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Protests support West Papuan Asylum Seekers

Protests support West Papuan Asylum Seekers


Rallies in Sydney (audio), Melbourne, Darwin and Canberra have been held to support the West Papuan Asylum Seekers and protest their movement to Christmas Island for processing, and the Howard Governments impending signing of a security treaty with Indonesia. Under the treaty Australia would recognise the territorial integrity for Indonesia over West Papua which protects the Indonesian military's ability to continue their long-standing history of human rights abuses, without criticism.

The Immigration Department (DIMIA) are being strongly criticised by asylum seeker advocates, as well as the Greens, Democrats and Socialist Alliance, for detaining the West Papuans on Christmas Island. The International Commission of Jurists as well a! s many other groups and organizations around Australia stated that they are genuine asylum seekers and should be released into the community on bridging visas.

Raise the Flag and Cry Merdeka
Australia West Papua Association
New Internationalist on West Papua (2002)

Spirited Rally for West Papua Outside Immigration Department

by davey Tuesday January 24, 2006 at 08:46 PM

A spirited rally was held today in Melbourne in Solidarity with the people of West Papua and the 43 West ! Papuan Asylum seekers held in detention on Christmas Island. About 100 people gathered outside DIMIA in the CBD to voice their support for West Papua and outrage at the Australian Government.

Speakers included Jimmy Cocking a West Papuan Independance and Forest Activist. Senator Lyn Allison from the Democrats and Kerry Nettle from the Greens both spoke eloquently on the need for the Australian Government to side with human rights not the Indonesian military. Kerry Nettle also informed the crowd that two independance actions had just happened in West Papua itself including the storming of the West Papuan Parliament builiding by activists calling for all Indonesian troops to leave West Papua. The bravery of these actions was inspiring for those attending the rally. Kerry Nettle is also planning to visit the Asylum seekers on Christmas Island. Pamela Curr fired up the crowd with her passionate calls for the 43 ayslum seekers to be released immediately on bridging visas and h! er denouncement of the so called "change of culture" in DIMIA. She also informed the crowd the asylum seekers on Christmas Island were being kept in communicado and could not be contacted. This meant they probably had not heard about the reprisal shootings of four teenagers from their part of West Papua. Robbie Thorpe an Aboriginal Activist as well expressing solidarity with the West Papuans facing Genocide called on Australians to support Aboriginals in their struggle against genocide by attending the Stolenwealth Games GST rallies. Other speakers included Bishop Hilton Deakin from CARITAS and Vanessa from Asia-Pacific Solidarity. Vanessa like a number of other speakers spoke of the links and similarities between the crimes committed by the Indonesian military in East Timor and West Papua. It was an informative mix of speakers which reflected the wide support now gathering behind the West Papuan cause. Unfortunately a failed PA made the acoustics a bit challenging but these ! things happen and the speakers did their best to be heard.

Lively and colorful dances were also performed by a troupe of traditional West Papuan dancers in full traditional garb (with the addition of wrap around sunglasses for some). The words peace and justice were painted on the dancers legs. The rally opened with a commanding war dance accompanied by drums and more dances occured after the speakers.

Despite some confusion (challenging acoustics related) meant that the march to Federation Square was a bit smaller than the rally itself. Still the smaller group of about 20 people chanted loudly and passionately "Free West Papua - Release the Refugees" all the way to Federation Square. Thousands of the shoppers looked on confused by the presence of the morning star and lack of "Aussie, Aussie Aussies" and will hopefully at least now have heard of West Papua. Numerous people also gave the thumbs up along the way.

The energy and mix of speakers at this rally ! really felt like the start of something bigger. As a number of speakers said - we know what we have to do now - get out on the streets and into the media to pressure our government to adopt a just policy both to the West Papuan Asylum Seekers and to the people of West Papuan as a whole. The speakers also acknowledged this will be a long campaign but today's rally shows that this campaign is now entering a new and important phase.


Great Rally!

Tuesday January 24, 2006 at 11:26 PM

It was a great spirit under the ugly alcove of the DFAT.

It was beautiful to see the West Papuan dance! rs do their thing in the middle of the boring, beauracratic part of Melbourne.

The march was fun to even though it wasn't as big as could have been if everybody had known what was going on. Doesn't matter!

I, too, felt that this was the start of something significant. The West Papuan people have suffered enough. It is great to see their cause finally receive some proper recognition.

I hope that things really take-off from here and people really get behind the campaign.

Thanks to the organisers of this event.


The 'Stop being ignorant about West Papua' brochure is available as a 'flash' movie. If you have 'flash' installed, click here to access it:

West Papua Sydney Rally

From the Newswire:

We call on the government to postpone talks with Indonesia on the security treaty, until Indonesia withdraws its massive military presence from West Papua and demonstrates vastly improved standar! ds in human rights issues. We also request that the Australian government provides the asylum seekers with the protection and justice that is their right under Australian law. +

west papua audio
by m 7:03pm Tue Jan 24 '06

2SER story on the West Papuan refugees

listen to the report (sound: mp3 @ 1.9 megs)

This story from radio 2SER includes sound from last Friday's rally in Sydney and comments from Greens Senator Kerry Nettle.

It focuses on the 43 refugees and their rights under international law.

It begins with Justine John Dowd from the Commission of Jurists.

The report was produced by Belinda Lopez.

© Scoop Media

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