Since 17 August 2019, the people of West Papua have been rising up in response to racism and violence at the hands of Indonesian security forces, vigilantes and militia. The Indonesian government has responded by sending thousands of additional police and military to West Papua and arresting many Papuans involved in non-violent protests. The internet has also been shut down in a number of localities restricting access to information about the situation on the ground. There have been reports of at least 8 casualties with security forces opening fire on demonstrators. Australia is a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council and therefore has a responsibility to condemn human rights violations, especially in the Pacific region.
We call on the Australian Government to condemn these human rights violations and urge the Indonesian government to:
1. Remove all extra Indonesian security forces from West Papua and take steps to disarm the militia.
2. Restore the internet and all network connections in West Papua
3. Bring to justice all security personnel involved in the killings or other acts of violence.
4. Make immediate arrangements for representatives of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to visit West Papua by the end of the year.
The incidents of the last few weeks in West Papua have heightened the level of fear and intimidation felt by West Papuans. The Australian Government must take urgent and decisive action to address this unacceptable situation.
The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) has a long-standing position of support for the West Papuan people. The ACTU supports the right of the West Papuan people to self-determination consistent with UN principles; recognises the Federal Republic of West Papua; and further supports the application by United Liberation Movement for West Papua for full membership of the Melanesian Spearhead Group.