Yudhohono condemned for failing to stop
23 December 2004
Press Conference Announcement
Today, an unprecedented coalition of church groups, non-government organizations, tribal councils, women and student groups held a Press Conference in Jayapura, the capital of Indonesia's Papua province at 10.00am local time, (12.00 Eastern Standard Time) to condemn Indonesian President Yudhoyono for failing to stop the on-going military operation in the highlands area of Puncak Jaya, West Papua.
The Press Conference today announced: the Christmas visit of President Yudhoyono to West Papua will not proceed. "In such a situation of grave humanitarian crisis, with thousands of our people suffering and at serious risk, SBY's visit for Christmas is like him coming to dance on our graves", said Rev. Socrates Sofyan Yoman, President of the Papuan Baptist Church.
Despite appeals from the West Papuan people to stop the military operation, through demonstrations, recommendations from the Papuan Parliament and press statements, there is no sign the government has made any move to stop the operation. Mr Yudhoyono is scheduled to visit West Papua on the 26th of December to celebrate Christmas.
On December 21st the coalition made an appeal to the international community to urge their governments to press the Indonesian government over the Puncak Jaya operation.
The situation in Puncak Jaya is deteriorating.
More than 6000 highland tribal people have been displaced in the military operation The deaths of 23 civilians from starvation and exposure, mainly children and babies, have been verified in early December. Crops, livestock, homes, churches and clinics have been destroyed. The area remains closed to church officials, medical staff, aid workers, independent observers and the media. No independent investigation has been conducted. No relief has been delivered - the refugees remain without help, shelter and food.