Press freedom in West Papua occupied by Indonesia | Letter | Average

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We, members of the House of Lords, would like to recall the attention of Jeremy Hunt on the severe restrictions on press freedom in West Papua occupied by Indonesia. From the Indonesian acquisition in 1963, almost all foreign media, non-governmental organizations and humanitarian agencies have been banned from entering West Papua. At a time of accusations of widespread and systematic violations of human rights against the indigenous population, the Indonesian government has sought to control the flow of information from West Papua to the outside world.

UN officials were prevented from entering West Papua. The former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra at Al Hussein, has issued a statement of concern about the continued drag of the Indonesian foot in response to his desire to visit the territory. Even the current high commissioner, Michelle Bachelet, has found her exceptional request for unfulfilled access. Journalists from West Papua who work locally face even more serious threats. In this decade, several were killed, arrested, beaten or tortured, presumably for reporting Indonesian security service activities.

The Office for Foreign Affairs and the Commonwealth is making press freedom a cornerstone of its program in 2019. We hope the UK takes a firm stand on press freedom in West Papua and ensures that it is not reinforcing this activity repressive through diplomatic support and military and police ties.

Richard Harries, Ray Collins Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Development, Alistair Cooke Vice-speaker, Navnit Dholakia Deputy Heads, Liberal Democrats, David Hannay, Leslie Griffiths, Alan Beith, David Alton International MPs for West Papua (IPWP), parliamentary group of all parties (APPG) on West Papua

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