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Issue #1682      April 29, 2015

Free West Papua Campaign

Well Known West Papuan Activist Benny Wenda has asked all West Papuan support groups around the world to hold local rallies on this issue.

On April 29, Demonstrations were held in London, New York and many other parts of the world  calling for an end to 50 years of isolation and free and open access to Papua. The London protest took place at noon, outside the Indonesian embassy, 38 Grosvenor Square; the New York protest will begin at 6 pm at the Indonesian consulate, 5 E. 68th St. (near 5th Ave.) in Manhattan. Additional protests may take place elsewhere. Tapol, which initiated the protests, organised the London demonstration. ETAN organised the one in New York.

West Papua is one of the world’s most isolated conflict spots. For decades, Indigenous activists campaigning for their rights have been arrested, disappeared, tortured and killed. Local journalists who uncover the truth face lethal risks. Foreign journalists trying to report on Papua have been arrested, deported and even imprisoned.

One by one, international humanitarian organisations have closed their Papua offices. Access for UN human rights observers has been closed for eight years. Until Indonesia lifts the repressive restrictions on access to Papua, Indonesian security forces and paramilitaries are free to act with total impunity, and Indigenous Papuans will continue to be killed.

Demonstrators wore all-black clothing to protest the media blackout in Papua. They carried placards, some of which were “censored”, and had their mouths taped shut. This visual protest highlighted the absence of free and open access to Papua for international journalists and human rights observers.

Next article – Mental health crisis – Lack of funding key contributor

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