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20 years after Biak Massacre, no improvement in human rights situation in West Papua

Australia West Papua Association (Sydney) Media Release - July 3, 2018

A new Amnesty International report released on Monday, "Don't bother, just let him die': Killing with impunity in Papua", documents the unlawful killing of at least 95 people in West Papua in the last eight years. Many of those targeted were peaceful activists.

Joe Collins of AWPA said, "the report shows that the Indonesian security forces can act with impunity in West Papua. It is also a timely reminder that its now 20 years since the Biak Massacre and West Papuans are still being killed for taking part in peaceful protests, simply for bringing attention to the injustices they suffer under Indonesian rule".

Biak Massacre 6 July 1998

On the 2 July in 1998, the West Papuan Morning Star flag was raised on top of a water tower near the harbour in Biak. Large numbers of people gathered beneath it singing songs and holding traditional dances. As the rally continued, many more people in the area joined in with numbers reaching up to 500 people. On the July 6 the Indonesian security forces attacked the demonstrators, massacring scores of people. The victims included women and children who had gathered for the peaceful gathering. They were killed at the base of the water tower. Other Papuans were rounded up and later taken out to sea where they were thrown off naval ships and drowned. No member of the security forces have ever been charged over the killings in Biak.

AWPA calls on the Australian Government to not only urge Jakarta to implement the recommendations in the Amnesty report but also to raise again the matter of a Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) fact finding mission to West Papua at the upcoming PIF summit in Nauru in September. Fact-finding missions by the international community to West Papua can only help improve the human rights situation in the territory".

At the PIF forum meeting in Port Moresby (2015) the PIF leaders requested Jakarta to allow a PIF fact-finding mission to West Papua.

From the PIF communique 2015.

17. Leaders recognised Indonesia's sovereignty over the Papuan provinces but noted concerns about the human rights situation, calling on all parties to protect and uphold the human rights of all residents in Papua. Leaders requested the Forum Chair to convey the views of the Forum to the Indonesian Government, and to consult on a fact-finding mission to discuss the situation in Papua with the parties involved.

Source: http://awpasydneynews.blogspot.com/2018/07/media-release-20-years-after-biak.html.

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