National liberation

Campaigners for gay, lesbian and transgender rights have urged a boycott of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv in May.

Free West Papua campaigners rallied in several cities on February 12.

News and analysis on Catalonia's struggle for self-determination from Green Left Weekly's European bureau.

Leyla Guven, a member of Turkey’s parliament for the left-wing, Kurdish-led People’s Democratic party (HDP), launched an indefinite hunger strike on November 7 from Amed Prison, where she was held jailed by Turkey’s regime. Her demand is for an end to the isolation of jailed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan.

Jailed by Turkey since 1999, Ocalan is the recognised leader of the Kurdish liberation movement. Since 2011, his lawyers have been unable to met with him.

On February 12, the trial of 12 Catalan politicians and social movement leaders involved in the October 1, 2017 independence referendum is set to begin in the Spanish Supreme Court.

The leaders face sanctions as harsh as 25 year’s jail for their alleged offences — rebellion, sedition and embezzlement of public funds.

The 45th Friday of the Great March of Return took place on February 1. Each Friday since March 30 last year, Gazans have defied Israeli snipers — who have shot unarmed protesters, journalists and medics — to demand their right to return to their now Israeli-occupied lands.

The United Nations Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OCHA-OPT) said there have been more than 26,000 Palestinian injuries since the Great March began. Israeli injuries stand at 23.

On January 25, Benny Wenda, chairperson of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), handed a petition signed by 1.8 million West Papuans to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet. The petition called for the United Nations to “put West Papua back on the Decolonisation Committee agenda and ensure our right to self‐determination denied to us in 1969 is respected by holding an Internationally Supervised Vote”.

The petition handover was facilitated by the government of the South Pacific island state of Vanuatu.

Update: Since this interveiw was published by Democracy Now!. President Trump has recognized Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó as interim president, calling democratically elected President Maduro “illegitimate.” In response, Venezuela has cut diplomatic ties with the U.S., giving diplomats 72 hours to leave the country.

Rex Rumakiek

Rex Rumakiek, a veteran campaigner for independence for his homeland of West Papua, lives in political exile in Australia. He serves as secretary of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP). On the eve of West Papua Flag Day, an annual commemoration of the declaration of independence by the Free Papua Movement on December 1, 1961, Rumakiek was part of a group that raised the Morning Star flag over Leichhardt Town Hall in Sydney.

 In an exclusive broadcast, US-based independent news outlet Democracy Now! broke the media blockade and visited the occupied Western Sahara in the northwest of Africa to document the decades-long Sahrawi struggle for freedom and occupying power Morocco’s violent crackdown.

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