Andrew Bolt’s recent diatribe (HeraldSun 12/4) supporting Indonesia’s mistreatment of West Papuans flies in the face of clear evidence that serious human rights abuses are occurring there. These abuses have been validated by the Immigration Department when they granted temporary protection visas to 42 of the West Papuans who arrived recently, and by numerous other exiled West Papuans, such as Jacob Rumbiak, who have suffered at the hands of the Indonesians.
Bolt’s intemperate attack on several academics, activists, churchmen, unionists and politicians (Bob Brown in particular) who have voiced concerns about human rights abuses in West Papua is ill informed and quite inappropriate.
Church groups have estimated that over 100,000 people have died under Indonesian rule. According to Amnesty International Australia, "reports include extrajudicial executions, disappearances, torture and ill-treatment and arbitrary detentions in Papua Province, where there is an ongoing struggle for independence from Indonesia."
It is unacceptable that the Howard Government has recently decided to start locking up children behind razor wire again and resurrected the so-called “Pacific solution” for asylum seekers who reach our shores in response to Indonesia’s recent protestations.
Encouraging and supporting democracy Indonesia doesn't preclude us from drawing attention to human rights abuses or giving safe harbour to those who flee from it.
Standing up for human rights is not always easy or politically expedient. It is simply the right thing to do.Bolt's rant