Saturday, February 17, 2007

Adverts call for 'Papua' changes to Aust-RI Treaty

An Australian optical store-owner will run television advertismenents across South East Asia urging Indonesia to let human rights monitors into its two New Guinea-island provinces and also promoting separatist identities. According to Graeme Dobell of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's ABC News, one advertisement, shows pictures of Australia's Prime Minister, John Howard, and Indonesia's President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono while stating: "Howard, Yudhoyono, you now have all the information: 183,000 dead in East Timor, 100,000 dead in West Papua. Include human rights monitoring and access for journalists to West Papua in the Australia Indonesia Treaty."

The advertisements were launched at a press conference in the Australian Federal Parliament House in Canberra, hosted by an independent MP Peter Andren and Australian Labor Party MP Duncan Kerr from the House of Representatives and Senator Natasha Stott Despojas from the Democrats and Senator Kerry Nettle of the Greens.

According to Dobell, another advertisement in the series features Clemens Runawery "who fled from West Papua in 1969 and lives in exile in Papua New Guinea. He says there's a slow process of genocide in West Papua, because of the influx of people from the rest of Indonesia. Mr Runawery says that under Dutch rule in the early 1960s, Papuans made up 96 percent of the population of what is now an Indonesia province. Today, he says only 65 percent of the population is Papuan, the other 35 per cent from the rest of Indonesia."

And Runawery further told Dobell that "the overpopulation for the Indonesian side is growing much faster than the Papuan population. Now, one may wonder why. The answer to that would be through the transmigration, official and non-official of the so-called spontaneous migrants. Therefore, they're coming in almost 5,000 per week. And that is in fact, this policy is devastating, is detrimental to West Papuan existence, in terms of maintaining the cultures and the dignity as an ethnic group."

The term "West Papua" used in the advertisements and by Runawery appear to refer to both Indonesian provinces on New Guinea island and not specifically Papua Barat (West Papua) province.

The sponsor, millionaire businessman Ian Melrose, said he'll find television networks who'll "take the money" and run his advertisements across South East Asia.

According to Kate Corbett of Australian Associated Press, the adverts will "initially be aired across Australia and then overseas on ABC Asia-Pacific [the Australian Government-owned satellite broadcasting service now renamed Australia Network and already broadcasting into indonesia] and potentially on Indonesian television."

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