Over the weekend of July 4 and 5, West Papuan solidarity activists visited Darwin to work with Aboriginal people to protest and organise against the Australian government’s complicity in atrocities committed by Indonesian forces against independence activists in West Papua.
The weekend included forums, band nights and a smoking ceremony to commemorate the Biak massacre in 1998. On July 6, the participants set up a protest embassy on the lawns near Northern Territory Parliament House.
Police issued the camp with trespass notices almost immediately and it has relocated to the Indonesian Embassy.
Below is a statement participants in the camp released on July 7.
* * *
The world’s only West Papuan Embassy was established yesterday on the lawns of the Northern Territory parliament. This morning it still stands, but it is under threat of eviction.
The embassy is making history, with West Papuan, Larrakia and Arabunna Elders and non-indigneous activists gathering on the grounds outside parliament drawing attention to the ongoing genocide in West Papua by the Indonesian occupiers.
“We’re refusing to leave until a parliamentary representative speaks with us and commits to a plan of action for West Papuan Independence,” said spokesperson Izzy Brown
With a traditional Honai hut erected, a welcome by Larrakia elder June Mills, and the morning star flag flying, the embassy stands as a space where West Papuan culture is celebrated.
“This falls on the anniversary of the Biak Massacre but the killing is ongoing. The Biak Massacre started by a flag raising, by people celebrating their Papuan identity with the Morning Star flag. Men, women and children were slaughtered, put up as an example to anyone who raises a flag of self-determination,” said Larrakia elder June Mills.
Exiled West Papuan Foreign Affairs Minister Jacob Rumbiak said recently the occupation in West Papua has worsened, with Indonesia killing hundreds involved in the student movement.
“We are supporting the United Liberation Movement of West Papua. People in Papua are united in their struggle for independence,” he said.
“We are not going to close our eyes we are not going to close our hearts. We are here to give a voice to the voiceless. Children do not deserve to grow up in a war zone” said Mills.
“The time has come for us to make world peace, West Papuans have the right to live in freedom,” said Arabunna elder Kevin Buzzacott.
The embassy resulted from a three-day forum on the West Papuan struggle in Darwin, which was attended by West Papuan, Larrakia and Arabunna elders and representatives, as well as non-indigenous supporters, including crew members from the West Papuan Freedom Flotilla.
The Freedom Flotilla is set to sail again to draw attention to the destruction and genocide perpetrated by multinational corporations and colonial governments against the West Papuan people. We are targeting shareholder Rio Tinto over the Freeport Grasberg mine.