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Many Thanks to the Garifuna International Indigenous Peoples Film Festival

May 29, 2016

Herman Wainggai and the West Papua Action Network would like to thank the Garifuna International Indigenous Peoples Film Festival for showing two films on West Papua.  West Papua – Journey to Freedom by Erin Morris of the Melanesian Canoe Productions and Herman Wainggai: A Hidden Genocide by Sam Gollob and Josh Leong.  The Garifuna Film Festival gives voice to Indigenous Peoples all around the world by creating this opportunity to screen original films, produced, directed and acted in by indigenous people, to the American audiences in Los Angeles.

Genocide is a crime of silence and the Indonesian regime has attempted to keep their human rights violations from the scrutiny of the international community but denying access to West Papua by international aid agencies and journalists.  The Garifuna International Indigenous Peoples Film Festival offers rare and valuable opportunity to tell our story.  For this we are very grateful.

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Sam Gollob received an award for his work on documenting the West Papuan Genocide.  Sam Gollob is a student at McLean High in McLean, Virginia. He is president of his sophomore class and a nationally ranked swimmer. His hobbies include history, photography, comic books, broadcast journalism and filmmaking. Sam was runner up in the VHSL state competition for his documentary geared toward protecting his school’s environment. Sam has worked closely with friend, Josh Leong, on several films since middle school. Their latest venture, “Herman Wainggai: The Hidden Genocide” is their first documentary together. Sam’s interest in human rights is inspired by his late great grandfather, Senator Millard E. Tydings, who was instrumental in helping the people of The Philippines gain their independence in 1935. Sam’s goal is to spread the word about the plight of the indigenous West Papuans to America’s youth.

Josh Leong is an award-winning Asian-American filmmaker based in McLean, Virginia. Leong’s budding career was jumpstarted in 2014 by his first short film success: “Double Time”, of which received a nationwide premiere at the White House. His passion for cinema include many other award winning films, such as his sophomore attempt at a short-form, “Oblivious” – showcased at eight national and international festivals and venues. Dabbling in short documentary, (“My Pit’s The Pit”), as well as comedy (“Kurrency Ekschange”), Josh has been refining his skill set as a director, cinematographer, and editor. With international premieres from Greece to Spain, Leong is extremely fluent in Final Cut Pro, and is currently a freelance videographer producing media content for businesses, organizations, churches, weddings, and social events. “I should ultimately create work that resonates with me. Work that feels honest, authentic, and meaningful to my life experiences.” Josh’s latest project, “When Waters Rise”, is slated for release later in 2016.

For those who could not attend, these films are available on line on YouTube:

West Papua – A Journey to Freedom: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=phrLc5dZGAw

Herman Wainggai: A Hidden Genocide: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZwbMgzej1k4

Press release from legal team for the collision which killed Robert Jitmau

May 29, 2016

http://papuaitukita.net/polisi-segera-selidiki-kasus-penabrakan-robert-jitmau/

Police should investigate the collision which killed Robert Jitmau now.

Press Release

Legal team for the case of Robert Jitmau, killed in a car crash.

Jayapura, 27 May 2016 – On the morning of 20th May 2016, Robert Jitmau
died after being hit by an Inova car bearing a police numberplate
(DS1497 AO) on an entrance to the ring road in Hamedi, near Jayapura.
Before the crash, Robert Jitmau had been picked up from Entrop by Yusup
Sraun and Alpius Jitmau, and then went towards Dok V and afterwards to
the TVRI station in Bhayangkara. From Bhayangkara Robert and his two
friends went to the Hotel Aston where Yusup Sraun got out of the car to
met Krispus Kambuaya at the hotel. The four men then went towards Entrop
and then to the ring road. They used two cars, with Krispus Kambuaya
travelling alone.

Shortly after arriving at the ring road, Robert Jitmau called two
companions, Nehemia Yarinap and Melianus Duwitau, asking them to come
to the ring road. Shortly after 04.00am the two friends arrived at the
Ring Road on motorbike taxis. Robert sat down and chatted to them. The
crash which killed him took place shortly afterwards.

