Karlis Salna, AAP South-East Asia CorrespondentHuman rights groups have called for Australia and the United States to use meetings at the East Asia Summit in Bali to press Indonesia into addressing concerns of ongoing abuse and violence in Papua.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard will meet with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Sunday, following the conclusion of the summit of ASEAN countries and other nations, which begins in Bali this week.
Amnesty International's Josef Benedict said on Tuesday that a ban on international non-government organisations and the foreign media in the eastern province of Papua was allowing security forces to operate under a "culture of impunity".
"They are totally above the law," he told AAP-Published
"We continue to receive credible reports of excessive use of force and firearms, as well as reports of torture by the Indonesian security forces."
"This ASEAN summit, it's a very important opportunity for international governments, including the US president and Australian prime minister, to urge to the Indonesian government to deal with the human rights situation in the country."
He said Indonesia - which is a signatory to the ASEAN declaration on human rights, and as the current ASEAN chair has been pressuring Burma to address its poor record on human rights - was guilty of a serious double standard.
There are also fresh demands for a full and independent inquiry into the deaths of at least three people last month when security forces stormed a pro-independence rally after the raising of the Papuan Morning Star separatist flag.
Video of the aftermath of the rally in Abepura, broadcast on Australian television, also showed police beating unarmed protesters, including children.
Human Rights Watch said the use of excessive force in the incident should be investigated.
"Given Australia's close relationship with Indonesia, the fact that it is providing training to security forces, it's extremely important that the Australian government raises concerns and asks for a full and independent inquiry into what happened," the group's spokeswoman, Elaine Pearson, told AAP.
"It's incumbent on any foreign partner, whether it's the US or Australia, to send that message in their discussions with the Indonesian government on these issues and to raise concerns about the human rights abuses that have been going on with impunity for a long time."
Indonesia has been battling a long-running but low-level insurgency since its takeover of Papua in 1969, but human rights groups say the security situation has deteriorated in recent months.
Human Rights Watch said it remained extremely concerned about "the spiral of violence that seems to be getting worse in Papua".
The concerns are backed up by figures obtained from Indonesia's Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence which show more than 40 people have been killed as a result of the violence in the restive province since the beginning of July.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently voiced her concerns about increasing violence and human rights violations in Papua while speaking in Hawaii on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, but Australia has been accused of being largely silent.
Source More http://www.anhourago.com.au/news
© 2011 AAP