November 23, 2020
West Papua indigenous response a test of courage
Supporters of West Papuan independence are asking new Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta to speak on what appears to be an escalation of suppression of democratic activity by Indonesia.
Catherine Delahunty from West Papua Action Aotearoa says filmmaker Wensislaus Fatubun, who visited Aotearoa in 2018, was arrested last week with 53 other people including church leaders and local government officials while planning a public meeting to discuss the province's special autonomy status.
Special autonomy falls far short of the self-determination sought by indigenous West Papuans .
She says Ms Mahuta spoke up last week to defend democracy in Hong Kong, and she needs to do the same for our near neighbour.
"We really do need a bit of courage. I understand people's fears about trade but as a smaller country we have had a good reputation on things like nuclear war, nuclear weapons, nuclear testing. Why can't we show the same courage and solidarity with indigenous West Papua?" Ms Delahunty says.
The arrests come in the lead up to December 1, when the Morning Star flag, which is now banned in West Papua as a symbol of independence, will be raised around the world including in Auckland's Aotea Square.
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