Free West Papua Campaign Press Release 25th March 2015
Attention All Global Media – Benny Wenda in Papua New Guinea
Benny Wenda a West Papua independence leader and Spokesperson for the United Liberation Movement for West Papua arrived in Papua New Guinea yesterday and was unexpectedly detained by PNG immigration authorities. Today Mr Wenda is still being detained by immigration authorities and is now being threatened with deportation. This is despite a direct order from the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister to allow Mr Wenda to enter PNG.
It appears that Indonesian influence on the PNG immigration authorities is very strong today because the head of the immigration service at the PM airport is refusing to take calls from the PNG Prime Minster and is saying that he is intending to deport Mr. Wenda.
Earlier today Mr Wenda explained to media that he is coming to PNG to thank the Prime Minister for his recent statements of concern for the Melanesian people of West Papua and to brief the PNG Foreign Minister on the latest developments. Mr Wenda said that “the United Liberation Movement for West Papua is seeking to apply for membership of the Melanesian Spearhead Group and I will brief PNG on the progress of the application and on the situation in West Papua generally.”
Mr Wenda said “I have come back to this homeland of our ancestors to thank the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea for showing strong support to stop the suffering of our people in West Papua and I have also come to seek support from my fellow Melanesians to help West Papua. Our campaign for freedom for West Papua is a lawful, peaceful and democratic movement that has stood up in the face of Indonesian genocide of Melanesian people in West Papua. One day we will live in peace and freedom as an independent nation and we will be good neighbours with Indonesia”.
Mr Wenda stated, ”as a Melanesian it is perfectly normal for me to travel to other Melanesian countries to discuss the situation with all my Melanesian Brothers and Sisters. We are all one Melanesian people together.” Mr Wenda said “only last week Indonesian soldiers killed Papuan activists in West Papua who were campaigning and collecting money for Cyclone relief in Vanuatu”. “This was a big mistake by Indonesia”. Mr. Wenda continued, “it was quite disgusting, the Indonesian soldiers even stole the money the Papuans had collected for Vanuatu disaster relief along with other funds. Now Indonesia is exerting undue influence on PNG immigration authorities but I know that PNG is a sovereign country and will not allow this”.
Mr Wenda then said: “I really need the support of my Melanesian brothers and sisters. Please tell everyone about this situation, and support the Prime Minister in his decision to allow me entry into Papua New Guinea and in supporting an end to the suffering of our West Papuan people. I am sure that my fellow Melanesian family will always support our people, our wantoks in West Papua. Thank you very much”
Benny Wenda is available now for media interviews and can be contacted directly on this number: +44 7411 053 953
PNG Immigration: +675 323 1500
Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)
PO Box 28, Spit Junction, NSW 2088
Media release 24 March 2015
Papuan Police Chief says KNPB should be banned
The Papuan Police Chief, Inspector General (Pol) Yotje Mende said that the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) should be banned, as it is not an official organisation, it’s an underground organisation.
Joe Collins of AWPA said "this is an attack on democracy. The KNPB is a peaceful civil society organisation trying to bring the worlds attention to the injustices suffered by the West Papuan people under Indonesian rule. The Papua police Chief should remember that The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 19 states Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers, and article 20 (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association".
Collins also said "Instead of blaming civil society organisations for the trouble in Yahukimo, he would be better of controlling his security forces and allow civil society groups to take part in peaceful events, including raising funds for the victims of Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu and allowing rallies and meetings to go ahead including allowing the West Papuan people their right to discuss self-determination.
The KNPB National spokesperson, Bazooka Logo said he was undaunted by the statement from the Papua Police and KNPB will continue to exist.
Update on situation.
It has been reported that tension is easing in Yahukimo.
However, because of the crackdown by the police on the closing ceremony of the fund raising activities of the KNPB on the 19 March,
Up to three people were shot, one dying later from his injuries.
Approximately 5 people arrested.
It was also reported that up to 1000 people fled taking refuge in houses of worship such as mosques and churches and at the local police station. Many of the refugees (migrants from outside West Papua) took refuge in the police station (while indigenous Papuans fled to the forest and churches . One local reported that people are scared and shops closed.
West Papuan students have also called on the police
To stop arresting and shooting the civilians in Yakuhimo, to withdraw the Brimob unit from Yahukimo and release those arrested. They are also calling for human rights organisations to investigate the incidents in Yahukimo.
Students Yakuhimo after the press conference. Photo: Heng / MS
There’s an uneasy calm in Yahukimo regency of Indonesia’s Papua province following an incident at a West Papuan fundraising event which left a person dead.
Last week’s event in Dekai, aimed at at raising funds for the West Papuan bid to join the Melanesian Spearhead Group, lapsed into chaos when police forces started forcibly breaking up the crowd.
