Jayapura, Jubi – Eight members of the House of Lords call on the foreign secretary to take a strong stand against the banning of nearly all foreign media, NGOs and humanitarian agencies from entering West Papua
Mon 22 Jul 2019
Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo. ‘We hope the UK will take a strong stand on press freedom in West Papua,’ write eight UK parliamentarians.
We, members of the House of Lords, would like to draw Jeremy Hunt’s attention to the severe restrictions on press freedom in Indonesian-occupied West Papua. Since the Indonesian takeover in 1963, nearly all foreign media, NGOs and humanitarian agencies have been banned from entering West Papua. At a time of allegations of widespread, systemic human rights abuses against the indigenous population, the Indonesian government has sought to control the flow of information from West Papua to the outside world.
UN officials have found themselves barred from accessing West Papua. Former UN high commissioner for human rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, issued a statement of concern over Indonesia’s persistent foot-dragging in response to his desire to visit the territory. The current high commissioner, Michelle Bachelet, has similarly found her outstanding request for access unfulfilled. West Papuan journalists working locally face even more severe threats. This decade, several have been killed, arrested, beaten or tortured, allegedly for their reporting on Indonesian security service activities.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is making press freedom a pillar of its agenda in 2019. We hope the UK will take a strong stand on press freedom in West Papua and ensure that it is not bolstering this repressive activity through diplomatic support and military and police ties.
Richard Harries, Ray Collins Shadow minister for foreign affairs and international development, Alistair Cooke Deputy speaker, Navnit Dholakia Deputy leader, Liberal Democrats, David Hannay, Leslie Griffiths, Alan Beith, David Alton International Parliamentarians for West Papua (IPWP), All-party parliamentary group (APPG) on West Papua. (*)