Community Radio 3CR have sent this letter to Senator Bob Carr at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, endorsed by a wide range of faith, political, refugee and human rights groups and community leaders.
Join the calls for safe passage for the Freedom Flotilla by adding you or your community’s name to the comments, andprinting out and sending this letter to the Senator.
Re: Concern for the Safety of the Freedom Flotilla to West Papua and
West Papuans living in Australia
Dear Honourable Mr Carr,
We write to you out of deep concern for Australian residents and citizens associated with the Freedom Flotilla. While exercising their democratic rights to protest against human rights abuses in West Papua they are being threatened to have consular support withdrawn in the event Indonesian authorities detain them.
Threats of military violence against peaceful Australian citizens by Indonesian forces are entirely unacceptable and need to be strongly and immediately condemned by your office.
In the many months leading up to the Flotilla’s departure we became aware of numerous incidents of Indonesian security operatives spying on Australian citizens Those subjected to this surveillance and intimidation believe that they have been targeted due to their, or their families involvement in West Papuan pro-democracy movement.
There is a growing frustration in the Australian community that the Australian Government is not fulfilling its role as a good neighbour to Indonesia in its abandonment of the West Papuans to ongoing violence and climate of impunity amongst the military forces.
The recent United Nations Report on Human Rights regarding Indonesia had numerous condemnations of that country’s current human rights record in West Papua, and highlighted the fact that Papua is still closed off to UN and international scrutiny.
International human rights law affirms that indigenous peoples have the right to self-determination. Australia also affirms this as a signatory to the Charter of the United Nations, as well as other international covenants and declarations, which assert the fundamental importance of the right to self-determination of all peoples to live in freedom, peace and security.
The Freedom Flotilla, as a peaceful journey re-uniting cultures and struggles of Australian and West Papuan indigenous peoples, is doing just what the Australian Government has been failing to do in relation to West Papua: peacefully pursuing self determination. On the Australia Security Council website it states, “Australia has much to contribute to the Security Council. We bring creativity, energy and a practical problem-solving ethos”. Now is the time for such a contribution. We remember Timor-Leste and successive Australian governments’ complicity in that brutal occupation.
We the undersigned demand that the Australian government act to ensure that every Australian has the right to peacefully pursue democratic aspirations free from intimidation. We urge the Australian Government to make representations to Indonesia to not use violence against the Freedom Flotilla, and provide appropriate support of our citizens and indigenous people on the boats as human rights defenders of conscience.
Bishop Emiritus Hilton-Deakin, Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne
Peter Woods, (Anglican Minister, Melbourne)
Father Bob Maguire (Bob Maguire Foundation)
Kon Karapanagiotidis (CEO Asylum Seeker Resource Centre)
Marian Prickett (Manager 3CR Community Radio)
Senator John Madigan (DLP Senator for Victoria)
Anthony Craig (DLP Federal Executive Officer Spokesperson West Papua)
Len Cooper (National President CWU)
Kevin Bracken, Victorian Branch Secretary (MUA)
Wendy Bacon Journalist and Researcher
Anthony Kelly CEO (Flemington & Kensington Community Legal Centre)
IMARA Youth Advocacy
Ramesh Fernandez (CEO RISE Refugees)
Gerry Georgatos WA Senate Candidate (WikiLeaks)
Catherine Delahunty MP (NZ Greens)
Australia West Papua Association (AWPA) Melbourne
Australia West Papua Association (AWPA) Sydney
Dr Joseph Toscano (Victorian Senate Candidate)
Robbie Thorpe (Treaty Republic)