The police have told local media that the crash which killed Robert
Jitmau was completely accidental. They have also stated that they have
questioned witnesses Yusup Sraun, Krispus Kambuaya, Nehemia Yarinap and
Musa Rujatobi, as well as three people believed to be responsible for
the crash: Herep Patay (the owner of the vehicle with police number
plates DS1497 AO), Ronald Edwin Metiaman and Dolfinus Abraham Sefia.
In the police statement to the media the police didn’t mention that:
1. There was a fight between one of Robert’s friends, Nehemia Yarinap,
and someone who got out of the car that crashed into him.
2. The police have not yet questioned another friend, Melianus Duwitau,
who was at the incident location. Melianus Duwitau is still being
treated in the Dian Haarapan Hospital as he was also injured in the crash.
3. Also, the whereabouts of Alpius Jitmau are still unknown, even though
he was a witness who was present when the incident took place.
Unfortunately however, the police have been too fast to draw the
conclusion that Robert Jitmau’s death was a purely accidental traffic
collision, even before all the witnesses to the incident had been
questioned.

The police have been given the authority to unearth the facts, and have
a duty to conduct a full and professional investigation, prioritising
the truth and justice over all other interests.

Because of this, the Legal Team for the Robert Jitmau case are asking
the police to carry out a thorough, full, comprehensive and transparant
investigation of this case before coming to any conclusions about the
collision which killed Robert Jitmau.

West Papua gets international support

May 29, 2016

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/religionandethicsreport/church-fact-finding-mission-a-breakthough-for-west-papuan-strug/7444286

West Papua gets international support

Wednesday 25 May 2016 5:50PM

A few weeks ago, we heard from Catholic nun Susan Connelly who helped lead a church fact-finding mission to the Indonesian province of West Papua. Her report included allegations of widespread torture and harassment by Indonesian police and troops and even a “slow-motion genocide” of indigenous West Papuans.

The West Papuan independence leader Benny Wenda has been in Australia this week meeting supporters and a handful of politicians. Benny Wenda had an almost action-movie style escape from an Indonesian jail and he now lives in exile in Britain.
So why should the churches in particular, care about the fate of his people

IMAGE: ANDREW WEST WITH WEST PAPUAN INDEPENDENCE LEADER BENNY WENDA
AND JOE COLLINS FROM THE AUSTRALIA WEST PAPUA ASSOCIATION,

Supporting Information

Subscribe to The Religion and Ethics Report on iTunes, ABC Radio or your favourite podcasting app.

