West Papua

West Papua independence leader Benny Wenda has launched an urgent appeal to help those affected by Cyclone Pam which has caused much loss of life and destruction throughout many Pacific nations.

“I urgently need help for my Brothers and Sisters in the Pacific particularly in Vanuatu and other islands who have lost everything due to the cyclone disaster we have all seen on the TV news," Wenda, the Spokesperson for the United Liberation Movement of West Papua, said.

On February 4 a coalition uniting the resistance of Indonesian-occupied West Papua submitted an application to join the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG).

Blue King Brown (pictured) have are back on tour in January to promote their new album Born Free and just generally to spread the love with their fans.

The album, which was released in November, is a cutting-edge roots selection of tracks centred around the message of internationalism and the people of the world coming together to support social justice.

Australian urban roots and reggae band Blue King Brown have joined musicians, artists and writers using their artistic talents to expose the political fraud and brutal genocide that the Indonesian government has committed against the West Papuan people.

Thomas Dandois and Valentine Bourrat, two French journalists arrested by Indonesian authorities on August 6 while reporting on West Papua's independence movement, will face trial on October 20, AFP reported on October 14.

Despite a petition signed by more than 8800 people, the journalists will go on trial in a local court of West Papua for “abusive use of entry visas”.

The Australia West Papua Association (AWPA) has written to Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop over the banning of rallies in West Papua that had been called for October 13.

The purpose of the rallies was to call on the Indonesian government to free the two French journalists Valentine Bourrat and Thomas Dandois who were arrested on the 6th of August in Wamena and remain detained in Jayapura. They could face up to five years in prison.

Indonesian authorities are pushing for two French journalists arrested in West Papua to face trial and up to 20 years jail.

Valentine Bourrat and Thomas Dandois, journalists working for French media company Arte TV, were in West Papua filming a documentary about human rights. They were arrested in Wamena on August 6. Indigenous leader Areki Wanimbo, who was interviewed by them, was also arrested.

“The rising sea levels caused by global warming threaten the very existence of some of our neighbours,” Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama told the Pacific Island Development Forum (PIDF).

“Kiribati, Tuvalu and the Marshall Islands ― and are already swamping the coastal areas of many Pacific nations, including Fiji.”

The first Free West Papua campaign office in Australia was opened in April in Perth, signalling the growing international campaign for West Papuan self-determination. West Papua has been occupied by Indonesia since the 1960s, despite an ongoing struggle for independence.

Benny Wenda, a leader of Free West Papua living in exile, said he hoped the Australian government would withstand pressure from Indonesia over the office opening.

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.

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