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Military sweep in Nduga Regency-local villagers flee

Australia West Papua Association (Sydney) Media Release - December 9, 2018

In response to the latest shooting in the Yall District, Nduga Regency, in West Papua, the Indonesian security forces are undertaking a military operation to find those deemed responsible

Local media in West Papua have reported that residents from Mbua, Yall and Yigi have fled to the forest to avoid the sweep by a joint police and army force. Up to 1500 people have been displaced.

According to Pastor Benny Gia, (in a report in Jubi 9 December) during a previous sweeping operation that took place in June and July 2018, 50 families in the village of Alguru referred to as the hideouts of armed groups had fled to the forest. In addition, around 150 people fled to Timika and 116 people left Nduga to go to Agats, Asmat.

Joe Collins of AWPA said, "today is International Human Rights Day, the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and we have the Indonesian Security forces causing local people to flee in fear because of a security operation taking place in the Nduga regency to find those deemed responsible for the shooting of construction workers last week.
In previous sweeps the security forces have burned homes and destroyed food gardens".

The Communion of Churches in Indonesia (MPH-PGI) expressed deep concern with the approach of violence in resolving the Papuan problem, both committed by civil society, armed groups and State officials.

"The approach to violence, in any form, in our opinion, will never solve the problem, besides only creating new injuries which in turn will create a cycle of violence," wrote the Rev. Dr. Henriette T.H. Lebang, General Chair of PGI through a PGI pastoral message regarding the events in Nduga. PGI calls on all parties to stop all forms of violence and resolve various problems that exist by sitting together to discuss them in a civilized and dignified manner.

Collins said, "governments in the region should be greatly concerned at the worsening situation in West Papua. Just over a week ago on the 1st December over 500 West Papuans were arrested simply because they took part in peaceful rallies to celebrate their national day or their National flag day The Aust Gov. continuous to say that the human rights situation in West Papua is improving but the ongoing crackdown on peaceful demonstrators by the Indonesian security forces proves otherwise".

A spokesperson for the UN UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in a media release stated:

"While we acknowledge the complexities of the situation in Papua, we are troubled by the crackdown over peaceful demonstrations and increasing reports of excessive use of force by security forces, harassment, arbitrary arrests and detentions in Papua, including harassment and threats to lawyers working on these cases. Such acts may serve as a means of restraining the legitimate exercise of the rights to freedom of association, peaceful assembly, freedom of expression and risk undermining these fundamental human rights for the population at large. Our Office and UN human rights mechanisms have repeatedly raised concerns over recent years about the human rights situation in Papua"

As in AWPA's previous release, 6 Dec. https://awpasydneynews.blogspot.com/2018/12/media-release-increasing-tension-in.html we are calling on our Foreign Minister Marise Payne to raise the matter with the Indonesian Government urging them to control the military during any military operations that will take place. This will save further lives in the conflict area.

Source: https://awpasydneynews.blogspot.com/2018/12/media-release-military-sweep-in-nduga.html.

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