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Aust should raise abuse during Papua trip

AAP logoAAP 11/08/2016 Lauren Farrow, AAP Southeast Asia Correspondent

Australia's Attorney-General must raise current and past abuses, including the alleged Biak massacre of 1998, when he travels to Papua with the controversial Indonesian minister Wiranto, Human Rights Watch says.

Wiranto, a former military general accused of human rights abuses in East Timor, will accompany Senator George Brandis to Papua on Thursday where they will meet a number of officials, including the Governor Lukas Enembe and the Chief of Papua Provincial Police.

Andreas Harsono from Human Rights Watch said the visit provides Mr Brandis with a unique opportunity to raise the alleged 1998 massacre of more than 100 people on the Papuan island of Biak.

"I think it is a good thing if the Attorney General is going to go there and ask Wiranto what he is going to do about the ongoing government investigation about Biak massacre plus a trail of other human rights abuses in Papua," Mr Harsono told AAP.

An investigation, which was launched by Wiranto's predecessor Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs, Luhut Pandjaitan into rights abuses in Papua also needs to be a priority.

He also urged him to raise tensions between Papua Governor Enembe and the sultan of Yogyakarta Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono over allegations that recent protests by Papuan students in the Javanese city had been repressed.

"(Mr Brandis) should remind them (Ministers Wiranto and Luhut) that it is a democratic country and people have the right to express their opinion."

Wiranto was promoted to Security Minister during a cabinet reshuffle last month in a shock move that prompted outrage, with Amnesty international saying it showed a "contempt" for human rights.

In 2003 the UN sponsored Special Panels for Serious Crimes of the Dili District Court, Timor-Leste indicted Wiranto for crimes against humanity during East Timor's bloody 1999 vote for independence.

Thursday's visit to Papua comes after Mr Brandis and Wiranto were in talks in Bali on Wednesday during counter-terrorism meets.

"This week's engagements have presented yet another opportunity to build on Australia and Indonesia's already close and productive relationship," Mr Brandis said in a statement on Thursday.

Mr Harsono said it will be interesting to see if Australia allows Wiranto to visit them at a later date.

Justice Minister Michael Keenan said earlier this month that the makeup of the Indonesian cabinet was a matter for their government.

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