The National – Thursday, February 17, 2011
ON Feb 16, at the Papua New Guinea high commission in London, West Papuans of Indonesia held a demonstration against the harassment of West Papuan refugees near the PNG-Indonesia border area in West Sepik during the ongoing Sunset Merona operation.
Placards were held and leaflets were handed out to the public.
A delegation then entered the offices and had a lively debate with the high commissioner who disclosed motivations for the operation.
A report we received from West Papuan refugees currently settled in Vanimo says armed gangs wearing uniforms of the PNG Defence Force and police burned down 19 houses of the refugees and totally destroyed their gardens (crops) using spades and guns on Jan 23.
We are horrified by this treatment of West Papuan refugees.
We are particularly concerned that any refugees accused of being militants will be imprisoned or sent back to suffer at the hands of Indonesia.
More than 100 refugees have been moved against their will by military aircraft to East Awin, Western.
At the demonstration, we discussed these issues with the high commissioner who stated that the OPM are terrorists and that one of the motives for the operation was to stop their activities.
It has been proposed that this oppressive operation may continue for a further three months.
The high commissioner promised to pass our message to the PNG government.
We call on PNG to stop the operation and allow free movement and support to all West Papuan refugees.