Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)
Media release 27 October 2014
AWPA welcomes the release of the two French journalists
The Australia West Papua Association (AWPA ) welcomes the release of the two French journalists Valentine Bourrat and Thomas Dandois who were arrested on the 6th of August in Wamena. They are to be released today, the 27 October.
A lot of attention was focused on their case during their time in detention, by the media and local and international NGOs. Numerous rallies were held by solidarity groups calling for their release, in West Papua and internationally. The media organisation Reporters Without Borders also launched a petition calling for their release.
Joe Collins of AWPA said, "it is hoped that the media will continue to focus on the issue of West Papua. For all the talk about Indonesian being a democracy, West Papuans are still arrested for taking part in peaceful rallies and there are least 74 political prisoners in Papuan jails".
The Indonesian President, Jokowi who visited West Papua twice in the lead up to the election promised to open West Papua to foreign journalists and non-government organisations if he won the election. "Why not? It's safe here in Papua," he was quoted as saying. "There's nothing to hide." Hopefully he will keep his promise.