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http://dailypost.vu/news/papuans-reject-jakarta-statement/article_50dc4e2c-d0fe-5bad-ae5b-9befb0b66716.html
2) Papuans reject Jakarta statement
Posted: Wednesday, May 25, 2016 8:00 am
By Len Garae |
West Papuan Leaders, through the Vanuatu Free West Papua Association in Port Vila, have rejected the Indonesian government’s statement against the Prime Minister of the Solomons, Manasseh Sogavare as a blunt lie.
Jakarta through Antara news agency said it was not true what Prime Minister Sogovare said that the Indonesian government was interested to join the Melanesian Spearhead Group for its own interests “rather than seeking to be involved in dialogue about serious human rights abuses in West Papua”.
Responding to PM Sogavare’s statement, Indonesia’s Director General for Asia Pacific and Africa, Desra Percaya, made it clear that the statement was against the principles of sovereignty and non-interference as included in the agreement for the establishment of MSG in 2007.
Percaya stressed that as the world’s third biggest democracy, Indonesia considers respect for human rights an important principle.
Meanwhile as late as on last Saturday on May 21, West Papua’s social media network sent in shocking pictures of Christian church burning in Lany Jaya Regency, Wamena, in Highlands of West Papua.
If the pictures are not examples of human rights abuses allegedly by Indonesian authorities against West Papuans to worship in their churches, then a totally new phrase has to be invented to define the burning of these places of worship.
The network says these are examples of scores of human rights abuses that continue unabated in West Papua despite an international assurance by Indonesia’s President, Joko Widodo, that the situation on the ground in West Papua was improving.
In the latest development, a new sense of urgency is blowing in the wind with an increasing international pressure for West Papua to be debated by the United Nations, while the spokesman of the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB), Sebby Sambom and Major General Terrianus Satto have spent a week in Port Vila and are boarding a flight out of Port Vila back to their home today.
Both men had also attended the all West Papua Reconciliation Conference in Port Vila which gave birth to the United Liberation Movement of West Papua in 2014.
However this is the first time for them to return on their own.
In an exclusive interview, they described their first such visit as satisfying after holding talks with senior representatives of the Free West Papua Association, Chairman of the Malvatumauri National Council of Chiefs, Chief Seni Mao Tirsupe and the Vanuatu Christian Council.
They wish to thank all Leaders of MSG and their people for their solidarity towards ULMWP.
They leave behind the following points for the Leaders of MSG as they prepare to attend their Summit in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, from May 29 to June 1.
• Indonesia cannot be a part of MSG. Geographically speaking, Indonesians are a different race and do not understand and feel what it means to be Melanesian.
• Call on Fiji and PNG politicians not to be swayed by [alleged] bribery.
• Stop Nick Meset and Albert Yoku from entering MSG member countries as they are [allegedly] paid by Jakarta as tools to lobby in favour of Indonesia. They are now in Fiji in the lead up to the MSG Leaders meeting in Port Moresby.
• West Papuans are dying, Melanesian Governments are urged to act now to help. After 54 years of suffering, West Papuans beg to be freed to enjoy their God-given freedom the way other Melanesian countries enjoy theirs.
• We plead for UN intervention as soon as possible as its former leaders were partly responsible for the very start of our suffering by recognizing Indonesia’s so called ‘act of free choice’ in 1961.
• We call on MSG to provide full membership of West Papua to its sub regional organisation because we are part of Melanesia through the Melanesian race.
• May God work through our Melanesian Leaders to grant West Papua full membership to MSG. Approximately 500,000 West Papua Melanesians have died for the same freedom that you our wantoks are enjoying, perhaps without realizing that for us West Papuans, it is the most valuable commodity that now our young people are dying for.
Meanwhile, yesterday the Jakarta Post, Indonesia’s daily English language newspaper reported that to resolve human rights cases in Papua, the biggest challenge for the government comes from the police and military, activists say, citing that both institutions are alleged to have been involved as perpetrators.
“It has been a major problem for us, because the state — especially the police and the military — is [allegedly] involved in those cases,” said Feri Kusuma, the impunity monitoring division head of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence ( Kontras), on Monday.
According to a report released by Komnas HAM (The National Commission on Human Rights- an independent institution in Indonesia) in March, rampant human rights violations occurred in Papua during the first year of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s administration, which started in 2014, including the arrest, torture and murder of at least 700 civilians, Jakarta Post reported.
Cited cases include shootings in Yahukimo, Dogiyai, Tolikara and Timika regency, the newspaper said.
It further reported that Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Luhut Pandjaitan recently said that the government would resolve 12 human rights cases in Papua by the end of this year, cooperating with both the National Police and the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM).
Feri, however, told the Jakarta Post that the government are likely to face serious problems, internally, because many people from the police and the military now serve as government officials. “People [from those institutions] have considerable authority. This is our biggest challenge,” he added.

Herman Wainggai at Garifuna International Indigenous Film Festival in Los Angeles

May 25, 2016
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WPAN

West Papua Action Network

PRESS RELEASE
MAY 25, 2016
LOS ANGELES CA USA

 

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Herman Wainggai

Nobel Peace Prize Nominee and UN Representative of the West Papuan people, Herman Wainggai, is in Los Angeles CA today to participate in the Indigenous Peoples Film Festival, Garifuna. Two films about the West Papuan struggle will appear in the film festival this year. West Papua: Journey to Freedom by Erin Morris of Melanesian Canoe Production Team and West Papua: A Hidden Genocide by Sam Gollob and Josh Leong, (www.joshlongstudios.weebly.com), feature Mr. Wainggai and he will speak to audiences about the West Papuan struggle for self-determination at the screening this Saturday morning 10:00 AM on May 28th, 2016.

