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West Papua flag to fly in downtown Auckland: Dec 1

West Papua flag to fly in downtown Auckland on Independence Day 1 December.

West Papuan people face arrest and lengthy jail terms if they dare to attempt to raise their flag in their homeland, so throughout the world on their “Independence Day” the flag is to be raised on their behalf. The Auckland event takes place at 12 noon Thursday 1 December, Downtown Square, corner of Customs St and Queen St, under the canopy.

The people of West Papua were denied their promised right to self-determination and have endured repressive Indonesian military control for more than 4 decades. More than 100,000 people have died in the course of a conflict which has seen West Papua become a closed-off, poverty-stricken and fearful place. A largely invisible epidemic of HIV/Aids is the latest threat to the survival of the indigenous population.

When the Indonesia Republic was born in 1949, the Melanesian territory of West New Guinea remained under Dutch control. December 1 marks the 44th anniversary of the date on which the newly formed West New Guinea Council voted to rename their territory West Papua and affirmed their own flag and national anthem.

Dutch historian Prof D. J. Drooglever has just released his findings about the 1969 “Act of Free Choice” which Indonesia relies on to claim the legitimacy of its rule. Prof Drooglever ‘s study which was commissioned by the Dutch Government concluded that the 1969 vote was a sham, and that the 1022 people who were singled out to vote on behalf of a million Papuans were press ganged.

New Zealand does not have clean hands – the Government of the day gave tacit support to the Indonesian take-over. Our Government should follow the lead of the Dutch Government and a majority in the US Congress and call for a review of New Zealand’s historic role in this dark chapter of colonial history. New Zealand should also join the growing international campaign calling on the UN Secretary General to undertake a complete review of the UN role at the time of the Act of No Choice.


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