2Febe16d5f-1452-4285-9104-171295b6d0c4%2F0029%22

THE SENATE
PROOF
QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
West Papua
QUESTION
Tuesday, 20 March 2012
BY AUTHORITY OF THE SENATE

PDF: http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/genpdf/chamber/hansards/ebe16d5f-1452-4285-9104-171295b6d0c4/0029/hansard_frag.pdf;fileType=application%2Fpdf


Senator DI NATALE (Victoria) (14:52): Mr President, my question is to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Bob Carr. Minister, last week you met with your counterpart from Indonesia.

Honourable senators interjecting—

The PRESIDENT: Order!

Senator Bob Brown: I rise on a point of order. As you know, it is impossible to hear Senator Di Natale up this end of the chamber. I am sure that the minister cannot hear the question, so he will not be able to answer.

The PRESIDENT: Senator Brown, that is a valid point of order. I had called for order. I had called, in particular, two members of the Senate to order so that Senator Di Natale can be heard.

Senator DI NATALE: I might begin again. My question is for the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Bob Carr. Minister, last week you met with your counterpart from Indonesia, Marty Natalegawa, and the defence ministers of both nations. Can you inform the Senate as to whether the issue of West Papua was raised as part of those discussions? If not, when do you plan to raise the issue of West Papua with the Indonesian government?

Senator BOB CARR (New South Wales—Minister for Foreign Affairs) (14:53): Mr President, it was raised. First of all it was raised by me, when I assured the Indonesian foreign minister that Australia—both sides of Australian politics—fully recognised Indonesian sovereignty over the Papuan provinces. I reminded him that that was recognised in the Lombok treaty, signed by the Howard government with Indonesia in 2006. I underlined that I understood the case that all the governments of the world recognise Indonesian sovereignty. It would be a reckless Australian indeed who wanted to associate himself with a small separatist group which threatens the territorial integrity of Indonesia and that would produce a reaction among Indonesians towards this country. It would be reckless indeed.

I can say this: the Indonesian foreign minister nominated to me the responsiveness of the Indonesian government to oft-expressed Australian concerns about human rights in Papua. Before I could raise the subject, as I was fully intending to, the Indonesian foreign minister nominated that they have a clear responsibility to see that their sovereignty is upheld in respect of human rights standards. I was impressed by that. It reflects the fact that the previous Australian governments—I know it is the case with this Labor government and I assume it is the case with a coalition government—have raised these concerns with Indonesians, and it reflects the fact that Indonesians have listened.

I again would warn any member of the Senate against foolishly talking up references to separatism in respect of the Papuan provinces. That is reckless and it is not in Australia’s interests.

Senator DI NATALE (Victoria) (14:55): Mr President, I ask a supplementary question. It does relate to the Lombok treaty and I need to remind the foreign minister—I understand he is new in his role—that the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties report of 6 December made a bipartisan recommendation:

The Committee recommends that the Australian Government encourage the Indonesian Government to allow greater access for the media and human rights monitors in Papua.

If this is still the government’s position, what has Senator Carr done to further this aim?

Senator BOB CARR (New South Wales—Minister for Foreign Affairs) (14:56): I can assure the Senate that the Australian embassy in Jakarta will continue to raise matters of human rights in respect of the Papuan provinces, and will do so in respect of the recent sentencing of five men in Papua province to three years imprisonment for subversion. Australia has a strong and consistent record of upholding the right of persons peacefully to express their political views freely. Australian officials in Jakarta will raise our concerns over these sentences. But we will do so as a friend of Indonesia, absolutely explicit and unabashed about asserting Indonesian sovereignty over the Papuan provinces. The Lombok treaty—I refer again to the fact that the Lombok treaty was signed in November 2006, coming into force in 2008—is based on such a recognition: support for the sovereignty, territorial integrity, national unity and political independence of each other. Similar language is used in the preamble.

Senator DI NATALE (Victoria) (14:57): Mr President, I ask a further supplementary question, which also relates to the JSCOT report, which I remind the foreign minister is about what the Australian government, not the Indonesian government, has agreed to do. Recommendation 2 says:

… increase transparency in defence cooperation agreements to provide assurance that Australian resources do not directly or indirectly support human rights abuses in Indonesia.