The crowd became angry, a policeman’s weapon was stolen and in the melee that followed, police fired at the crowd, killing one Papuan and wounding three others.
A local resident, who wishes for his name not to be used, says police continue to search for those who resisted police.
"Here in Yakuhimo, police have been chasing local people. There were three local people who got shot by police. Two days ago the situation was tense, but now the situation has begun to improve. Three people were shot by police, one has died."
Meanwhile, Tabloid Jubi reports that the West Papua National Committee, or KNPB, which organised the fundraiser, had received permission from authorities to hold the event.
However the KNPB says the police were well-informed of the event and that organisers were about to close the fundraiser when police opened fire.
The KNPB has called on the Papua Police force to show responsibility for their brutal and inhumane conduct in Yahukimo.
Meanwhile, it’s understood at least one member of the KNPB was arrested.
Police say the missing weapon has been retrieved.
West Papua Return…A video by Izzy Brown:
"In 2013 student activist Maria returned to her homeland
West Papua after several years living in Melbourne.
I travelled with her to meet her family and find out how she and other West Papuans saw the current situation living under the Indonesian occupation. This is a recording of some of the strong amazing women of West Papua we met."
‘Papua Itu Kita’ Movement Launches Campaign on Military Violence in Papua
The public discussion on “Military and Impunity: A Cause Behind The Worse Papuan Women’s Life” – Jubi
Jakarta, Jubi – Indonesians remain unaware of violence towards Papuan people since 1963 by the Indonesian Military wasn’t aware by Indonesian citizens at other regions. The only news Indonesians in other parts of the country hear on Papua is related to PT. Freeport and armed conflicts. Therefore a campaign is needed to spread awareness about rights violations, an activist said.
“We should promote it to avoid bias. ‘Papua Itu Kita’ becomes a medium to promote awareness about issues in Papua,” Zely Arian from ‘Papua Itu Kita’ Movement said in the public discussion on “Military and Impunity: A Cause Behind The Worse Papuan Women’s Life” held in LBH Jakarta Office last week.
A resource person Sandra Mambrasar represented Elsham Papua said actually State’s violence against Papuan Women had been occurred before Papua becoming part of Republic of Indonesia through the people’s vote in 1969. Based on research, she said Elsham Papua have evidence about Papuan women at Bird Head region had been physically tortured in 1963. “Some had permanent disability,” she said during her presentation on violence against women in Papua.
Mambrasar said this situation is still happened until now. Papuan women are still experiencing the physical, sexual and psychological abuses as well as discrimination. A general abused pattern is stigmatization in which their husbands or family members who suspected rebels were terrorized, arrested and tortured. And it was impacted women.
“If their husband or family members were stigmatized involving with the rebel group, they automatically wouldn’t have any help from others, for example to be listed in the rice for poor program although the village apparatus was their clan,” she cited a case occurred in Biak Barat.
Meanwhile, the Monitoring and Investigation Coordinator on Human Right Violation Yones Douw from Justice and Peace Department of Papuan Evangelist Church said the local church’s assistance wasn’t enough to help the victims who continually growing that affect the Papuan women and children.
“A woman whose husband was shot will experience the physiological pressure facing the reality that her children have lost their father. Papuan women are still crying until today. I hope in the future no women would cry in this land,” he said.
According to The Jakarta Post Editor in Chief Arti Nurbaiti who as responder, Papuan issues are difficult getting attention from national media because of many reasons including the technical reason to value of issue occurred in Papua.
“It was like the military violence occurred in the 3rd Papua Congress in which military shot the civilians, that incident must be covered in the national media with the thought why this incident could be happened in this big democracy country?” she said.(Mawel Benny/rom)
Methodist Church supports West Papua
Saturday, March 14, 2015
SUPPORT for the indigenous people of West Papua continues to gather momentum.
On Thursday, about 50 Methodist Church heads of divisions signed the solidarity movement for West Papua petition forms at Suva’s Centenary Church in support of the call for the freedom of the natives of West Papua.
This petition drive headed by the Ecumenical Centre for Research, Education and Advocacy would be handed to Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama at the end of April.
"There is a united umbrella body now, the Fiji’s Solidarity Movement for West Papua, and the church does not enter into anything lightly. We have been moving to this for a number of years now, this was back in 2013 when our relationship with West Papua started," church secretary for communications Reverend James Bhagwan said.
"It is not just lip service we are doing. We are committed to the West Papua issue and we kindly requested our church leaders to show their support to the issue.
"We took them through a presentation before they signed the petitions. We will hope to send it out to the divisions if possible and in issues like this, we make sure the church moves together and we do everything together."