Call on Government to end silence on abuses in West Papua

Press Release – Indonesian Human Rights Network

The Indonesia Human Rights Committee urges the New Zealand Government to stop ignoring gross human rights violations in Indonesian controlled West Papua. IHRC has also appealed to Foreign Minister McCully and Finance Minister Bill English to ensure …Call on Government to end silence on abuses in West Papua

The Indonesia Human Rights Committee urges the New Zealand Government to stop ignoring gross human rights violations in Indonesian controlled West Papua. IHRC has also appealed to Foreign Minister McCully and Finance Minister Bill English to ensure that the Boards of the Super Fund and other Crown Financial Institutes divest their holdings in the destructive Freeport McMoran mine.

‘The Government is yet to make a public response to the shocking events of October 19 when the police opened live fire on a peaceful Congress in the capital. At least 3 and possibly as many 17 unarmed and defenceless citizens were killed, scores of others were seriously injured, and about 300 were arbitrarily detained. Six people remain in jail facing serious charges including treason.

Security force violence and intimidation is ongoing at the site of the Freeport McMoran mine where in October, the police opened fire on a picket line resulting in the deaths of two striking workers. Several other mysterious killings have occurred since.

8,000 striking workers have recently reduced their demands to an hourly rate of US$4.00 an hour. Freeport McMoran makes large payments to the military and the police for security, [1]and the Jakarta police chief recently admitted that individual police officers also receive direct payments of ‘lunch money’.

The mine tailings from Freeport’s open pit copper and gold mine has devastated a vast area ( at least 130 square kilometers) of once pristine rainforest, alpine valleys and a mangrove estuary.

The New Zealand Superannuation Fund lists an investment of $1,813,120 in its equity holdings at 30 June, 2011. The (public servants) Government Superannuation Fund and the Earthquake Commission also invest in Freeport.

* The Government should ensure that the New Zealand funds follow the ethical example of the Norway Pension Fund and divest from Freeport McMoran.

* It should condemn the lethal violence used against Congress participants.

* It should call on Indonesia to immediately investigate the deaths of mine workers and the ongoing intimidation of those undertaking legal strike action.

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