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West Papua Leaders For Int Solidarity Meeting

West Papuan leaders arriving for the International Solidarity Meeting in Auckland

In the next few days West Papuan leaders and solidarity activists will be arriving in Auckland to attend the International Solidarity Meeting for West Papua - 8-10 August, 2003. Most will stay on in Auckland to be involved in lobbying Pacific Heads of State coming to Auckland for the Pacific Islands Forum (12-17 August).

This is an unprecedented opportunity for the voice of West Papuans to be heard. There will be opportunities for interviews from approximately 3 pm on 7 August, 2003.

The guests include John Rumbiak, Supervisor of the Institute for Human Rights Study and Advocacy, ELSHAM, Agus Alua the Deputy Chairperson of the West Papua Presidium Council (PDP), John Ondawame and Adolfina Zonggonau Ondawame (West Papua Peoples Representative Office, Vanuatu). Bonar Tigor Naipospos from Jakarta, represents SOLIDAMOR - Solidarity Without Borders and SNUP (National Solidarity for Papua). West Papua solidarity movement activists from Indonesia, Australia, Fiji, United States, Britain (Tapol), Ireland, Hong Kong and Aotearoa will also attend. On Thursday 14 August a "Free West Papua" vigil will take place outside the venue for the opening ceremony of the Pacific Islands Forum: 5-45 pm0 Sheraton Hotel, Symonds St. West Papuans and their supporters will proudly fly the West Papua ' Morning Star' flag to remind the Pacific leaders that the people of West Papua have not

41 years ago on August 15, 1962 a UN agreement signed by Indonesia and the Netherlands in New York set out that West Papuans would be granted an "act of self-determinaton in accordance with international practice". The 1969 "Act of Free Choice" was an act of no choice in which only 1025 Papuans voted under duress to stay with Indonesia. In the ensuing conflict at least 100,000 West Papuans have lost their lives in bloody confict. Several times that number have been tortured, raped and intimidated. Exploitation of copper and gold resources has resulted in massive environmental devastation of rivers, unrestrained logging has destroyed the forests and wholesale migration has threatened to overwhelm the indigenous culture. The human rights violations perpetrated by the military have been particularly severe around the the Freeport mining area as documented by the Indonesian government's

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