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Papuans prepared to 'risk lives' for asylum JAKARTA - There are reports that groups of Papuan students in Jakarta may be preparing to storm the Australian Embassy in a mass attempt to demand asylum, in an effort to draw attention to their demands for independence. The reports come as an Indonesian business association announces a boycott of Australian goods.

A spokesman for the West Papuan Students' movement, who asked not to be named, has told the ABC he is aware plans are being made, but says they are not at this stage sanctioned by the student leadership. "They are willing to take risks no matter if the risk involved the lives, if it endangers their lives, to whether it's to jump fences or whether it's to barrage into embassy fences," he said. "Papuans are no longer scared of, how should I say, a barrel of the gun.

"They're willing to put their lives at something they truly believe in, which is the respect of, obviously the respect of our human rights that have been violated in the last 30, 40 years." A spokeswoman for the Australian Embassy in Jakarta says the embassy is aware of Indonesian media reports on possible attempts to seek asylum. She says the embassy has good security of its own and from Indonesian police.

Enemies list

Meanwhile, the Indonesian Parliament's Foreign Affairs Commission and the country's national intelligence agency BIN have drawn up an 'enemies list' of prominent Australians and organisations regarded as being supporters of Papuan independence. The commission's chairman, Theo Sambuaga, will lead a cross-party delegation of Indonesian MPs on a trip to Australia next month to protest against the visa decision. The Foreign Affairs Commission supplied the ABC with a copy of the list, which has also been distributed to several Indonesian news organisations.

Prominent among the names are Australian Greens senators Bob Brown and Kerry Nettle, Democrats senators Andrew Bartlett and Natasha Stott Despoja and ALP MP Duncan Kerr. The former ALP national president Greg Sword is also on the list along with organisations including the ACTU, Sydney University and RMIT. Professor Stuart Rees from Sydney University and Sister Susan Conolly from the Mary MacKillop Institute are listed by name.

The Greens' Kerry Nettle says she is proud to be on the list. Senator Nettle says the list has more to do with internal Indonesian politics than animosity towards the individuals named. "I think there are domestic political considerations for people in Indonesia and that's feeding into the way in which Indonesians are feeding into this issue," Senator Nettle said.


Meanwhile, Indonesia's National Association of Importers has announced a boycott of Australian products. The action is in protest at Australia's granting of temporary protection visas to 42 asylum seekers from the Indonesian province of Papua. The association, known as GINSI, says it has 200 members who import Australian products. CEO Amiruddin says the boycott threat is not a bluff and will be continued until the visas for the Papuans are withdrawn.

He says business leaders do not really want to become involved in politics but they have to whether they like it or not when nationalism is involved. Indonesia's Industry Minister has criticised the boycott plan. Industry Minister Fahmi Idris says such a boycott would be no good for Australia or Indonesia which was still trying to recover from an economic crisis.Indonesian radio also reported there was anger amongst some businessmen who would be obliged to pay more for goods if they had to find another supplier.

Link to related event Related event:
Papua conflict

Related blog entries (category 'Violence') Related blog entries (category 'Violence'):
05 April 2006 · Yudhoyono: 'Review cooperation with Canberra'
04 April 2006 · Barnabas Suebu named Papua governor
02 April 2006 · Fears cartoon could damage Australia - Indonesia relationship
28 March 2006 · Indonesia says 3 Papuan students possibly flee for PNG
27 March 2006 · Indonesia not to cut ties with Australia: Spokesman

Posted in Violence @ 06 April 2006 15:19 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink

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John Howard is attempting to diffuse the situation by warning asylum seekers that they are not welcome. Yet strong support for the rebels does exist with some elements of the political establishment of Australia. This issue presents a real dilema for Australian foriegn policy. Do we respect human rights or do we respect national soverenty? Is there a way Australia could do both?

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The Australian government is reviewing the Migration act in relation to refugees. There is some disscussion of the relevence of the 1951 UN charter on refugees in today's world. It seems the Australian government is prepared to for-go human rights in an effort to maintain relations with Jakarta. Is this the right approach?

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Amnesty International has criticised the Australian government over the suggestion that Jakarta's help be sought in indentifying refugees from Papua.

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A suvery has found 75% of Australians support self determination for Iryan Jaya. Only 5% don't support independence. From my own assessment this could well be true. It is clear there are difficult times to come for Indonesia and Australia. This is a real concern for people like myself who have family in both countries.

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