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Hidden Genocide

Mr. Wainggai, who is one of the leaders of the West Papuan Self Determination Struggle, is a former political prisoner Indonesian government and is now a Visiting Scholar at George Mason University. He flew to Los Angeles fresh from representing the West Papuan people at the 2016 session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. Below is his report on the session at the UN:
Every year since 2007, the United Nations Permanent Forum for Indigenous people holds meetings to discuss issues that are important to indigenous people of the world. It is an opportunity for us West Papuans to express our views and concerns, and to remind the United Nations of what happened more than five decades ago in West Papua under the New York Agreement (NYA), which was signed on August 15, 1962, and continued on in 1969 under the sham election known as the ‘Act of Free choice’.

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Herman Wainggai at the United Nations

The result of this betrayal is the colonial occupation of our people and the destruction of our lands and natural resources. Our people were denied the “One man one vote,” which was agreed on in the New York Agreement (NYA). It is our duty to remind the UN of this history when we get the chance.
The UNPFIII focuses on three things that affect indigenous people across the world: conflict, peace, and resolution. It gives indigenous people from around the world a voice – an opportunity to raise their concerns about issues and conflicts facing them in their own countries.

I and other representatives of our people in West Papua attended these meetings at the UN headquarter in New York city, urging the UN body to review the mistakes of the past and understand why we West Papuans have been fighting against the illegal occupation of our lands till today. And to recommend to the UN peaceful solutions based on international laws. We reminded them that as long as our concerns are not being addressed, the struggles against imperialism will continue, which means more human rights violations against our people will continue.
For me, it was the third time I have attended these UNPFII meetings since its inception in 2007, working and lobbying hard to gain support for the struggle of my people. Most importantly, I took this opportunity to talk about the root causes of the conflict back home in West Papua and to remind the UN that all we want is freedom from colonialism. We want “self-determination,” which is our right to determine our own future; our own destiny. Our people have been fighting for their freedom for many years and even if they are outnumbered and faced military dictatorship, our struggle will continue; it will not stop until we are free.
http://www.wpaction.org
http://www.facebook.com/groups/wpaction
wpan@redwire.us

Farewell yet again to another Papuan leader

May 24, 2016

http://www.rappler.com/world/regions/asia-pacific/indonesia/bahasa/englishedition/133991-robert-jitmau-papua-death

ENGLISH EDITION

Farewell yet again to another Papuan leader

Thank you very much for your work Robert Jitmau, I wish you had more time with us. Papua needed you, and actually still needs you. Farewell, please be with us in spirit, sir, and help us to carry on with your work.

Ligia Judith Giay

Published 7:37 PM, May 23, 2016
Updated 7:37 PM, May 23, 2016

Robert Jitmau just died.

He was 40 years old. He was a dedicated advocate for ‘Pasar Mama-Mama Papua’, a movement of Papuan women who are famous in Papua as vendors in the market. A partner to a struggling community intent on retaining their place in an increasingly capitalized urban space.

He was victim to a deliberate hit-and-run that cost him his life. Suspicion over the "accident" flourishes; this is not the first time Papuans lost a leader. I am very certain he will not be the last.

If the past taught us one thing, it is that we will not get any closure. But just in case his death becomes an exception to the rule and proven as a pure accident, the government still has to reflect on why people so readily accept the possibility of him being killed. Indonesia needs to reflect on why upon hearing of his death, the reflex is to suspect the involvement of the government and its apparatus.

The government and its apparatus are guilty of these deaths, until proven otherwise.

This is a rough example on how such conversations proceed. A: ‘Robert Jitmau just died from an accident. We suspect Indonesia is involved.’ B: ‘I see; I can imagine Indonesia doing that. It is typical of them.’

After all, in Papua when someone of Jitmau’s stature dies, we don’t talk about homicides, we talk about politically motivated killings.

Otherwise, how are we supposed to talk about the deaths of Arnold Ap, Theys Eluay, Mako Tabuni, and now Robert Jitmau? What words are we supposed to use to characterise the unnatural deaths of Papuan leaders?

