The Freedom Flotilla to West Papua sets out on the first leg of its epic journey from Lake Eyre to West Papua on July 25, 2013.
People from across Australia will meet Uncle Kevin Buzzacott, Arabunna Elder and peacemaker, at the shores of Lake Eyre in South Australia, on July 20, when he collects ceremonial water to take on this journey intended as a peaceful action to draw international attention to the crisis in West Papua where Indonesian military and multinational corporations are complicit in crimes against humanity.
The arrival of West Papuan asylum seekers to Australia’s shores over a decade ago meant that the First Nations peoples of Australia and West Papua rediscovered their connection through song lines and tradition from the time when the land masses were connected.
It was then that Uncle Kevin Buzzacott and Jacob Rumbiak, Foreign Minister of Federal Republic of West Papua, called for boats to take the message of solidarity to the people of West Papua.
“This was one land; we still are one people, one soul.” said Uncle Kevin Buzzacott.
“This mission will reunite our Indigenous family link, which was broken by geological evolution and colonial boundaries,” said Jacob Rumbiak, who will be a guest of honour at the lake.
Freedom Flotilla crew member Izzy Brown said, “We begin this historical journey from the desert sands to stand strong against human rights violations and environmental destruction, this is the beginning of a big movement and the world is watching.’’
The Freedom Flotilla convoy, will travel through central and north eastern Australia and leave from Cairns by boat on August 17.
Lake Eyre was returned to the Arabunna people in 2012 and the land around it has a long history with land rights and anti uranium mining actions of creative resistance such as Roxstop in 1996, Earth Dream in 1999 – 2012 and the Lizard’s Revenge protestival against the Olympic Dam mine in 2012. Following this tradition the Freedom Flotilla will also begin its epic journey from there.
The Freedom Flotilla has received support from environmental and human rights activists, politicians, musicians, unions and West Papuans both in and outside of West Papua.
Media contacts: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ronny Kareni 0401 222 177
Izzy Brown 0410 535 896