MEDIA RELEASE

Wednesday, 17 January 2007

TV advertising for human rights in West Papua

A massive new TV advertising campaign to promote human rights for West Papua was launched in Sydney today by:

John Dowd, former NSW Liberal Attorney-General
Sister Susan Connolly
Lt-Col Lance Collins (rtd.) former military intelligence officer and author
Dr Clinton Fernandes, University of NSW
Clemens Runawery, an exiled West Papuan visiting from PNG
Sonia Vitro, East Timorese whose father was killed by the Indonesian military
Eko Waluyo, Coordinator Indonesian Solidarity
Ian Melrose, human rights advocate

The TV advertisements begin screening in capital cities around the country today and will be followed in regional centres over the coming months. The TV advertisements will also screen in selected neighbouring countries.

The advertising campaign highlights the dangers of the new security treaty between Australia and Indonesia which was announced last November and is currently before the Australian parliament.

"The yet to be ratified security treaty with Indonesia presents huge dangers for democracy and human rights.   The treaty effectively targets human rights advocates concerned about West Papua and will encourage the Indonesian military to continue its 40 year reign of terror in the troubled province. The Treaty will also justify Australia's spy organisations' surveillance of Australians concerned with human rights injustices," John Dowd said.

The TV advertisements feature West Papuan refugee, now PNG citizen, Clemens Runawery. Clemens witnessed the Indonesian takeover over his country and in 1969 was arrested by Australian officials (at Indonesia's request) when attempting to travel to United Nations to tell the world of his peoples' plight and of the failure of the UN to conduct a fair election.

The advertising is being funded by Australian businessman Ian Melrose. Mr Melrose previously funded an advertising campaign in support of East Timor's right to oil and gas revenue in the Timor Sea after the Howard Government withdrew East Timor's right to have the dispute heard by an independent UN arbitrator.   Mr Melrose was also involved in the successful campaign against the Howard Government's asylum seeker legislation in 2006.

"The more that Australian people that find out about West Papua, the more they will pressure their politicians to act.   Presented with the facts, I am confident that Australians will want to help our neighbours in West Papua," Mr Melrose said.

More information: Ben Oquist 0419 70 40 95

Download Background Information Kit for TV advertising campaign (pdf)