Linda Mottram, Canberra — Australia’s foreign minister Stephen Smith has reiterated Canberra’s support for Indonesia’s sovereignty over Papua.
Activists have used the visit of Indonesia’s president to Australia this week, to call on Canberra to raise alleged human rights abuses in the region.
They say economic benefits from mining have not gone to local communities and they have suffered during the fighting between the Indonesian military and Papuan separatists.
Mr Smith says Australia’s formal recognition of Indonesia’s sovereignty over Papua and West Papua, under the Lombok Treaty, has been a positive step.
“What we saw the president do, and his government do, was say we can make improvements in Papua and West Papua, we can have sensible autonomy for various decision-making and we can look to improvements in economic and social conditions, including the way in which people are treatment so far as their right to express a view is concerned. So we think Indonesia has made progress on that front.”