(Brussels) - The European Parliament's hearing on human rights in Papua in Indonesia is an important opportunity to raise concerns and press for improvements in the area's grave human rights situation, Human Rights Watch said today. The hearing of the European Parliament Subcommittee on Human Rights on West Papua and Papua provinces is scheduled for January 23, 2014 in Brussels.
"The European Parliament's hearing on Papua should spotlight the serious human rights challenges and the Indonesian government's needed reforms," said Phelim Kine, deputy Asia director. "Indonesia should realize that abuses by state security forces are a recipe for instability and lawlessness."Human Rights Watch has long urged the Indonesian government to address widespread abuses in Papua by:Allowing international media, nongovernmental groups, diplomats, and aid agencies access to the two provinces to report on rights abuses by all sides. By keeping Papua closed off from the rest of the world, the Indonesian government is fostering impunity among military forces and resentment among Papuans; Permitting access to Papua and West Papua provinces and issuing standing invitations to visit for United Nations human rights experts, including the UN special rapporteur on freedom of expression; Investigating the performance of recent military tribunals in Papua and the failure to bring those implicated in serious abuses to justice; Releasing all political prisoners in Papua who are being held for the peaceful expression of their political views, including the activist Filep Karma; and Reviewing and amending all laws in Papua that permit criminal prosecutions for the peaceful exercise of political expression, association, and assembly, including the regulation prohibiting the flying of the Papuan Morning Star flag.