Monday, 19 July 2010

A reply from our government re. West Papua...

Scroll down to see my original letter.

                                                                            South East Asia Pacific Team
                                                                            King Charles Street
                                                                            SW1A 2AH
                                                                            Tel: 0207 008 2443
                                                                            Fax: 0207 008 2766
Mr Ben King                                             
By email:
Ref: 7328-10
19 July 2010

Dear Mr King,

Thank you for your email of 27 June about West Papua. I am replying as a member
of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s South East Asia Pacific Group
responsible for relations with Indonesia.

The policy of successive governments to support the territorial integrity of Indonesia
and reject claims for independence for the provinces of Papua and West Papua
remains unchanged.

The Indonesian authorities are aware of public and parliamentary concerns at the
human rights situation in the Papuan provinces. Promoting respect for human rights
and good governance as part of Indonesia’s reform process is central to our policies
towards Indonesia. In a meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in June 2010, our
Ambassador in Jakarta, Martin Hatfull, highlighted the need for greater openness
and access to both provinces by NGOs, journalists and diplomats to enable accurate
reporting of events. This message was also delivered by the Foreign and
Commonwealth Office’s Asia Pacific Director when the Indonesian Ambassador
called on him at the Foreign Office on 20 May 2010.

Reports of an increase in violence are concerning and we encourage all sides to
engage in meaningful dialogue and discuss possible solutions to their differences
which are acceptable to all parties as the best way to resolve the on-going conflict.
We welcome the launch of an EU - Indonesia human rights dialogue. The first
dialogue was held on 29 June in Jakarta. This is a positive step forward and
included constructive discussion on a number of areas including rights of women,
children and prisoners, the death penalty and freedom of religion.

We will continue to monitor the situation, raise concerns at both official and
ministerial level, encourage the Indonesian authorities to address these concerns,
and advocate meaningful devolution, appropriate security measures and greater
transparency in Papua.

Yours sincerely

Natalie Atmore
Indonesia Desk
South East Asia Pacific Group

Well, at least it isn't patronising historical revisionism like it was with Meg Munn and the Labour regime.  Yet it's still all bullshit isn't it?  I mean, anyone could have predicted this letters content, just as you can predict a politicians answers to the media... why is that?  I mean, are these people not experts in their fields?  Is it too much that we might learn something new in addressing them?  Of course not.  

The important part missing from this reply is that which deals with the bigger picture, that of morality and philosophy.  No hint of an admission, no hint of regret or even recognition of OUR role in the debacle.  Do they believe it is enough to say, "well, those were past governments, nothing to do with us!"?  Because they are the only ones thinking like that.  To people all over the world, every successive western government that refuses to acknowledge it's immoral actions is another government simply not wanting to appear hypocritical when it comes to their turn at the helm of neo-liberalism.


Andrew said...

Ar well, if we can't get sense out of our political clowns perhaps the people of the Netherlanders can do better?

Ben King said...

Thanks for the link Andrew. As soon as I get to my computer I shall start spreading it about. It truly a sordid and sorry tale.