Human rights violations

Sometimes it seems like Papua is a place to test the attention span of a human rights advocate. Human rights issues seem to pile up faster than advocates can keep up with. Even yesterday, people were still monitoring Steven Itlay.

Itlay is detained for leading a mass praying for the success of ULMWP (Free West Papua)’s campaign to be a member of MSG (Melanesian Spearhead Group).

A friend recently reported 4 separate cases of hit-and-run that resulted in two deaths and 3 people sustaining heavy injuries. And all that happened between May 11 and May 20, 2016. As a lay person, I can barely keep up with the news, I cannot imagine having to advocate for them. And then this happened.

Now what?

How do you advocate in these circumstances? Because unfortunately, Robert Jitmau is one among many. Robert Jitmau is well-known, and we will remember him and his work. In a place like Papua, with a person like Jitmau, death is sadly an occupational hazard.

His job is a dangerous job in a dangerous place. That Jitmau was willing to do that, speaks of his character and courage. In these conditions, one can only take comfort in that dignity. Many others, who were not as well-known as Jitmau, have not been afforded the dignity of having names (let alone legacy).

Instead, they have to make do with hopefully making it to the statistics in a report the human right advocates write and publish. And here I am thinking of people who died during the 1999 Biak Massacre and the numerous military operations in Papua. How do you advocate for the ones for whom you have no name? How do you advocate for a constantly growing list of human rights violations?

Helplessness

All that does not discount the agony of having to confront Jitmau’s death. Knowing that we will remember him is of hollow consolation. He will remain in memory, but what good does the memory of a marginalized community do? How does memory serve people who cannot act on those memories?

So no, this does not make losing him any easier, if possible, it makes it even more difficult. Because the difficulty to move on from this memory will only serve to reinforce the sense of helplessness we already feel.

And that is the crux of the Papuan experience.

There are people who insist that Papuans should forgive and move on, and that Papuans should wait until this death has been investigated. That these deaths are isolated incidents, that there is no structural element to the violence Papuans continue to experience.

To these people, I need answers to at least 3 questions.

Farewell

Which cases of human rights violations in Papua do you know have been solved? Do you still remember the 2014 shooting in Enarotali? That case is still not closed and I don’t think it ever will be. I will be happy if I am proven wrong.

How is a Papuan supposed to be to avoid these violations? What kind of Papuan do you want? What kind of Papuan does not deserve these violations?

I feel like I need to ask for specifics here, because Indonesia does have a history of thinking some human rights violations are more acceptable than others.

Communists apparently deserve to die because they don’t know God (not true). LGBTs deserve no equal rights, because their mere existence is a propaganda of an ‘LGBT lifestyle’ (there is no such thing as an ‘LGBT lifestyle’). So, how should a Papuan behave to ‘deserve’ this full platter of human rights?

But most importantly, I want to know what are we supposed to do with all these deaths? What are we supposed to do with all these memories? And just in case you’re feeling smart, tell me, how do we move on from something like this without closure?

And no, I am not a friend of Robert Jitmau. I was not that lucky. But I know of his work and that he was a great man.

Thank you very much for your work sir, I wish you had more time with us. Papua needed you, and actually still needs you. Farewell, please be with us in spirit, sir, and help us to carry on with your work. For now, my thoughts and prayers are with your family and friends. – Rappler.com

Gia is born and raised in Jayapura. She completed her BA in History from Sanata Dharma University in Yogyakarta. She is currently enrolled as a Research Master student in the Colonial and Global History department in Leiden University.

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Act now to Reveal the Truth, Acknowledge the Crime: Urge your U.S. Senator to co-sponsor S.Res. 273. http://bit.ly/revealtruth

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John M. Miller, National Coordinator
East Timor & Indonesia Action Network (ETAN)
Phone: +1-917-690-4391
Email: etan Skype: john.m.miller
Twitter: @etan009 Web: http://etan.org

2012 Recipient of the Order of Timor (Ordem Timor)

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Herman Wainggai – The 2016 – United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

May 24, 2016

The 2016 – United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

Every year since 2007, the United Nations Permanent Forum for Indigenous people holds meetings to discuss issues that are important to indigenous people of the world. It is an opportunity for us West Papuans to express our views and concerns, and to remind the United Nations of what happened more than five decades ago in West Papua under the New York Agreement (NYA), which was signed on August 15, 1962, and continued on in 1969 under the sham election known as the ‘Act of Free choice’. The result of this betrayal is the colonial occupation of our people and the destruction of our lands and natural resources. Our people were denied the “One man one vote,” which was agreed on in the New York Agreement (NYA). It is our duty to remind the UN of this history when we get the chance.

