Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is visiting Indonesia for the third Indonesia-Australia Leaders’ Meeting, from 4 to 5 July

No doubt the two main issues that will be discussed between Kevin Rudd and President Yudhoyono will be curbing the flow of asylum seekers and the live cattle trade.

Joe Collins of AWPA said, “West Papua will be the elephant in the room again, yet it is the one issue that could cause major friction between our two countries. Human rights abuses committed by the Indonesian security forces are ongoing, people are being killed and arrested at peaceful demonstrations and this is 50 years after Indonesia took over control of the territory from the UN.”

We hope that Kevin Rudd will follow the example of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) leaders and also raise the issue of human rights with the Indonesian President.

From the official MSG Communiqué

“endorsed that the concerns of the MSG regarding the human rights violations and other forms of atrocities relating to the West Papuan people be raised with the Government of Indonesia bilaterally and as a Group”

The MSG will also go on a fact-finding mission to West Papua. We encourage Kevin Rudd to also ask Jakarta can Australia send a cross party parliamentary delegation to West Papua not only to investigate the human rights situation but to also to see how Australia can help the West Papuan people in the fields of health and education. 

Jo Collins and Anne Noonan, Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)