Australia’s recent deportation of seven West Papuan asylum seekers, has drawn attention to the struggle for independence in West Papua, and Australia’s role as a regional bully. West Papua was subsumed into Indonesia in 1962, despite the desire for independence amongst its ethnic Melanesian population. A farcical vote to justify Indonesian control involving just 1022 people, less than 1 per cent of its population, followed. The independence movement has been brutally repressed by the Indonesian military.
Not for the first time, an Australian government is complicit in the repression of West Papuans. Tony Abbott’s contempt for their rights was confirmed when three West Papuan activists scaled the walls of the Australian embassy in Bali during the APEC forum. They had a letter calling on the Australian government to request the release of at least 55 West Papuan political prisoners from Indonesian jails including Filep Karma, jailed for 15 years for raising the West Papuan flag in 2004. The Australian consulate threatened to call the Indonesian police, despite the letter also saying “We seek refuge and plead for our safety.” Abbott later reiterated his support for the territorial integrity of Indonesia and dismissed the protest as “grandstanding”. Join us for a discussion on the fight to free West Papua and why we should welcome West Papuan refugees fleeing.
For more info contact: Jasmine 0405 317 787