Raising Free Papua Movement flag is a crime: House

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The hoisting of a separatist Free Papua Movement flag at the Indonesian Consulate General in Melbourne on Friday was a crime that had to be investigated by the Australian police.

"The raising of the Free Papuan flag at the Indonesian Consulate General in Melbourne is a crime. The Australian police have to arrest them," Charles of Commission I of the House of Representatives (DPR) said here on Sunday.

Charles said that the Australian police should investigate the intruders who entered illegally the Indonesian Consulate General and flew the Papuan flag.

He said a diplomatic representative covers an extraterritorial region which is part of the sovereignty of the country it is representing.

Therefore, he said, the Indonesian Consulate General in Melbourne is classified as Indonesias sovereign region which should be protected and based on the international law.

"Therefore, as a host country, the Australian government has the obligation to protect all Indonesian diplomatic properties," the lawmaker said.

He said Australia is an important trade partner of Indonesia, notably in the trade, tourism and the fight against terrorism.

Therefore, all sides must maintain the nations sovereignty, self-dignity and respect for the interest of the nation.

"I see there is an attempt to provoke the Indonesia-Australia relation in the run up to the visit of President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) to Australia," he said.

Charles said that Australia must show its seriousness to process the crime because it has the potential to disturb the relations between Indonesia and Australia.

The Indonesian government has earlier strongly criticized the criminal act done by separatist Free Papua Movement members who intruded into the premise of the Indonesian Consulate General and flew the separatist movements flag on Friday (Jan.6).

Spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Arrmanatha Nasir, through a press statement here on Saturday, said the government had sent a protest to the Australian government, and demanded that the perpetrators be arrested and punished strictly according to law.(*)