West Papua

The report below was compiled by the Free West Papua Campaign on July 8.

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We have received urgent reports from West Papua that between June 30 and July 6, about 150 West Papuan people were arrested, and many of them tortured, by the Indonesian police for peaceful actions in the Papuan province of Nabire.

“We have just received urgent news from West Papua that 200 people have been arrested and 26 tortured by Indonesian police, two days before Indonesia hosts the World Press Freedom Day in Jakarta,” the Free West Papua Campaign said on May 1.

More than 500 people were arrested in West Papua on December 18 during self-determination protests that Free West Papua said were demanding the  United Liberation Movement for West Papua be granted full membership of the Melanesian Spearhead Group.

The statement below was released by socialist groups from around the Asia-Pacific region on December 1 to coincide with protests across Indonesia and elsewhere in solidarity with West Papua’s struggle for freedom.

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We, the undersigned organisations, express our support to the struggle of the people of West Papua for self-determination.

December 1 marks the West Papua’s Independence Day for Papuans when the Morning Star flag was raised in 1961 before annexed by Indonesia. The flag symbolised the aspiration of many Papuans for a Free West Papua.

Papua New Guinea marked its independence from Australia — achieved in 1975 — on September 16. But West Papua, a province on the same island, continues its struggle for self-determination in one of the world’s least publicised and longest-running independence struggles.

West Papuans won their independence from Dutch colonialism in 1963, but the country was invaded by Indonesia and officially annexed in 1969 after a controversial referendum in which just over 1000 people voted.


Benny Wenda addressing public forum in Sydney. May 24.

West Papuan independence leader Benny Wenda has been touring Australia, spreading awareness of the West Papuan struggle for freedom from Indonesian rule.

British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn publicly criticised human rights abuses in Indonesian-occupied West Papua and backed Papuan demands for self-determination, in a May 3 meeting at Britain’s House of Commons.

The meeting was a “historic step on the road to freedom for West Papua”, International Parliamentarians for West Papua (IPWP) said. At the meeting, a new declaration was signed calling for an internationally supervised vote on the independence of West Papua.

Punks For West Papua
Directed by Anthony Brennan
46 minutes
www.punks4westpapua.com

A friend's request to film a punk rock concert and a rushed drive across Sydney to do a last-minute interview with West Papuan independence leader Benny Wenda — without even knowing who the twice Nobel Peace Prize-nominated activist was — was the catalyst for filmmaker Anthony “Ash” Brennan to make his award-winning film Punks For West Papua.

Indonesian police shot two senior high school students in Gorong Gorong, Timika, West Papua on September 28, the Institute for Papuan Advocacy and Human Rights (IPAHR) said the next day.

The IPAHR said 17-year-old Kaleb Bogau was shot in the chest and died on the scene. Efrando Sabarofek, also 17, was shot in the chest and leg and is in a critical condition in the Timika hospital.

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