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Volume 494: debated on Thursday 25 June 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations his Department has made to the Indonesian government on reported attacks on civilians in the Puncak Jaya region of West Papua; and if he will make a statement. (281990)

My hon. Friend, the Member for Harlow (Bill Rammell) the then Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs raised continuing UK concern at the human rights situation in Papua with Indonesian Foreign Minister Wirajuda when they met in Jakarta on 10 February 2009, and again at the Asia Europe Meeting in Hanoi on 25 May 2009. The UK continues to advocate meaningful devolution, appropriate security measures and greater transparency in Papua.

The Indonesian Government has made progress on human rights over the last decade. During the recent elections, we were aware of reports of tensions in Papua with regard to the actions of the security forces. Officials from our embassy in Jakarta last visited Papua on 17, 18 and 19 June 2009. They held meetings with officials, academics and non-governmental organisations in the region. Although recognising that problems remain, they report a general consensus that there has been a more sensitive and tempered response to some incidents of unrest, including in the Puncak Jaya area, by the law enforcement agencies.