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West Papuan leader on brief visit to New Zealand

28 July, 2002

Media Release: West Papua Register- parliamentary signatories welcomed

West Papuan leader on brief visit to New Zealand

Last night 8 of the 79 signatories to the West Papua Register were elected to Parliament - the 8 Green MPs. While welcoming this core of support, the IHRC is about to send a renewed appeal to every MP urging them to all to support the Register's pledge: "to work publicly to promote a United Nations review of the 1969 "Act of Free Choice" and to urge the New Zealand Government to promote the review at the next meeting of the UN General Assembly and the Pacific Islands Forum."

Mr John Ondawame, International Representative of the OPM (Free West Papua Movement) based in Australia is currently on a flying visit to New Zealand. John says that recent reports from West Papua are bleak , and that there are grave fears of renewed violence. A new military sweep is under way and troops have been given instructions to 'paralyse' the Papua independence movement. Yefeth Yelemaken, a respected highland chief died recently after a mysterious poisoning and there are reports that many other community leaders are also under threat.

A human rights crisis is developing on our doorstep. One way New Zealand can help is by supporting the growing international campaign for a review of the 1969 United Nations "Act of Free Choice" - now widely acknowledged to have been a fraudulent act of self-determination. Only 1025 West Papuans were allowed to vote and they did so under severe duress. Senior UN official at the time Mr Chakravarthy Narasimhan has described the Act as nothing more than a whitewash. The West Papuan independence movement looks to neighbouring Pacific nations to help them reclaim their destiny as people of the South Pacific.

For further information: Maire Leadbeater 09-815-9000 or cell phone 025-436-957

or contact John Ondawame on 021-140-8917


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