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Brisbane bishop meets West Papua human rights advocate

Brisbane auxiliary Bishop Joseph Oudeman has met with visiting prominent West Papuan human rights advocate John Rumbiak at the office of the Archdiocesan Catholic Justice and Peace Commission.

Mr Rumbiak (pictured centre) spoke with Bishop Oudeman (left) and Commission Executive Officer Peter Arndt (right) about the enormous difficulties faced by Papuans as a result of Indonesian government and military policies and practices

Mr Rumbiak discussed efforts by the Justice and Peace Commission in Jayapura to challenge human rights abuses in the territory.

He also talked about the development of a fledgling ecumenical group addressing justice issues.

He also made Bishop Oudeman aware of inadequate education services and growing health problems in West Papua and discussed possibilities for assistance from the Australian Church.

A Commission media release said Bishop Oudeman is actively interested in what is occurring in West Papua and has discussed the situation with his fellow bishops in the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference. He expressed an interest in developing further contact with the Church in West Papua.

The Commission is welcoming inquiries from parishes and groups wanting more information and opportunities for action in support of the people of West Papua.

Mr Rumbiak fled West Papua as a result of death threats and now lives in New York. He has been in Australia to seek support for his human rights advocacy from politicians, churches and community organisations.

Brisbane Bishop Meets West Papuan Human Rights Advocate (Catholic Justice and Peace Commission, Archdiocese of Brisbane 2/8/04)

Catholic Justice and Peace Commission | West Papua Support Site
Bishop Oudeman Oudeman
Interview with John Rumbiak (
John Rumbiak: 'We've lived here thousands of years' (Inside Indonesia)
Australia West Papua Association, Brisbane - Catholic Diocese of Jayapura Human Rights Resource
Franciscans request Jakarta to halt Papua paramilitary training (CathNews 7/4/03)

3 Aug 2004