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Security forces intimidate West Papuans leading up to 1 July

Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)

30 June 2014

Security forces intimidate West Papuans leading up to the 1 July.

The 1st July is a very important day in the West Papuan struggle for self-determination and independence. On 1st of July in 1971, West Papuan leaders Brig. Gen. Seth Rumkorem and Jacob Prai (exiled in Sweden) made a proclamation of independence.

Joe Collins of AWPA (Sydney) said " it is of great concern that a report by ANTARA News, quoted Major General Christian Zebua (commander of the Cenderawasih 27th Regional Military Command) as saying that TNI were ready "to eliminate" the Free Papua Movement who might celebrate the anniversary on the 1st July, and "Trust me. If we find any movement, they will certainly be shot, and I am completely prepared. I assure peace for the people".

It has been reported that OPM members had planned to conduct activities in Jayapura on the 1st July, including hoisting the West Papuan flag. The security forces are also concerned that they might disrupt the presidential election.
Joe Collins said “for all that talk about Indonesian being a democracy the security forces in West Papua continue to intimidate any West Papuans raising the question of self determination as is their right under article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights”.

(Article 19. Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers).

Papuans behind bars also reported that there were at least 76 political prisoners in jail, many simply because they were involved in peaceful flag raising.

The West Papua National Committee (KNPB) has also called on the people of West Papua to commemorate the historic day of the Declaration of Constitution of the Republic of West Papua and also called for a boycott of the presidential election.

In recent weeks KNPB members have been intimidated by the security forces.

The KNPB Secretariat in Digoel was raided by the police on the 28 June. At the time KNPB members were holding a regular meeting in order to address the emerging political situation in the country and abroad and talk about self-determination. Twenty people were detained and police destroyed articles related to the self-determination struggle. On the 18 June the military and police intimidated members of the KNPB Secretariat Building and the PRD Regional Office in Merauke, People arriving at the building were checked and sent home. The West Papua National Committee (KNPB) is also calling for a boycott of the Presidential Election Papua.

Joe Collins said “instead of trying to stop all discussion on the issue of self-determination, Jakarta should be dialoguing with West Papuan leaders to try and solve all the issues of concern they have”

ENDS

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