No way to reward care shown to our troops

Illustration: Ron Tandberg.
I am aghast at the comment by our new Prime Minister during his visit to Indonesia last week that West Papuans could have ''the best possible life … as part of an indissoluble Indonesia''. Mr Abbott's words reveal how out of touch he is on this issue. Or that he doesn't care. West Papuans who saved the lives of countless Australian soldiers during World War II are daily tortured by Indonesian troops. Yet we have abandoned West Papuans to their fate at the hands of the Indonesian military. This is no way to reward the care and compassion shown to our troops by Papuan people, Mr Abbott.
Paul Arnott, Ringwood East

Indonesian forces have allegedly committed gross human rights violations in West Papua
World has turned a blind eye
The world has turned a blind eye to the tragic situation in West Papua. Regardless of the actual death toll, with claims of up to 500,000 killed since the 1960s, torture, rape and killings continue daily only 250kilometres from our shores. And what crimes are being committed by West Papuans? A wish for independence. And Indonesia's reasons for continuing crimes against humanity? Maintaining its empire and securing mineral riches.
Human Rights Watch is critical of the administration. Similarly, Nobel peace laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu has stated that: ''The people of West Papua have been denied
their basic human rights, including their right to self-determination. Their cry for justice and freedom has fallen largely on deaf ears.'' He added that, in an area similar to Spain in size, only 16UN observers officiated in the ''act of free choice'', when just over 1000 handpicked people were coerced into accepting Indonesian sovereignty. But we must never upset Indonesia, must we?
Ross Ollquist, Hazelwood South
History of torture is real
Amanda Vanstone writes with conviction about the media-savvy refugees caught up in the latest drownings off Indonesia, then later admits we won't really know what happened until we have evidence about who called whom (Comment, 7/10). This, plus her assumption that more open acceptance of asylum seekers would threaten the integrity of Australia, shows a failure to acknowledge the real risks that asylum seekers face if they do end up in Indonesia.
Why does she, like others on both sides of Australian politics, conveniently ignore that only desperate people get on to boats and that the history of abuse, killing, rape and torture endured by West Papuans at the hands of Indonesians is real? If Ms Vanstone were on a leaky boat, I wonder whether she would be equally happy to end up in Java or in Australia - but I forget, she has citizenship of a country that doesn't function as Indonesia does.
George Wills, Mount Dandenong
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