Human rights groups call for justice and peace
In a joint statement, human rights activists from Asia, Africa and South America have called for justice and peace for the indigenous people of West Papua. Addressing their message to President Habibie of Indonesia, the human rights groups called for a "democratic and peaceful process towards a conclusion of the National Dialogue between the indigenous people of Irian Jaya/West Papua and the Government of Indonesia". The appeal was signed by representatives of the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) in Thailand, the Association for Promotion and Defence of Human Rights (ATPDH) in Chad (Central Africa), the Institute for Human Rights Studies and Advocacy (IHRSTAD) in West Papua, the Instituto "Sou Dapaz", Sao Paulo, Brazil, and the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), in Nigeria. Referring to the demand for independence — "following 35 years of colonisation by Indonesia" — which West Papuan representatives presented to President Habibie in February, the human rights activists expressed their concern that it might "spark violence against civilians by the [Indonesian] military (ABRI) or by forces backed by ABRI as has recently occurred in East Timor, Aceh, and the Mollucas". The human rights groups pointed out that ABRI's "brutality against the people of Indonesia ... has included massacre, torture, rape, and disappearance". They urged President Habibie and the Indonesian Government to "listen to the plight and genuine political aspirations of the Papuans", to continue the dialogue with Papuan representatives "with the goal of establishing a just peace in the country" and to allow international representatives and journalists "to monitor the relevant activities of the dialogue".