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Petitioning The New Zealand House of Representatives

Protect human rights and freedom of expression in West Papua

Over 3000 West Papuans have been arrested since May 2016 for exercising their rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and expression.

They were taking part in marches and rallies to express their hopes for freedom (merdeka) and to show that they supported the efforts going on outside the territory to ensure that West Papua is back on the international agenda.

Occupied by Indonesia since 1963, West Papuans are victims of ongoing human rights abuses, killings, torture, beatings, military and police intimidation, and gross neglect of basic services.

When Papuans resist occupation non-violently they are labeled as ‘separatists’ and risk severe penalties under Indonesia’s outdated treason and incitement laws.

It is time for New Zealand to stop turning a blind eye to these abuses on our doorstep.  

Please sign this petition to show our government you support freedom of speech and assembly for the Melanesian people of West Papua.

The petition (online and hardcopy) respectfully requests:

That the House of Representatives urge the New Zealand Government to address the ongoing human rights situation in West Papua by taking the following actions:

  • Publicly advocate the Indonesian Government to uphold the rights of the people of West Papua to freedom of assembly and freedom of speech;
  • Condemn Indonesia for the arrest and intimidation of thousands of peaceful protestors in West Papua in the last two years;
  • Condemn the state sanctioned torture and killing of West Papuans;
  • Support the United Nations Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression to visit West Papua; and
  • Urge the Pacific Island Forum to support this stand and advocate for West Papua at the United Nations.

 

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Concerns for human rights in West Papua have been expressed at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva last month.

The Solomon Islands and Vanuatu Governments, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association, and a number of civil society groups all raised concern and called for urgent action. In 2015, Tongan Prime Minister, 'Akilisi Pōhiva, and Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare raised the issue of ongoing human rights abuses and brutality in West Papua to the UN General Assembly. 

Recent demonstrations in West Papua have shown wide support for human rights in West Papua including the fundamental right to self-determination. Specifically, people are showing their support for the United Liberation Movement of West Papua (ULMWP) – the umbrella group representing the people of West Papua – to be recognized as a full member of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG), the call for a Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) fact-finding Mission to West Papua made at last year’s PIF summit and potentially to be raised at this year’s summit in September, and the recent call made by the International Parliamentarians for West Papua (IPWP) -  an international group of politicians that support the right to self-determination in the Papua region - for an internationally supervised vote.

On May 2 alone around 2,000 West Papuans were arrested for organizing and participating in peaceful demonstrations in West Papua and some Indonesian cities to show support for ULMWP’s full membership in MSG and commemorate the 53rd anniversary of the handover of West Papua to the Indonesian government by the United Nations Temporary Executive Authority (UNTEA) on 1 May 1963.

These arbitrary arrests highlight the ongoing repression of West Papuan’s right to the freedom of expression.

UN Human Rights Council highlights West Papua , 23 June 2016, Radio New Zealand. 

Solomon Islands and Vanuatu call for West Papuan human rights to be supported at UN Human Rights Council, 24 June 2016, Free West Papua Campaign. 

Gloves come off as Jakarta confronts Papua rights, 30 June 2016, Radio New Zealand. 

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