Subject: Some letters to editor on Papua and Timor


February 13, 2006 Monday

LETTERS; Pg. 16 Your Say

Bad news for West Papua's lost world

IT is disturbing that the newly discovered animals in West Papua's ''lost'' world are threatened by poachers (''Threat to lost world'', February 9).

What is even more disturbing is West Papua's UN listing as one of several places where the indigenous population is threatened with genocide.

A recent report concludes that the West Papuan people have suffered persistent and horrible abuses at the hands of the Indonesian Government.

The Indonesian military and security forces have engaged in widespread violence and killings in West Papua.

West Papua is one of our closest neighbours and it is horrifying to realise the Indonesian military is committing similar atrocities to those it was responsible for in East Timor.

The Australian Government should reconsider its decision to train Indonesian troops until troops and tanks are withdrawn from West Papua and West Papuans are given a say in their future.

Esther Anderson, Surrey Hills

Letters to


Jakarta Post letters to (Letters)

Wrong comparison

02/13/2006 06:25:18 AM EST THE JAKARTA POST

from THE JAKARTA POST -- TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 7, 2006 -- PAGE 7 In The Jakarta Post, Feb. 1, Benny Siahaan wrote an interesting article about Papua, but he made one historical mistake by comparing Papua with East Timor

In colonial times Papua (Nieuw Guinea) was Dutch, but East Timor was Portuguese. In the struggle for independence Sukarno and Hatta only claimed the Netherlands East Indies as the territory of Indonesia, not British parts as Sarawak and Brunei or Portuguese East Timor

The western half of Timor island was Dutch, so it became Indonesia

East Timor remained a Portuguese colony until 1975. In that year Portugal became a communist country, and was then expelled from NATO

The communist regime declared the Portuguese colonies independent, but gave all the weapons to communist rebels, so that former colonies like Angola and Mozambique became communist. The Americans and Australians were afraid that the same would happen in East Timor, and that Cuban soldiers and Russian jet fighters would threaten Darwin and the strategic strait to the north of Timor, a passage for U.S. nuclear submarines from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific Ocean

They pressed president Suharto to occupy East Timor and make it part of Indonesia. They were the first to recognize the Indonesian sovereignty over East Timor. It is a bit hypocritical to now accuse Indonesia of violating human rights, but anyway comparisons with Papua are fundamentally wrong




February 11, 2006 Saturday


We must not let history repeat

THE recent arrival of West Papuan refugees at Cape York will be a huge test for our government's cosy relationship with Indonesia.

There's no doubt Indonesia's new found democracy under the leadership of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and the move of that country to democracy has seen significant improvements in human rights, but it would be naive to think there aren't pockets of Indonesia that are not still suffering brutal military dictatorship.

We must not let history repeat.

In 1942, at the height of World War 2, a grossly outnumbered band of Australian troops survived and protected our shores from the Japanese, due largely to the assistance of civilians in East Timor.

When the threat to Australia abated, our soldiers were withdrawn and, as a result, 250,000 Timorese, including those who had risked their lives in order to help our Diggers, were slaughtered at the hands of the Japanese.

In 1975, without Cabinet approval, Australia's worst prime minister gave the nod to the Indonesian government to invade East Timor.

Then, in 1999 after democratic elections and the subsequent East Timorese independence, Australian troops were sent in as peace keepers.

I hope our government has the "ticker" to look closely at the situation in West Papua and act in the best interests of the refugees as well as the citizens still living there.

Andrew Buchanan, Bruce Highway, Woree.

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