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wp Radio Australia transcript: Papua’s “Cry for Freedom” Unheard for 50 Years – Benny Wenda

February 11, 2013

February 11, 2013
Radio Australia

Benny Wenda is an activist for the independence of West Papua from
Indonesia. Papua’s "cry for freedom" unheard for 50 years – Wenda
(Credit: ABC)

He currently lives in Britain after being granted political aslyum in
2003 but has been unable the country because of an Interpol ‘ Red
Notice’ or arrest warrant sought by the Indonesian government.

That threat has now been lifted and Mr Wenda is on an international
tour, talking to politicians and policy makers in the USA, New
Zealand, Australia and Melanesia.

Presenter:Geraldine Coutts

Speaker:Benny Wenda, West Papua independence activist WENDA: That’s
Indonesia trying to because internationally telling the truth about
what really happened, what’s really going on and Indonesia tried to
silence me two years ago.

COUTTS: Alright, you’re on a tour, an international tour. What is your
message in the countries where you’re stopping?

WENDA: Yeah, I just carried a simple message. My people cry for
freedom last 50 years and even internationally Indonesia is trying to
silence me, because I think I was telling the truth and I carry the
message of my people, because their world is ignoring them, so I think
it’s travelling that’s raised the issue as well as telling the
politician government here in New Zealand and Australia and some other
Melanesian countries.

COUTTS: And was that as a result of the independent investigation by
Fair Trials International that the Interpol ‘Red Notice’ initiated by
the Indonesian Government was lifted?

WENDA: Yes, yes, yes, conclusion was that Indonesia just used
political motivation to silence me. It is not only happening to me,
but it to my people as well, because my people have been silenced for
the last 50 years. So I think the time for the world to hear because
of my trip to around the world.

COUTTS: What form did that Fair Trial International investigation
take?

WENDA: Yeah, I think they the investigation was also there is a lot of
eyewitness, including Jennifer Robertson, who is my lawyer. She’s one
of the also give testimony and arguments because she was in a trial in
West Papua, so that is a very strong case against Indonesian
Government.

COUTTS: And other West Papuans, were they called, did they have their
say at the trial as well at the investigation?

WENDA: No, only the just Fair Trial and Jennifer Robertson, they
working together.

COUTTS: Well, what does it mean now? Does it actually allow you to go
home?

WENDA: No, only this is because, only international, so I cannot go
back to West Papua until I my people free and myself free and I will
go back a free man.

COUTTS: You’re not allowed to go back or it’s self-imposed?

WENDA: No, I cannot go back, because if I go back, I will be arrested
and put in the prison.

COUTTS: What are you hearing about what is actually happening in West
Papua at the moment?

WENDA: West Papua it’s really increasing. It’s West Papua I call home
of the military and that’s why Indonesia now more military since the
killing of the Michael Tabuni and it’s last year saw about 20 Papuan
were killed, so this is more violence that is committed by the
Indonesian military and police and this I call a Secret Genocide
Committee by Indonesian government, police and military.

COUTTS: It’s very difficult because of the censorship of the press,
it’s very difficult to get accurate and up to date information from
West Papua. So how do you know what is going on and how reliable are
you’re sources?

WENDA: We are receiving 24 hours information, because in the day and
night, we have people on the ground reporting. But because Indonesia
able to clamp down on that area, like Amnesty International ban, Red
Cross are banned, peace brigade is banned and even media,
international media, like every media are banned.

Since Indonesia occupied, illegally occupied 1963 until today,
Indonesia banned. So why Indonesia hiding, why Indonesia call it a
democracy, and a moderate the country, then why not journalists
allowed in to West Papua. That is the problem. Indonesia really why
are they hiding for and that the simple question for the Indonesian
Government.

COUTTS: Are you asking the countries that you’re visiting, you’re
saying New Zealand, Australia and Melanesia to act on your behalf to
a) allow you to go home and also to grant independence?

WENDA: Yes, my trip is simply asking for their support, for free my
people and then I will go back a free man. Until my people not free,
and I never go back and that might here in Melanesian as well as in
New Zealand, Australia. Because West Papua is not Asia, it’s
Melanesian. They are, because Melanesian people are Micronesia,
Polynesia. We are connected in the spirit as well as we are the
Pacific, so this is the regional issue, so that’s why it’s an issue of
West Papua never go away from mind of Australia and New Zealand, as of
Melanesian country so that is a very important that we got my message
to tell that, all the brothers and sisters in the Pacific.

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