Skip to main content

Indonesia: West Papua

Volume 697: debated on Wednesday 9 January 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is their response to the findings of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, Mr Manfred Novak, on the use of torture by Indonesian security personnel in West Papua. [HL952]

We welcome the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Dr Manfred Novak’s visit to Indonesia in November 2007, following an invitation from the Indonesian Government. Dr Novak expressed concerns about abuses in a number of areas, but he noted the openness of prisons in Papua, including for those charged with political offences. Notwithstanding the very real concerns about treatment of detainees, Dr Novak acknowledged that Indonesia has come a long way in recent years and is trying to make positive progress on human rights.

The next step is for Dr Novak to prepare a full report with recommendations which will be put to the UN Human Rights Council, at which the UK is represented. We look forward to seeing this report.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will make representations to the Government of Indonesia to allow freedom of expression and the right to peaceful assembly under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, with particular reference to the right of West Papuans to raise their independence flag. [HL953]

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office does not intend to make representations to the Government of Indonesia in support of raising the Papuan independence flag. Flying the Papuan national “Morning Star” flag is currently illegal under Indonesian law. Special autonomy legislation allows for the use of Papuan symbols and anthems, but the local legislation that is required to confirm the chosen symbols and anthems has yet to be passed. The UK supports the territorial integrity of Indonesia and therefore does not support independence for Papua.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What specific measures they are taking to promote peaceful dialogue between West Papuan leaders and the Government of Indonesia in the search for a resolution to the conflict in West Papua which takes into account the views of the West Papuan people. [HL954]

We believe that the best way to resolve the issues in Papua is through promoting peaceful dialogue between Papuan groups and the Indonesian Government. We are in regular contact with Papuan activist groups in the UK, and encourage dialogue between them and the Government of Indonesia. Our embassy in Jakarta regularly discusses human rights issues, including in Papua, with the Indonesian Government. My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Meg Munn, met the Governor of Papua, Barnabas Suebo, when he visited London on 25 October. They discussed the situation in Papua, including human rights and the implementation of the special autonomy law.