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Thursday, 31 May 1984
Page: 2315


Senator RYAN (Minister for Education and Youth Affairs)(11.53) —in reply-Senator Missen and Senator Harradine raised matters on the adjournment tonight concerning Indonesia and refugees and Australian foreign policy. The Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr Hayden) has provided me with some information on the matter and I read it to the Senate:

I am aware of reports that Mr Arnold Ap, former Curator of the Anthropological Museum at Cenderawasih University in Jayapura, who was arrested on 30 November 1983 for alleged involvement with the Free West Papua Movement (OPM), has been killed while trying to escape from detention.

In December 1983, our Embassy in Jakarta discussed Mr Ap's arrest with the Indonesian Legal Aid Institute and was advised that the Institute was making representations about Mr Ap and other alleged OPM supporters detained with him to the Military Commander of Irian Jaya, Brigadier-General Sembiring.

During the recent visit to Irian Jaya by the Australian Ambassador to Indonesia , Mr Rawdon Dalrymple, on 10-25 April, the Ambassador made representations about Mr Ap to General Sembiring and the Governor of Irian Jaya, Isaac Hindom, General Sembiring told the Ambassador on 11 April that Mr Ap was still in detention awaiting trial.

Since reports of Mr Ap's death on or around 26 April, the Embassy has sought confirmation from the Indonesian authorities in Jakarta. The precise circumstances of Mr Ap's death still remain unclear and the Embassy is pursuing its inquiries.

The Government is naturally concerned and dismayed at the reports of Mr Ap's death and has made its concern known to the Indonesian Authorities. The Government further hopes that other political detainees in Irian Jaya will be brought to trial without delay in accordance with Indonesian law.

It should be noted, however, that the Government's representations about Mr Ap and other detainees are motivated by humanitarian concerns and do not in any way imply support for the tactics or objectives of the OPM. In this context, the Government condemns the recent killings by the OPM of those Indonesians unfortunate enough to fall into its hands.

That information was provided for the benefit of the Senate and specifically for Senator Missen on the adjournment debate. I will refer Senator Missen's remarks and those of Senator Harradine to the Minister for Foreign Affairs for further comment if he wishes.

Also on the adjournment tonight Senator Kilgariff raised matters concerning the declaration of stage 2 of Kakadu National Park. I will refer those matters to Senator Walsh and the Minister for Home Affairs and Environment, Mr Cohen. Senator Kilgariff also made some remarks about a farewell of a Tracker aircraft of the sea-air force and expressed his appreciation of the efforts of that particular force.