Papuans occupy Australian Bali consulate ahead of APEC

Papuans occupy Australian Bali consulate ahead of APEC

DENPASAR, Indonesia - Three Papuan activists occupied the Australian consulate in Indonesia's Bali overnight, calling for Jakarta to be pressured on human rights before the APEC summit opens on the island, officials said Sunday.

Markus Jerewon, Yuvensius Goo and Rofinus Yanggam scaled the mission's walls to get inside to demand Australia, the United States and Japan pressure Indonesia over rights abuses in the restive Papua region.

"It was not difficult getting in. We climbed a tree next to a wall and then jumped in," Yanggam told AFP by phone.

"The APEC summit is a golden opportunity for us to let the world know what's going on in Papua. We want the leaders from these countries to pressure Indonesia to release Papuan political prisoners."

Yanggam also called for the international media to be allowed free access to Papua, where militants have for decades fought a low-level insurgency on behalf of the mostly ethnic Melanesian population there.

Jakarta keeps a tight grip on Papua and foreign journalists are normally banned from reporting in the region.

"We came in peace. We are not troublemakers," he added.

Yanggam said the trio left the consulate in the Balinese capital Denpasar voluntarily, and were not questioned by police or arrested.

Bali police said they have "no information" on the case, its spokesman Hariadi told AFP.

"The Australian consulate have not reported the matter to us. We are still investigating the case," he said.

Indonesian security forces are regularly accused of abusing Papuan villagers and torturing political activists in Papua.

Indonesia took over the region from former colonial power the Netherlands in 1963, but denies allegations of systematic human rights abuses.

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