TERRITORIANS have turned out in support of three West Papuan students who entered Australia's consulate in Bali and pleaded with the Federal Government to take up their cause.
|Territory supporters gathered outside a barber shop near the Nightcliff Markets to voice their fears about human rights in West Papua. Picture: HELEN ORR|
A small number of dedicated supporters gathered outside a barber shop near the Nightcliff Markets to voice their fears about human rights in the troubled Indonesian province that lies to Australia's north just above the Torres Strait.
West Papuans have been fleeing to Australia in recent weeks.
There have been reports of an unconfirmed number now being held in Darwin detention centres.
Billee McGinley, 38, of Ludmilla said West Papuans face the possibility of torture at home.
"It's a huge human rights issue,'' she said. "They have a right to seek asylum here.''
Three West Papuan activists, students Rofinus Yanggam, Yuvensius Goo and Markus Jerewon climbed the wall of the Australian consulate in the early hours of this morning.
They brought a letter addressed to the Australian people asking Prime Minister Tony Abbott to push the Indonesian government to release at least 55 political prisoners jailed in West Papua.
They also asked for foreign diplomats, journalists, observers and tourists to be allowed into West Papua without special permits.
"We want these leaders to persuade the Indonesian government to treat Papuan people better. Human right abuse [sic] are our routine,'' the letter said.
The letter did not ask for independence from Indonesia.
West Papuan academic Dr Clinton Fernandes said Australia's Consul-General in Bali, Brett Farmer, threatened to expel the three men telling them to leave or he'd call the Indonesian police, ABC news reported.
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