[Marxism] Australia-Indonesia treaty up for ratification in Oz parliament

Rohan Pearce rohanp at greenleft.org.au
Thu Feb 15 04:21:12 MST 2007


[Astonishing that it doesn't even mention the 42 West Papuan asylum
seekers last year or the repeated emphasis on ``territorial
integrity'' in the treaty, the text of which is available here:
<http://www.aph.gov.au/house/committee/jsct/6december2006/treaties/indonesia_text.pdf>
 ]

Australian rights groups flay pact with Indonesians

Published: Tuesday, 13 February, 2007, 08:00 AM Doha Time

CANBERRA: Australian rights activists yesterday criticised a security
pact with Indonesia, telling parliament in a submission that it could
help Jakarta brutally put down separatist groups in the archipelago.

The pact, signed on the Indonesian island of Lombok in November, aims
to smooth often-prickly ties between the two neighbours and underline
Australian support for Jakarta's sovereignty over restive provinces
including the Papua region.

But pro-Papuan independence groups and the Australian Civil Liberties
Union told the Treaties Committee of the Australian Parliament, which
must approve the pact, that parts of the document were at odds with
the country's democratic values.

"We cannot dictate to a neighbouring nation, but nor can we hide our
colours without diminishing our nation and ourselves as individuals,"
Civil Liberties Australia chief executive Bill Rowlings said in a
submission.

The Australian parliament, he said, should insist on a yearly
reporting and monitoring role in Papua, where separatists have waged a
low-level insurgency against Jakarta rule for decades.

"Monitoring is required to make sure that the new treaty does not
inadvertently provide a paper cover for human rights abuses in Papua,
particularly by or under the control of the (Indonesian military),"
the submission said.

Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said last year the pact
would lead to stronger anti-terrorism co-operation and joint naval
border patrols, as well as joint civilian nuclear research and
Australian sales of uranium to Indonesia.

The treaty was agreed following militant bomb attacks in Bali in 2002
and 2005, as well as on Australia's Jakarta Embassy in 2003, which
together killed 92 Australians and scores of Indonesian and foreign
bystanders. But the Australia West Papua Association blamed rapacious
Indonesian security forces in Papua for instability and warned against
plans to boost military training between Australia and Indonesian
special forces.–Reuters




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