Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Media release -Two councils in Sydney will raise the West Papuan flag on their town Halls for 1st December

The Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)

Media release 30 November 2011

Two councils in Sydney will raise the West Papuan flag on their town Halls for 1st December

In a show of solidarity with the West Papuan people, Leichhardt and Marrickville councils will raise the West Papuan national flag, The Morning Star on their town halls in Sydney on the 1st December. AWPA supporters and West Papuan representatives will also be in attendance.

Joe Collins of AWPA said "its now 50 years since the Morning Star was first flown and the West Papuan people are still struggling for their self determination. The outlawing of the raising of a flag is in direct contravention of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) (which Indonesia signed in 2006)". Article 19.2 states

2. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.

AWPA is concerned that the Indonesian security forces will crack down on rallies planned in West Papua for this special day in West Papuan history.

There are reports that the authorities are increasing security in Papua amid rumors of unrest ahead of events scheduled for the 50th anniversary of the raising of the flag in 1961.

Residents have also reported receiving fear-mongering text messages warning of possible unrest or violence on the 1st. Extra troops have been brought in to help with security.

Extract from an Antara news report

"The national police plan to send a company of Mobile Brigade personnel from North Sulawesi to help ensure security in the region. "We are ready to send a company of Mobile Brigade personnel from North Sulawesi to help security maintenance in Jayapura," National Police spokesman Inspector General Saud Usman Nasution said after attending the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the police and the BPKP (government auditing agency). He said some 800 personnel were now still on duty in Papua. The number did not include security personnel stationed at PT Freeport Indonesia numbering 888. "Besides them there are still 300 plus 200 additional personnel to help organic units there," he said."

In the Jakarta Post

National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Saud Usman Nasution said 1,688 officers had been dispatched to key locations in Papua and would be supported by an additional 400 Mobile Brigade special operations unit officers temporarily assigned to the province.

AWPA has written to Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd concerning West Papua national Flag Day. AWPA has asked the Foreign Minister to use his good offices with the Indonesian Government asking that it controls its security forces in West Papua, urging that the security forces should be kept in their barracks during any West Papuan celebrations on the 1st December as a way of avoiding possible bloodshed. AWPA also urged the foreign minister to ask the Indonesian Government to allow full and free access of journalists to Papua and to send Australian embassy staff to monitor and observe events on December 1".

Two of the representatives elected by the Papua Peace Conference held from 5-7 July 2011 will be accompanying the Mayor of Leichhardt in the raising of the Morning Star Flag to mark its 50th anniversary. Three of the 5 negotiators were in Australia to have meeting with Academics and Civil Society groups on the current situation in West Papua.

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