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Ahead of APEC meet, three Papuans briefly occupy Australian Consulate

AFP-JIJI

Three Papuan activists occupied the Australian Consulate on the Indonesian resort island of Bali overnight Saturday, calling for Jakarta to be pressured on human rights before the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (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 said 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.