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.