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Schoolboy deaths-Demonstration will be Wed at 11-45 Britomart Square

December 15, 2014

Demonstration will be Wed at 11-45 Britomart Square

West Papua Action Auckland
Box 68419.
Auckland.

Published 15 December 2014

The Editor,
The New Zealand Herald,
letters@nzherald.co.nz

Dear Editor,

Last week, as your paper briefly noted, a military and police unit shot demonstrators in Indonesian-controlled WestPapua. It was a grim and shocking reminder that human rights
abuses are an ongoing feature of life for indigenous Papuans. The five, possibly six, victims who were killed, were all school children wearing school colours. There are
photographs taken at the time to validate the facts, and international and local human rights documentation states that the victims were participating in a traditional protest
dance when they were shot.

I thought back to incidents in the worst days of apartheid South Africa, but this is happening in our Pacific region to
our Melanesian neighbours. Tragically other similar human rights atrocities in West Papua have never been accounted for, but this may be a turning point.

The new Indonesian President has shown signs of goodwill towards West Papua, and he must be called on that. More is needed from our Government than the usual mild expressions
of concern. We should call for an internationally credible
investigation and trial of those found responsible. And we should immediately suspend all defence ties to the renegade
Indonesian military.

Yours sincerely,

Maire Leadbeater
10 December 2014

Hon Murray McCully,
Minister of Foreign Affairs,
Parliament Buildings,
Wellington.
Dear Mr McCully,

We are writing to you on Human Rights Day to urge you to take action on the latest civilian killings carried out by security forces in Paniai, West Papua on 8 December 2014. The age of the five people killed makes this a particularly shocking event. These were young people of 17 and 18 who were unarmed, dressed in school uniform or school sportswear who were taking part in a traditional (waita) dance protest, after an incident the previous evening when security forces allegedly assaulted people attending a Christmas event.

The five young people were killed when a joint police and military unit fired into the crowd. Human Rights Watch states that they were Simon Degei, Otianus Gobai, Alfius Youw, Yulian Yeimo and Abia Gobay. There are some 17 injured victims in hospital some of them in a critical condition.

Papuan religious leader and Papua Peace Network coordinator Father Neles Tebay said that the violence by security forces against civilians in Paniai cannot be tolerated. According to Metro TV News Fr Tebay is calling for the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) to intervene and immediately conduct an investigation into the shooting.

We urge the New Zealand Government to speak out in the strongest terms against this atrocity and to join Fr Tebay in his call for an immediate investigation and for the personnel responsible to be held accountable.

Yours sincerely,

Maire Leadbeater

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