Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)
PO Box 28, Spit Junction, NSW 2088
Media release 4 July 2015
17 years since the Biak Massacre- West Papuan people still oppressed
The West Papuan flag, The Morning Star was raised on the 2 July in 1998 on top of a water tower near the harbour in Biak town. Up to seventy-five people gathered beneath it singing songs and holding traditional dances. As the rally continued many more people in the area joined in with numbers reaching up to 500 people.
On the 6 July the Indonesian security forces attacked the demonstrators massacreing scores of people. The victims, included women and children who had gathered for a peaceful rally. They were killed at the base of the water tower. Other Papuans were rounded up and later taken out to sea where they were thrown off naval ships and drowned. No security force personal were ever charged over the killings.
One of the most well known political prisoners Filep Karma was involved in organising the rally. He was wounded in both legs and sentenced to 6 years in prison. He was released two years later when Wahid became president in 2000. However, in 2004 he was again arrested for raising the West Papuan flag at a peaceful rally and was sentenced to 15 years in jail for treason.
Joe Collins of AWPA said , “it is tragic that 17 years after the Biak massacre West Papuans are still being killed, arrested and jailed for peacefully protesting about the injustice they suffer under Indonesian rule. We keep hearing how Indonesia is now a democracy , yet during May, the security forces cracked down on a number of peaceful rallies called by civil society organisations in West Papua with over 400 peaceful demonstrators arrested and many were beaten.
And on the 3 July 2015 in Fak- Fak 40 people were arrested simply because they held a thanksgiving service because West Papua had achieved observer status at the MSG.
The Free West Papua Campaign Sydney held a vigil to Commemorate the Biak Massacre on Friday 3 July.