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Tolley and Coleman urged to meet West Papuan visitor

Ministers Tolley and Coleman urged to meet West Papuan visitor

Police Minister Anne Tolley and Defence Minister Dr Jonathan Coleman have a rare opportunity this week to gain first-hand knowledge about Indonesian police and military activities in West Papua.West Papua is all but closed to international journalists and other independent observers so police and military atrocities don’t make our headlines.

Mr Victor Mambor, 39, Editor of the Jayapura-based newspaper and website Tabloid Jubi, and Chairperson of West Papua’s Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) is in New Zealand for the week and is thought to be the first West Papuan journalist to visit this country.

“Victor has sought short interviews with Ministers Tolley and Coleman and I urge them to meet him,” West Papua Action Auckland Spokesperson Maire Leadbeater said today. “New Zealand has for years provided military training to Indonesian officers and recently ran police training, as a pilot programme, in the territory. In 2011 an officer from the notorious Kopassus special forces attended a military training course here, despite the sad record of Kopassus murdering Papuan independence leaders.

“While Victor is in New Zealand, it is a rare opportunity for Cabinet Ministers to gain the perspective of an on-the-ground commentator. He is among the most influential journalists in West Papua and a passionate advocate for a free press. In recent years, he has campaigned internationally for greater press freedom, including early this year at the European Parliament.”

Mr Mambor has written about police raids on local media offices, “fake journalists” who work for the police and military, and the disappearances and deaths of Papuan activists.

During his visit, Mr Mambor will be keynote speaker at a seminar about West Papua at Auckland University’s law faculty on August 1 and 2. The programme for West Papua – the Pacific’s Secret Shame will include Melbourne-based Papuan campaigner Paula Makabory, Auckland’s Pacific Media Centre Director Professor David Robie and Social and Cultural Studies Senior Lecturer Dr Elizabeth Stanley of Victoria University, Wellington.

His visit has been assisted by a journalism grant from the Asia New Zealand Foundation.

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