Solidarity for West Papua on 1 December 2006
30 November 2006
This alert has four sections:
Since 1963 West Papua has been occupied by the Indonesian armed forces. For the past forty-three years, the people of West Papua have been subjected to gross human rights violations including rape, torture, cultural genocide, murder and massacre - more than 100,000 West Papuans have been killed. More than 15,000 West Papuans are currently living in camps in Papua New Guinea; and others are forced to live in exile around the world because it is not safe for them to go home.
Multi-national corporations in cahoots with the Indonesian authorities have exploited West Papua's natural resources to an extraordinary degree. This has caused massive social dislocation, devastation of rain forests, and pollution of streams and rivers on which the local people depend for their survival.
There have been repeated ongoing calls from West Papuan leaders for dialogue to turn West Papua into a 'land of peace', but these have been ignored by the Indonesian authorities. The number of Indonesian troops in West Papua continues to increase; plans announced in 2005 to deploy an additional 20,000 combat-ready troops to West Papua will take the total up to around 50,000 - one soldier for every 44 civilians.
As well as the direct violent repression by Indonesian armed forces, they are creating armed militias, similar to what they did in East Timor.
1 December is the anniversary of the 1961 West Papuan Declaration of Independence from Dutch colonial rule and is observed by people in West Papua and by solidarity groups around the world.
In West Papua people mark the day in a variety of ways, including raising the 'Morning Star' (the West Papuan flag) - in previous years the Indonesian military and police have responded with increased violent oppression around this day, arresting and killing those they perceive as pro-independence activists.
On 1 December 2004, among the West Papuans arrested were Filep Karma and Yusak Pakage who organised peaceful celebrations and raised the Morning Star flag in Jayapura. On 26 May 2005, an Indonesian court sentenced Philip to fifteen years imprisonment and Yusak to ten years.
More information about West Papua, and what has happened on Independence Day in previous years, is available on the 'West Papua: the forgotten Pacific country' web page.
You are invited to add your voice to those of people all around the world who are calling for justice, peace and self-determination for the people of West Papua; an ongoing initiative that was launched on 1 December 2004.
If you would like your message included on the 'Messages of solidarity' web page please send your name, address*, occupation / position and organisation (optional), and message to Peace Movement Aotearoa [* only the town / city part of your address will be put on the web page, not your full address.]
If you can help distribute 'Messages of solidarity' forms from stalls, or in newsletters or other mail outs, you can either follow the link on the web page to the printable form, or email Peace Movement Aotearoa with your postal address and a note saying how many forms you require, or if you would prefer us to send you the artwork so you can copy the form as needed. Thank you.
* Auckland - 12 noon
December 1 marks the 45th anniversary of the date on which the newly formed West New Guinea Council voted to rename their territory West Papua and affirmed their own flag and national anthem. At that time the Dutch colonial power was preparing the territory for independence. Tragically, the people of West Papua were then denied their promised right to self-determination . They have now endured repressive Indonesian military control for more than 4 decades. More than 100,000 people have died in the course of a conflict which has seen West Papua become a closed-off, poverty-stricken and fearful place. In West Papua it is illegal to raise the Morning Star flag, and those who do so risk lengthy prison terms. Join us to raise the flag in Queen Elizabeth Square on Friday December 1 at 12 noon in Downtown Square, corner Customs and Queen Streets, Auckland City. The demonstration will conclude with a march to the offices of the NZ Super Fund which invests in the Freeport McMoran Mine - heedless of its that company's devastating environmental and human rights record. Organised by the Indonesia Human Rights Committee, for more information contact tel (09) 815 9000 or email.
* Wellington - 1pm
- Gathering in solidarity with the people of West Papua - join us to fly the 'Morning Star' flag, with the opportunity to write a personal message in support of justice, peace and self-determination for West Papua if you wish; 1pm in parliament grounds. Organised by Peace Movement Aotearoa, for more information contact tel (04) 382 8129 or email.