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Wednesday, 4 April 1984
Page: 1197

Senator MISSEN —I refer the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs to recent articles by Mr Robin Osborne relating to political arrests by the Indonesian Government in the province of Irian Jaya and the imprisonment of Melanesian suspects without formal charges or prompt trials. In the light of an answer given by the Minister in response to my question without notice on 13 September 1983 that the Government 'will keep Parliament advised as appropriate' on human rights abuses of the Melanesian population in Irian Jaya, I ask the Minister: Firstly, what information has the Government received from its various diplomatic missions in respect to the arrest two months ago of 30 alleged supports of the Melanesian underground who included the curator of the Condrawasih University's anthropology museum, Mr Arnold Ap? Secondly, will the Australian Government use its good offices with the Indonesian Government to make inquiries about the safety of Mr Ap and his co-detainees and to make every possible effort to ensure that they all receive proper trials or are released without delay?

Senator GARETH EVANS —Senator Missen's question is an important one. I do not have a detailed briefing on these matters at the moment. I will draw the matter to the attention of the Minister for Foreign Affairs and get an answer for him as soon as possible.