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West Papua needs action now!


Call for Solidarity with the People of West Papua

The Ecumenical Forum of Churches in Papua has issued several pastoral statements in the last month calling for solidarity with the people of West Papua in response to an Indonesian military and police operation which has resulted in dozens of civilian deaths.

This sorry situation began in mid-August when a group of extremist Indonesian nationalists surrounded a dormitory of West Papuan students in the Javanese city of Surabaya, calling the Papuans "monkeys" and "dogs" and demanding that they go home to West Papua. Indonesian police joined the nationalists, threw tear gas into the dormitory and arrested 43 of the students. The incident sparked a wave of student-led anti-racism demonstrations in cities across West Papua. The Indonesian Government has sent over 6,000 more soldiers and police into West Papua and they have responded to the protests with extreme violence.

Dozens of Papuans have been killed in various cities. Many have been arrested and there are claims that the detainees have been beaten and tortured. The internet has been shut down in various parts of the region. Armed militias, consisting of Indonesian migrants living in West Papua, are working with security forces to quell the protests. Reports of migrants threatening Papuans with machetes and other weapons in the streets are common. Human rights defenders are being summoned for questioning by police and are being threatened with arrest. West Papuans are living in great fear and they are appealing for our help.

To date, the Australian Government has said little publicly about this situation. Please urge the Australian Government to take stronger action to pressure the Indonesian Government to end the violence. 


Write to the Foreign Minister, Senator Marise Payne, urging her to call on the Indonesian Government to:

* End the military and police violence immediately and remove the extra troops sent to West Papua;

* Take steps to disarm militia members and keep them off the streets;

* Turn on the internet to all regions of Papua;

* Release all those protesters arrested during the operation;

* Take steps to enable representatives of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to go to West Papua and investigate the human rights situation freely (something the Indonesian President promised to do in February 2018);

* Begin discussions with Papuan leaders about resolving the conflict.

Messages can be sent to the Foreign Minister at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

Also e-mail and call your local Federal MP and your State Senators insisting that they speak publicly about the violence in West Papua and that they call on the Government to take the above actions.

Contact details for all MPs and Senators may be found at:

The call of church leaders in West Papua and reports on the situation in West Papua can be found on the web site of the International Coalition for West Papua:  

If you need more information or want to find out about other ways to help the people of West Papua, you can contact Peter Arndt from the Catholic Justice & Peace Commission of the Archdiocese of Brisbane on 0409 265 476 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. 

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