Media Release – Catholic Justice & Peace Commission, Brisbane
The Australian Government must continue pressuring the Indonesian Government to make arrangements to enable a UN human rights mission to West Papua to take place without further delay.
This call was made by Brisbane’s Catholic Justice & Peace Commission on the 7th anniversary of the killing by Indonesian soldiers of 4 teenage boys in the Paniai District in the Highlands of West Papua.
The Commission’s Executive Officer, Peter Arndt, said that Indonesia’s President, Joko Widodo, agreed to a request from the UN for this mission in February 2018, but it is yet to happen.
“The UN mission needs to go ahead without further delay,” Mr. Arndt said.
“The Australian Government has expressed its support for the UN mission both in correspondence to our Commission and in answers to questions at recent Estimates hearings in the Senate,” he said.
“We hope the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister will continue to pressure the Indonesian Government so that an independent investigation into the Paniai massacre and many other human rights violations in West Papua can happen,” he said.
“We have met with the families of the boys killed in Paniai and they have waited far too long for justice,” he said.
“Many other victims’ families and survivors have waited too long for justice too,” he added.
Mr. Arndt said that the Commission has been engaging this year with MPs and Senators to maintain Australian support for the UN mission and to build pressure on the Indonesian Government.
“We are encouraged to see good support for action on West Papua among MPs and Senators from the Government, the Opposition and from the cross benches,” Mr. Arndt said.
“A number of questions on West Papua were asked at Senate Estimates hearings this year,” he said.
“A motion on West Papua was also put on the House of Representatives notice paper by Government MP, George Christensen, and Tasmanian Independent MP, Andrew Wilkie in November and we hope this will be debated in the House when it returns in February 2022,” Mr. Arndt said.
“Our Commission continues to keep in touch with Catholic priests and leaders from other churches in West Papua and also with victims’ families,” he said.
“They have waited far too long for justice and we will continue to offer them our support and solidarity,” he said.
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