Again I ask the foreign minister: what steps will you take in your role as foreign minister to ensure this recommendation is applied and that transparency of Australia’s role— (Time expired)

Senator BOB CARR (New South Wales—Minister for Foreign Affairs) (14:58): In those full and frank exchanges last Thursday with our Indonesian counterparts, the defence minister and I canvassed Papua and the Indonesian foreign minister referred again to the progress being made by Indonesia in shifting responsibility for law and order in the Papuan provinces from the military to the police. President Yudhoyono—a great friend of Australia’s, by the way—has committed his government to raising the living standards of the people of Papua and reinvigorating special autonomy. Australia believes that this is the best path—the best means—to achieving a safe and prosperous future for the Papuan people. We will give support through our aid programs. We are the biggest aid donor to Indonesia, and a recognition of that is reflected in the Lowy Institute poll, which I recommend members of the Senate read, which says that Australia is held in high standing by the people of Indonesia. We will continue to work on these great tasks.

Human rights violations in Papua are very high, according to a three-year survey

JUBI, 20 January 2012

[A photograph at the beginning of the article shows three little boys squatting in the street and inhaling aibon.]

The Papuan branch of Komnas HAM, the National Commission  on Human Rights, believes that violations of economic, social and cultural rights  in Papua are very serious  and can be described as gross human rights violations.

The commission’s chairman for co-ordination, Adriana S. Walli, has drawn together a great deal of information in her review of the prospects for economic, social and cultural rights in Papua which she presented at a Focus Group Discussion which was held in Jayapura on 20 January.

According to Adriana, repression and ECOSOC violations have been perpetrated on a vast scale during the past three years .’These violations are occurring on a daily basis and can be identified as gross violations. However, she said, they are brushed aside as being nothing more than trivia.

She went on to say that there were two indicators for why these violations continue to occur. The first was the prevailing view that these violations were trivial, and the second was the lack of commitment of the government and various related agencies.

While presenting her data, Adriana  said that when she was carrying out her investigations during the past three years, she had come across  a great number of ECOSOC violations, especially in health, economic rights and children’s rights.

She drew attention to the fact that in the various hospitals, little had been done to improve the facilities. Many of the personnel were harking back to Dutch times. The supply of clean water is inadequate while there has been a big increase in the number of street children. Many of these youngsters consume alcohol and sniff dangerous substances such as aibon; they also participate in free sex practices, take drugs and so on.

Small indigenous Papuan traders have great difficulty obtaining credit to grow their businesses while they still use traditional methods to handle their finances.

The chairman of the Papuan branch of Komnas HAM, the National Commission on Human Rights, Julius Ongge, told the gathering that the  government of the province of Papua  must be held responsible for the implementation of ECOSOC rights. When local people call for  their basic rights such as customary rights and their rights to education and health, it is obligatory for the government to respond but what in fact happens is that they come face to face with the security forces.

‘Whenever people make demands for their rights, they confront many alarming accusations  and often have to face lengthy legal processes even they have done nothing wrong,’ he said.

Churches call for revision of contract with Freeport

Bintang Papua, 8 June 2011The Alliance of Churches in the Land of Papua, PGGP, has called on the government to revise the work contract concluded with the mining company, Freeport.

‘The presence of this foreign company in the district of Mimika has not resulted in any improvements in the conditions of the local people,’ said Wiem Maury, secretary of the PGGP. He said that in addition to this,  the very presence of Freeport in the area has always been a very serious problem for the people.

‘The welfare of the people who are the true owners of the rich natural resource continue to be a matter of great concern. Nor is there any guarantee about security in the area either,’ he added..

He said that the call for a revision of the contract was one of 22  recommendations agreed at the Papuan Transformation Conference that took place from 3-5 June this year.

He said that a representative of the government had attended the conference, along with representatives of all the different Christian denominations that are present in both Papua and West Papua.

The purpose of the conference was to try to reach a common perception  between church leaders and the government on the crucial  issues of empowerment of the community, education and spiritual attitudes.

‘The conference also sought to reach a common position between Papuans with regard to the substance of the special autonomy concerning the issue of taking the side of the local communities, their protectiona and empowerment,’ he said.

Another aim was to reach a common approach between the churches and the government , as the centre as well as in the regions.

According to Victor Abraham Abaidata, the secretary of the organising committee of the conference, a decision was taken to set up a team composed of a representative of the government, representatives of all the churches in Papua as well as a representative of the church at the national level.

‘We have already presented the 22 recommendations to the provincial governments and will soon present them to the central governmentl,’ he said.