In solidarity with the protest in the UK with TAPOL and Amnesty International, The Melbourne West Papuan Community and supporters will hold a demonstration about the ongoing detention of over 70 political prisoners in West Papua and to call for their immediate and unconditional release.
5pm Wednesday 2nd April, State Library of Victoria, Swanston St Melbourne
We will stage a visual protest, where we are asking demonstrators to ‘stand-in’ for political prisoners.
This will create the main narrative for the demonstration – to have the total number of political prisoners in Papua be immediately visualised. 74 prisoners represented by 74 demonstrators.
COME A BIT EARLER IF YOU WANT TO BE PART OF THE VISUAL REPRESENTATION.
Cage and name tags provided…
We call on advocacy groups around the world to act in solidarity with Papuan political prisoners. Join us in our call to the Indonesian government to respect freedom of expression in West Papua and to unconditionally and immediately release all Papuan political prisoners.
According to data from Papuans Behind Bars, the number of political arrests more than doubled in 2013 as compared with the previous year, and reports of torture and ill-treatment of political detainees have also increased. This points to a significant deterioration in the environment for freedom of expression in West Papua. Indigenous Papuans continue to be arrested for peaceful activities such as raising the Papuan Morning Star flag or attending demonstrations and public events that express dissent. Often they are charged with treason or incitement which can carry lengthy prison sentences. A new pattern is now emerging of charging peaceful activists with criminal violence, backed by fabricated evidence and unreliable testimony. While many political prisoners are in jail as a result of their peaceful political activities, others are targeted arbitrarily.
Journalists and lawyers face coercion, intimidation and violence from security forces who enjoy wide impunity. West Papua still remains largely closed to foreign journalists, NGOs and international organisations, making it difficult to accurately report on violations as they take place.