by Catherine Delahunty
Today, December 1 is the day that people from all over the world show solidarity with West Papua. The much loved and contested symbol of West Papuan rights is the flag “The Morning Star” which will be flown in many places today. Keith Locke was at the flag raising in Auckland, while Russel Norman represented us in Wellington.
The situation in West Papua continues to be of deep concern to the Green Party and we were pleased to host a recent international guest Budi Hernawan who was touring our country with Pax Christi support to talk about the need for leadership by our Government to help achieve peace and justice in West Papua.
The cross party group of MPs heard from Budi about the ongoing challenges in Papua where human rights and torture are a fact of life. This situation reflects the long term disaster for West Papua since the 1963 takeover of their country by Indonesia. The rich resources in forestry and mining have been appropriated by the Indonesian Government and the use of military force and mass migration of Indonesian citizens to Papua has reduced the rights and safety of West Papuan communities.
However many Papuans are calling for peaceful negotiations similar to the positive solutions to the problems in te Aceh region and are very keen for our Government to play a positive role in finding a just peace.
The Green Party also calls on our Government to help as right now foreign journalists cannot enter West päpua and local journalists who speak out have been killed. The poverty, HIV rates, violence and environmental damage can only be stopped by Indonesia negotiating with the indigenous leadership rather than dividing and ruling them. Our Government is yet to show support for West Papua and we are asking questions about the role of our police force in training Indonesian police given the ongoing state sanctioned abuse of Papuan people.
May the “Morning Star” fly peacefully from today and may justice be done.