3 November 2011

Third Papuan People's Congress ends with violent crackdown by Indonesian Military

Indonesian military forces have moved in to shut down the Third Papuan People's Congress and have reportedly killed at least six people with many more missing or feared dead.

There had been an intimidating military build up leading up to the event and much interference - including forcing congress participants to hold the event in an open field under surveillance - but the military did not forcibly disperse the crowd and make multiple arrests until the Congress declared the formation of an independent Papua and elected Edison Waromi as Prime Minister and Forkorus Yaboisembut as President. Both are believed to have been arrested.

In the Australian Senate, Greens Senator Richard Di Natale attempted to moved a motion condemning the violent crackdown at the Congress, recognizing the rights of West Papuans to freely assemble, and calling for the humane treatment and timely release of those arrested. The two major parties, the Australian Labor Party and the Liberal Party, both opposed and defeated the motion.

Senator Di Natale also publically called for Australia to suspend military aid and cooperation until human rights safeguards are in put in place.