The UNPFIII focuses on three things that affect indigenous people across the world: conflict, peace, and resolution. It gives indigenous people from around the world a voice – an opportunity to raise their concerns about issues and conflicts facing them in their own countries.

I and other representatives of our people in West Papua attended these meetings at the UN headquarter in New York city, urging the UN body to review the mistakes of the past and understand why we West Papuans have been fighting against the illegal occupation of our lands till today. And to recommend to the UN peaceful solutions based on international laws. We reminded them that as long as our concerns are not being addressed, the struggles against imperialism will continue, which means more human rights violations against our people will continue.

For me, it was the third time I have attended these UNPFII meetings since its inception in 2007, working and lobbying hard to gain support for the struggle of my people. Most importantly, I took this opportunity to talk about the root causes of the conflict back home in West Papua and to remind the UN that all we want is freedom from colonialism. We want “self-determination,” which is our right to determine our own future; our own destiny. Our people have been fighting for their freedom for many years and even if they are outnumbered and faced military dictatorship, our struggle will continue; it will not stop until we are free.

Words from the UNPFII Meetings

“After three weeks of dialogue with indigenous peoples, Member States and UN entities, the Permanent Forum has today made strong recommendations to ensure indigenous peoples’ rights in times of conflict which is increasingly affecting them on their lands and territories,” said Mr. Alvaro Pop, the Chairperson of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. He added that “the statements made during the 2016 session show a worrying trend of increased threats and violations against indigenous human rights defenders – and that there is an urgent need to ensure indigenous peoples’ access to justice and to address impunity.” There’s nothing frightening about adopting and implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett said Tuesday at the UN. (Canadian Government).

Meanwhile, at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues Canada’s Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould called on the United Nations to confront the “legacies of colonialism” around the world and to help rebuild communities for the world’s Indigenous peoples: “We had two world Indigenous decades, let us create an Indigenous century, let us make it a century where nation states and indigenous peoples work in partnership towards true reconciliation that supports strong and healthy indigenous peoples that are in charge of and in control of their own destinies,” she argued.

At the closing of the session, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for indigenous peoples’ participation in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and said that “States must be held accountable for implementing the 2030 Agenda, with full respect for the rights and minimum standards guaranteed for indigenous peoples in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.” The Member States should come to grips with the paradox that while they ratify human rights treaties that impose hard law obligations, they also enter into trade and investment agreements that render the fulfillment of human rights treaties more difficult or even impossible.

To obtain clarity on these issues, should the UNGA invoke article 96 of the Charter and request an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice? Reckon we’ll have to wait several years but think the opinion would specifically state that the human rights treaty regime must prevail over competing treaties. West Papuan right to self-determination must be recognized!

Herman Wainggai

Former Political Prisoner, Visiting Scholar And A Leader in West Papua’s Self Determination Struggle

With Canada’s Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould at the United Nations

Huffington Post: Getting the Facts Straight on West Papua

May 20, 2016

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/benny-wenda/getting-the-facts-straigh_2_b_10033052.html

Getting the Facts Straight on West Papua

Life in West Papua is very hard. We do not enjoy the freedoms that people in many democratic countries get to experience. We cannot raise our national flag without risking imprisonment. We cannot express our political opinions without risking being found guilty of treason. We cannot hold peaceful protests without risking being arrested and tortured. This has been documented again and again. So many of us have died in our struggle for self-determination, but we have never lost our hope of a better future. We know we have a right of self-determination under international law because the decolonisation process following the end of Dutch rule was never completed….

read full article: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/benny-wenda/getting-the-facts-straigh_2_b_10033052.html

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