Thursday, July 7, 2016

1) NZ groups launch petition to support West Papua

2) Gallery: Biak isn’t forgotten – protesters raise Morning Star flag in Sydney

3) Indonesia given deadline to end Papua violations

4) 18 years since the Biak massacre, but suffering still ongoing


1) NZ groups launch petition to support West Papua

3:45 pm today
West Papua solidarity groups in New Zealand have launched a petition calling for the New Zealand government to speak out about human rights in the Indonesian region.
Green MPs have been among protestors outside the Indonesian Embassy in Wellington today marking the death of a teenager Owen Pekei last week.
The high school student was displaying the outlawed West Papuan independence flag when he was killed, allegedly by security forces.
A spokesperson for the group Catherine Delahunty says 3000 people have been arrested since May so far this year at rallies.
The groups say the situation is at breaking point with young people being arrested for nothing more than peacefully marching or carrying a placard.
The groups are hoping to get thousands of signatures on the parliamentary petition before the end of August calling for fundamental UN guaranteed freedoms to be respected in West Papua.
"We cannot be silent about these abuses in our backyard, especially with the Prime Minister's imminent trip to Indonesia," said Ms Delahunty.

New Zealand Greens MP Catherine Delahunty is pushing for an independent fact-finding mission to West Papua. Photo: RNZI
2) Gallery: Biak isn’t forgotten – protesters raise Morning Star flag in Sydney

On July 6 each year people gather to raise the Morning Star flag and to remember those who died in West Papua’s Biak Massacre in 1998. Indonesian troops murdered more than 150 West Papuan villagers on Biak Island, 1200km north of Australia. These pictures are from Sydney yesterday where the flag was raised outside the Indonesian Consulate, Maroubra, and flowers were handed out by Australia West Papua Association members to represent the victims whose lives were brutally cut short.

3) Indonesia given deadline to end Papua violations

11:57 am today
Indonesia has been given a 2017 deadline to address press freedom violations in its Papua province.

The call from the chair of the regional media watchdog Pacific Freedom Forum came as Indonesia was earmarked to host the International Press Freedom Day event in May next year.
Speaking from Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea Titi Gabi said Jakarta must end abuses against local media in Papua and West Papua and ensure open access for foreign media to the restive Melanesian provinces.
In May and June this year Indonesian security forces arrested more than 2,500 protesters there after they called for an independence referendum and an international investigation into numerous human rights abuses.
Titi Gabi said Indonesia needed to rein in security forces persecuting citizens exercising their rights to freedom of expression before it can play host to the rest of the world on Press Freedom Day next year.
The PFF chair also added her organisation's support for a growing demand for global intervention in Papua and West Papua, as declared in recent statements from the United Nations, the Melanesian Spearhead Group, the European Union, TAPOL and ICP, the International Coalition for Papua.
In 2015 two New Zealand media organisations, including RNZ International, were given access to Papua.

3) 18 years since the Biak massacre, but suffering still ongoing


OPINION: Contributed by the Australian West Papua Association
On the 2 July 1998, the West Papuan Morning Star flag was raised on top of a water tower near the harbour in Biak.
Up to 75 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 July 6 the Indonesian security forces attacked the demonstrators, massacring scores of people.
The victims included women and children who had gathered for the peaceful gathering. 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.
Eighteen years later, the West Papuan people continue to suffer human rights abuses
Since the beginning of May more than 3000 West Papuans have been arrested in peaceful rallies throughout West Papua.
Although the majority of activists were eventually released, during the arrests on the May 2 in Jayapura a large number of activists were taken to the mobile brigade (BRIMOB) headquarters and made to remove their shirts and put in a field in the extremely hot midday sun.
Seven activists were also reported to have been tortured.
The tragedy of the Biak massacre reminds us of the ongoing suffering of the West Papuan people and the importance of full membership for them at the MSG.
AWPA urges the Melanesian Spearhead Group leaders to respond compassionately and courageously to the application from the United Liberation Movement of West Papua (ULMWP) by granting them full membership at the MSG summit later this month.

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