28th September 2019 – (Australia) Veronica Koman, an Australia-based Indonesian human rights lawyer is being pursued by Indonesian government after actively advocated for West Papua dissidents . Meanwhile, Australian government has not ruled out handing over Veronica to the Indonesian police after an Interpol red notice was issued. Veronica is wanted by Indonesian police after she released evidence of police and military-backed violence in West Papua. The move has outraged human rights groups across the world and lambasted by United Nations experts.
With regards to the Interpol Red Notice, Australian Federal Police replied that “Any questions regarding this matter should be directed to Indonesian authorities.” Veronica further responded in a statement that there was “surprisingly wide Indonesian government campaign to pressure me into silence”, including police intimidation of her family in Jakarta and threats to revoke her Indonesian passport and block her bank accounts.
The Interpol “red notice” system is often used and abused by authoritarian governments to seek and arrest wanted persons in pursuit of dissidents or political opponents who have left the country. There are about 58,000 current valid red notices, of which only about 7,000 are public. Article 3 of Interpol’s constitution forbids Interpol from undertaking “any intervention or activities of a political, military, religious or racial character”.
According to SBS NEWS, Human Rights Lawyer Jennifer Robinson told them that Veronica is being targeted by Indonesian authorities over her work for West Papuan activists. “This is a human rights lawyer who has been defending West Papuan dissidents, she is now being prosecuted by Indonesia – that is an outrage. And the Australian government should have nothing to do with it,” Ms Robinson said. She further said that “It would be wrong for Australia to act upon an Interpol notice which has raised international outrage and is in complete breach of Indonesia’s and in fact Australia’s free speech protections.”
Veronica, an eyewitness of the civil unrest in West Papua and other parts of Indonesia, has exposed many photos of police/military violence.
On 18th June 2019, Veronica twitted a picture of herself with pro-democracy activist, Joshua Wong who was arrested and charged on 29th August for participating and inciting riots during the clash at Wan Chai Police Station on 21st June.