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Lush Dunedin Supports Free West Papua Campaign

For Immediate Release:
20 August 2012

Lush Dunedin Supports Free West Papua Campaign

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Banned flag raised in local store window and staff member silenced with tape across mouth to signify West Papuan oppression

Dunedin- This week Lush Dunedin will proudly be raising the Morning Star flag in their window. The iconic red, white and blue flag has become a symbol of resistance and the calls for independence for the people of West Papua. Ever since Indonesia seized control of the country in the 1960s raising the flag has been banned and many people have been persecuted and imprisoned for doing so. Right now freedom fighter Filep Karma is serving 15 years in jail for raising the Morning Star at a rally in 2004, and is recognised as a prisoner of conscience by human rights groups around the world. Lush is calling for his immediate release, as well as the release of all West Papuan political prisoners and for a free and fair referendum for all people in West Papua to give them the opportunity to determine their own future.

Media photo opportunity:

Where: Lush Cosmetics, Sop G.02 Wall Street Retail 209-233 George Street, Dunedin 9016
When: Midday, Wednesday 22 August
What: Banned West Papuan flag raised in store window. Local staff member silenced with tape across mouth to signify West Papuan oppression.

Since the start of the Indonesian occupation, it is estimated that 100,000 West Papuans have been killed in what has been termed a slow-motion genocide. Lush is supporting the Indonesia Human Rights Committee NZ and this week will be giving all of the money (minus tax) from the sale of their Smell Of Freedom perfume to the campaign group.

Megan Taylor, Lush Campaigns Manager says, “The people of West Papua have been struggling against violence and oppression for decades, and their voices are rarely heard beyond the barrier put up by the Indonesian authorities. We hope that by running this campaign we can raise awareness of their struggle and help bring about a free and independent West Papua.”

Maire Leadbeater from the Indonesia Human Rights Committee NZ says, “New Zealand has the power to bring about real change. As one of West Papua’s closest neighbours, New Zealand should take the lead and advocate for a dialogue between representatives of the West Papuan people and the Indonesian government. We should also call for open access to the territory. By standing up and taking action, we can help provide a voice to West Papuans in their fight for freedom.”

For more information please see www.lush.nz.com

Notes to editors

The Indonesia Human Rights Committee NZ is a solidarity organisation which aims to build links between people of New Zealand and Indonesia. It works to foster awareness of Indonesian people’s movements and to actively encourage the New Zealand government to support the pro-democracy movement and the human rights movement in Indonesia.

Lush Cosmetics is a campaigning company that make fresh handmade cosmetics, manufactured in Sydney and sold in their 35 stores in Australia and New Zealand. Lush regularly use their stores and web presence as a platform for campaigning organisations. Previous Lush campaigns have included calling for an end to shark finning with Sea Shepherd, petitioning against the Australian and New Zealand coal mining industry and campaigning for marriage equality by staging a national ‘kiss and tell’ protest across all of its stores.

*The term “slow-motion genocide” was coined by academics at the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Sydney, Australia.

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