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Labor policy concerning West Papua.

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Labor Policy Concerning West Papua Laurie Brereton - Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs

Media Statement - 25 October 2000

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The Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, Laurie Brereton, today noted statements concerning West Papua made by Greg Sword in his capacity as ACTU Vice President.

"The views expressed by Mr Sword and his union colleagues concerning West Papua are inconsistent with Labor Party policy", Mr Brereton said.

"Mr Sword was not speaking in his capacity as ALP President. Nor has there been any prior consultation with myself or Federal Party Leader Kim Beazley."

"Labor's policy concerning West Papua is set out in the resolution unanimously adopted by the ALP National Conference in Hobart on 3 August 2000."

"However well-intentioned, Mr Sword's advocacy of a UN sponsored referendum has not been well thought through and is unlikely to contribute to any lessening of tension in West Papua."

"Simplistic comparisons between East Timor and West Papua will not assist the resolution of conflict in West Papua."

"Ill-considered initiatives such as this have the potential to damage Australia's relations with Indonesia under democratically elected President Abdurrahman Wahid."

"It is Labor's considered view that the future status of West Papua can only be determined through dialogue between the Indonesian Government and the people of West Papua."

"As reflected in our National Conference resolution, Labor is deeply concerned about violence in West Papua."

"Labor condemns all human rights abuses in West Papua and strongly supports unhindered access to the territory by independent media and by humanitarian and human rights organisations."

The text of Labor's National Conference resolution on West Papua is below.

ALP National Conference

West Papua

Labor expresses its concern about the situation in the Indonesian Province of West Papua. Labor hopes that current discussions and negotiations between the Indonesian Government and West Papuan leaders will achieve a mutually satisfactory resolution of the status of the

Province and thereby reducing the risk of further conflict and violence.

Labor condemns all human rights abuses in West Papua. We welcome the decision of the Indonesian Government to investigate human rights abuses in the Province. Labor considers the full and transparent investigation and the bringing to justice of those responsible to be a key element in the achievement of a just and enduring political settlement in West Papua.

Labor expresses concern about reports of the formation of militias in West Papua and calls on the Australian Government to make clear Australia's strong concern about the danger of further violence in West Papua.

Labor supports the right of the people of West Papua to develop their own distinctive culture and institutions, and expresses its concern about government and commercial activities such as unrestrained logging, mining, transmigration and expropriation of lands that have impacted negatively on local communities.

Labor urges the Australian Government to ensure that Australian companies conducting operations in West Papua fully respect the rights and traditions of local communities and develop and observe appropriate codes of conduct.

Labor urges the Australian Government, through our foreign aid program, to provide appropriate assistance to local communities to support sustainable development in West Papua.

Labor urges the Indonesian Government to respond to concerns regarding conditions in West Papua by allowing unhindered access by independent media and by humanitarian and human rights organisations. Labor further renews its call on the Australian Government to seek the agreement of the Indonesian Government to allow a Parliamentary Delegation to visit West Papua to observe the situation and needs of the West Papuan people first-hand.

3 August 2000

Authorised by Geoff Walsh, 19 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600.