British Deputy Prime Minister raised ‘grave concerns’ over human rights and restricted press access to West Papua during meeting with Indonesian Government officials

It has emerged that the British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has raised concerns to the highest levels of the Indonesian Government about the ongoing human rights abuses being committed in West Papua, and the restricted access granted to foreign journalists to the region.

The Deputy Prime Minister made representations to Indonesian ministers during the Asia-EU summit in October.

During an exchange in the House of Lords in the British Parliament on 16th December, a prolonged exchange took place between several Lords regarding reported human rights abuses by the Indonesian military in West Papua and the denial of access to the region for foreign journalists. Many of them urging the British Government to take a stronger line against Indonesia. (view exchange here)

The situation in West Papua and human rights abuses in the region have steadily risen in the public consciousness in the UK in the past few years, part due to the campaigning efforts of exiled independence leader Benny Wenda. Earlier this year the British Prime Minister David Cameron described the Papuan peoples plight under Indonesian colonial rule as a ‘terrible situation’ leading to celebrations throughout West Papua that a Western leader had recognised their situation publicly. More recently, footage was broadcast on national news broadcaster Channel 4, showing Indonesian troops torturing Papuans, leading to pubic outrage in the UK and further representations from the UK Government.

9 people arrested for displaying West Papua flag face lengthy prison sentences

Article from AFP

Nine people have been arrested after displaying the West Papua flag in Indonesia’s remote Papua province.

Eight men and a woman unfurled the banned “Morning Star” flag on Saturday in a village in Jayawijaya district, local police chief I Gede Sumerta Jaya said.

“We arrested nine people and they’re being investigated. They had raised the Morning Star flag. We found the flag and a wooden pole,” he told AFP.

“They’re likely to be named suspects on charges of plotting against the state,” he added.

Anyone convicted of displaying separatist symbols faces possible life sentence in Indonesia, a sprawling archipelago with a history of secessionist rebellions.

Indonesia won sovereignty over Papua, a former Dutch colony on the western half of New Guinea island, in 1969 after a vote among a select group of Papuans widely seen as a sham.

Many Papuans accuse Indonesia’s military of violating human rights in the province and complain that the bulk of earnings from its rich natural resources flow to Jakarta.

Journalist murdered in West Papua, spreading fear amongst Papuan media.

Sources: FOKER LSM and Kompas
Ardiansyah Matra’is, a journalist working for Merauke TV, was found dead near the Gudang Arang river in Merauke, Papua, on Friday morning. Ardiansyah had been reported missing for two days.

He worked as a stringer for TV station Anteve and as a reporter for Papua’s Rajawali daily before joining Merauke TV.

Jojo, the chief editor of Rajawali daily, told news portal that journalists in Papua have been receiving death threats through text messaging over the past week.

“The SMS messages said that journalists in Papua would be killed and there would be no action from the police and the military. Several journalists had lodged a report with the Merauke Police about the death threats [they received],” Jojo said.

One text message reads: “To cowardly journalists, never play with fire if you don’t want to be burned. If you still want to make a living on this land, don’t do weird things. We have data on all of you and be prepared for death.”

Statement from FOKER LSM
Slightly abridged by Pro Papua

We are saddened to inform you that Adriansyah Matrais a member of Foker (Forum Kerja Lembaga Sosial Masyarakat, NGO working forum) has died under suspicious circumstances.

Adriansyah worked as a journalist for the Foker bi-weekly tabloid JUBI (Jujur Bicara, Honest Talk) and Merauke TV. He was initially declared missing in Merauke Regency, Papua Province on 28 July when his motorbike and helmet were found on a bridge near the River Maro. On 30 June the naked and handcuffed body of Adriansyah was discovered in the Gudang Arang River.

In an attempt to reduce the level of threats and improve the personal security situation of Adriansyah, people advised Adriansyah to cease his investigations in Jayapura Regency, Papua Province and return to his home in Merauke Regency, Papua Province.

During the period of increased intimidation, Adriansyah had been investigating financial irregularities in funding for improvements in Mandala Stadium (Jayapura Regency, Papua Province), in the plans to build a bridge over Yotefa Bay as part of a ring road for Jayapura (Jayapura Regency, Papua Province) and in the provision of electricity to Enggros Island (Jayapura Regency, Papua Province), as well as following up on unresolved human rights cases in Papua and investigating illegal logging in Keerom District, Papua Province.

In the week before the disappearance Adriansyah had become increasingly paranoid about his personal movements, according to his wife.

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