May 09, 2017
West Papua struggle to maintain connection with land
A West Papua leader says the fight for independence is a fight for culture and identity by the indigenous people.
Nobel Prize nominees Benny Wenda from the United Liberation Movement for West Papua is in New Zealand as a guest of the Green Party.
He’s calling for an internationally supervised vote on independence in the former Dutch colony, which was occupied by Indonesia after a controversial referendum in 1963
Mr Wenda says since then Indonesia has killed more than 500,000 of the natÃ¯ve inhabitants as it maintains its grip on the resource-rich island.
"Indonesia brought thousands of migrants to fill the gap and take our land, because our fight is not about political independence only, it is about land, our culture, our identity, our language, that is very important, because you are connected with nature, you are connected with land, that’s why we are fighting," he says.
He’s looking for Maori support for the cause, because they understand the impact of colonisation.
Benny Wenda will speak this evening at the AUT campus, Wellesley St from 6pm.
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