Uniya Jesuit Social Justice Centre Uniya
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Media release
Date: 13 July 2004
Contact: Patty Fawkner SGS, Director, on (02) 9356 3888

Uniya releases briefing paper on Indonesia

View on Asia / View on the Pacific briefing series

Sr Patty Fawkner SGS, the Director of Uniya Jesuit Social Justice Centre, today released a new report as part of its View on Asia/View on the Pacific briefing series, which offers background to key security and human rights challenges for the Asia Pacific and poses questions for Australia in its relations in the region.

"Uniya is seeking to sharpen its focus on the region," Sr Fawkner said, "especially the Indonesia-Australia-Timor Leste trilateral relationship. Our aim is to raise awareness and understanding of countries in our region, to research and report on issues through the lens of human rights and social justice.

"This initial report comes at a time when Indonesia's first popular election raises many questions about the future direction of Australia's largest regional neighbour. Indonesia has been embarking on a course of reform towards the rule and law and respect for human rights. It is in Australia's interest to support Indonesia on this course.

"However, the challenges to reform are great. The greatest of these is dismantling the entrenched legacy of militarism which will be a slow and difficult process.

"While Australia and Indonesia are historically and culturally different, we share many common interests. The Bali bombings are a tragic reminder that the security of both our countries will depend upon an Indonesia that is democratic and prosperous and an Australia that is seen as an honest neighbour and not as a self-serving regional sheriff.

"This report, coming in an election year for both Indonesia and Australia, will be of interest to those who wish to learn more about our regional neighbours, and those, within Australia and beyond, who are concerned for human rights and security in the region."

Further reports on Burma and Vietnam are due out soon as part of the View on Asia briefing series. Reports on the situation in the Solomon Islands and the change of government in Nauru will be among the first papers in Uniya's View on the Pacific briefing series. Reports are available for download on Uniya's website: www.uniya.org.


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