West Papua Action - Wellington and Auckland
Call to Action: ‘Free Papuans behind bars’ International action: Please join us!
On 2 April 2014 West Papua Action will hold two solemn vigils:
Auckland: 5pm in Aotea Square, near the Town Hall,
Wellington: 12pm at the Indonesian Embassy in Kelburn (70 Glen Rd) at 12 noon
Members of Amnesty International and other human rights groups will be present. New Zealand demonstrators will call for the release of all Papuan political prisoners as actions take place outside the Indonesian Embassy in London, and also in Scotland, the Netherlands and Australia.
(to keep the focus on political prisoners on this occasion no flags please)
Participants will be ‘standing in’ for the 76 Papuan political prisoners, and will be cuffed and gagged – ‘prisoners’ will be identified by their photos.
According to data from Papuans Behind Bars , the number of political arrests in Indonesian-controlled West Papua more than doubled in 2013 as compared with the previous year, and reports of torture and ill-treatment of political detainees have also increased. 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. While many political prisoners are in jail as a result of their peaceful political activities, others just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
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.
Victor Yeimo (30), a leading activist with the West Papua National Committee was arrested last May for helping to organise a peaceful demonstration - ironically a march to protest at police brutality and unaccountability. Nearly two years ago Darius Kogoya was arrested as he and others tried to unfurl a Morning Star flag at the grave of revered Papuan independence leader Theys Eluay. Darius and Victor are just two of 76 political prisoners held in jails in West Papua.
Message from political prisoner Dominikus Surabut to all 2 April demonstrators:
“My respectful greetings to you all. I can’t be with you in person today because I am in jail, but my soul and my spirit are with you. United and strong we will overcome.”