West Papua

Many see Australia as a small power dependent on British and then US power for protection, but it is important to note that Australia has its own imperialist agenda it pushes the Pacific region.

From the late 19th century to today, Australia's ruling class has been finding ways of extending its influence on nearby countries. It has even succeeded, if only temporarily, in gaining colonial possessions.

This began even before federation in 1901, as the new capitalist class, having accumulated capital from the gold rushes in the mid-19th century, was looking for outlets for investment.

The West Papuan independence movement's hopes of of gaining a foothold in the international community were set back when foreign minsters visiting West Papua pledged non-interference with Indonesia.

Last June, the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Leaders Summit met in Noumea, New Caledonia, and discussed a membership application from the West Papua National Council for Liberation (WPNCL). The summit postponed the decision until a ministerial delegation visited West Papua to determine the legitimacy of the group and to assess the situation in the occupied country.

Hundreds of people have been arrested and some killed as Indonesian authorities crack down on events commemorating the declaration of West Papua's independence.

On December 1, West Papuans mark the first raising of the Morning Star flag, a symbol of West Papuan independence. On that day in 1961, the flag was raised by the New Guinea Council, the parliament in the then-Dutch colony.

Soon after the ceremony, Indonesia invaded West Papua, claiming it was part of its campaign to liberate the Dutch colonies of the East Indies.

Filep Karma is a 54-year-old West Papuan independence activist and long-term political prisoner. He is in jail for his non-violent political activities in the struggle for West Papuan self-determination.

In 2004, Karma organised a Morning Star flag-raising ceremony to celebrate the anniversary of the Papuan declaration of independence from Dutch rule in 1961.

A recent report details genocide against the indigenous people of West Papua carried out by the Indonesian government, which has occupied the territory since the 1960s.

The report, “A slow-motion genocide: Indonesian rule in West Papua”, was written by Dr Jim Elmslie and Dr Camellia Webb-Gannon, both visiting scholars at the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at Sydney University. It was published in the Griffith Journal of Law and Human Dignity.

I recently had the misfortune of being granted an audience with Prime Minister Tony Abbott, and was unlucky enough to conduct an interview with him. I include the transcript below.

* * *

Well, thank you very much, prime minister, for agreeing to this interview.

Well, I am always very happy to be interviewed by my good friends at the Daily Telegraph.

Yes...

You’ve moved offices I see. Nice Che Guevara poster!

Yes... Can I get you something to drink? I’m having a beer.

You don’t have any Bollinger do you?

Protesters gathered outside the immigration department CBD offices on October 18 to call on the Australian government to allow seven West Papuan asylum seekers to seek protection in Australia.

The seven West Papuans arrived in Australia’s Torres Strait on September 24. They fled West Papua, fearing reprisal for involvement with a Freedom Flotilla from Australia.

Three West Papuan activists scaled the walls of the Australian consulate in Bali on October 6, during the APEC meeting on the island, to seek refuge and demand that foreigners be allowed to freely enter West Papua.

The Australian government, however, took the opportunity to reaffirm its long-standing support for Indonesia's occupation of West Papua.


West Papuans and supporters took part in a Freedom Flotilla earlier this month to highlight the fight for a free West Papua

Sydney’s Refugee Action Coalition released the statement below on October 12.

Read More:
West Papua: Indonesia uses soldier deaths to escalate conflict
Australian gov't backs Indonesian atrocities

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A group of West Papuan asylum seekers arrived in Australia on September 24, defying the Australian government and potentially raising already high tensions between Australia and Indonesia over asylum seekers.

The group of West Papuans includes six adults and a child. It has been reported the group had some connection to the West Papua Freedom flotilla, in which supporters of freedom for West Papua tried to sail to the Indonesian-occupied territory. The flotilla sparked by Indonesian authorities on its West Papuan organisers.

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