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 ***
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.
Refuge groups are concerned for the welfare and security of seven West Papuan asylum seekers flown overnight from Horn Island to Port Moresby. The seven who arrived in Boigu Island in the Torres Starit on September 25 are fleeing Indonesian military and police. One West Papuan accused of promoting West Papuan independence and involvement in an independence ceremony on September 12 has been arrested by Indonesia police, while others are being hunted.
The West Papua Freedom Flotilla released this statement on September 25. *** Six West Papuans have fled across the border to Australia after being hunted by Indonesian authorities for taking part in a ceremonial handover of sacred water and ashes from Australian Aboriginal elders. They have been detained by Australian immigration after reaching Boigu Island in Australia on September 24.