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West Papuan human rights advocate tours NZ


West Papuan human rights advocate tours NZ

Socratez Sofyan Yoman Prominent Human Rights Activist and leader of the Baptist Churches in West Papua arrives in Auckland for a month long tour on Monday August 14, 2006. He will be the keynote speaker at a seminar 'West Papua the Hidden Pacific Conflict' August 18-19, AUT University, cnr Wellesley St and Mayoral Drive

In the last eight years, Reverend Yoman has taken a high profile as a campaigner for peace, justice and human rights in West Papua. Reverend Yoman has briefed Australian, UK and European parliamentarians as well as UN representatives. He is held in high esteem by major international peace and justice NGOs. His 5 books on West Papua: include "The Gate to Free Papua" and "The Silence of The Churches in The History of Abuse and Repression of People of West Papua."

Rev Socratez Sofyan Yoman has released a list of incidents in 2006 when he was terrorised and intimidated by Indonesian military, police or intelligence officers, including when his car was destroyed by Indonesian Mobile Brigade Police. "Myself, I am not afraid because I am talking about the truth and justice and peace; and I'm talking about human dignity and human rights. But I'm still afraid for my two sons."

West Papua, New Zealand's Pacific neighbour, has been under Indonesian rule since 1963. At least 100,000 people have died in the ongoing conflict. Early this year 43 desperate asylum seekers fled persecution, risking their lives in a traditional outrigger boat in order to reach Australia's northern tip.

The seminar will also hear from John Wing, Centre for Conflict Studies Sydney will present the findings of his recent research for the report "Genocide in West Papua? The Role of the Indonesian State Apparatus and a Current Needs Assessment of the Papuan People". The Saturday Workshops include sessions on the history of West Papua, health and environmental issues (Freeport: Mountain of Wealth and Destruction), human rights overview and the role of the international community. The seminar concludes with a Forum to which political party representatives have been invited. The much praised film "Land of the Morning Star" will be screened.


Ends

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