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Melbournians Call for Release of Papuan Political Prisoners

2 April 2014

Melbournians Call for Release of the 77 Papuan and Malukan Political Prisoners held in Indonesian Prisons

Wednesday April 2nd is an international day of action to demand the freedom of Papuan andMalukans political prisoners. Actions will be held in Melbourne, London, The Hague, Auckland, Wellington, Edinburgh and West Papua calling for the immediate and unconditional release of the political Papuan and Malukan prisoners.

Indigenous Papuans and Malukans continue to be arrested for peaceful activities such as raising the Papuan Morning Star flag or attending demonstrations and public events that express dissent.

“The international community needs to be aware that the people of West Papua have experienced the silencing of democracy, their right to freedom of expression in politics, social rights, economy and culture,” says Edison Waromi, current political prisoner and Prime Minister of the Federal Republic of West Papua.

Organisers are seeking to ensure that citizens of West Papua and Maluku are able to express their political beliefs freely and without fear of retribution.

Ian Okoka, a Papuan independence activist, residing in Melbourne says:

“Papuans are loosing their right to freely express themselves and many have fled to the jungle for fear of being put in jail. Papuans who are seeking independence for Papua through peaceful means are facing threats of arrest and violent intimidation by security forces.”

The demonstration will show the people of Melbourne the 77 Papuan political prisoners who are currently detained in Indonesia.

According to data from Papuans Behind Bars, the number of political arrests in Papua Province more than doubled in 2013, as compared with the previous year. Reports of torture and ill-treatment of political detainees have also increased.

“The trend in arrests points to a significant deterioration in the environment for freedom of expression in West Papua. Often those arrested, are charged with treason or incitement which can carry lengthy prison sentences,” said Mr Okoka.

“A new pattern is now emerging where peaceful activists are charged with criminal violence, backed by fabricated evidence and unreliable testimony,” Mr Okoka said.

While many Malukan and Papuan political prisoners are in jail as a result of their peaceful political activities, others are targeted arbitrarily.

Journalists and lawyers face coercion, intimidation and violence from Indonesian security forces who enjoy wide impunity.

West Papua still remains largely closed to foreign journalists, NGOs and international organisations, making it difficult to accurately report on violations as they take place.

When: Wednesday 2 April 2014 from 5.00 pm – 5:45pm. Speakers 5.30pm
Where: State Library of Victoria, Swanston Street, Melbourne
Speakers: Ian Okoka (Papuan independence activist)

Sixta Mambor, (daughter of late John Mambor, former political prisoner)

Graham Dent (Lawyer, active in Social Justice and Human Rights issues)

A Message from Prime Minister Edison Waromi being held in an Indonesian prison in Abepura:

1. I fully support the campaign to liberate West Papua political prisoners in all regions of the Republic of Indonesia and for their release to be unconditional.

2. I urge the United Nations to prioritise West Papua on its agenda and mediate the political status of West Papua between Indonesia and West Papua. The Honorable Prime Minister of Vanuatu Mr. Moana Carcasses Kalosil addressed this matter recently in a speech at the UN Human Rights Council on March 4, 2014 in Geneva, Switzerland.

3. I appeal to Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch (HRW) and TAPOL to conduct investigations into human rights violations in West Papua.

4. I urge the Republic of Indonesia to conduct talks and negotiations with the Federal Republic of West Papua mediated by the UN in 2014.

5. I outrightly reject the so-called Autonomy Plus and other policies imposed upon the people and the land of Papua.

6. I request international solidarity and intervention over the humanitarian crisis, not just sympathy but real action to end the Republic of Indonesia’s colonial occupation of West Papua.

Edison Waromi, Prime Minister of the Federal Republic of West Papua
(26 March 2014)

ENDS

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