PRESS STATEMENT 17 January 2011, West Papua National Authority


PEACE RALLY: Indonesian Embassy, 8 Darwin Ave, Yarralumla, Canberra; 11am; 17 Jan 2011

Today, forty-three West Papuans commemorate their historic circumnavigation of their homeland and survival of the Arafura Sea before beaching their traditional canoe ‘Exodus’ on the Australian mainland at Mapoon in far north Queensland.

Herman Wainggai, who organized the exodus in 2006, and the commemoration today, wants Australian politicians to remember that West Papuans are worse off today than when he requested asylum in Australia on 17 January 2006.

“Today, we demand, at least, the release of Papuan political prisoners” said Wainggai, who endured two periods of incarceration after convictions of subversion.

Human Rights Watch report in 2010 that Indonesian jails hold at least 100 political prisoners from Papua and Moluccas, including Philip Karma, Ferdinand Pakage and Buhtar Tabuni incarcerated in Jayapura, Melkianus Bleskadit, Rev. Daniel Yenu, Roni Ruben Iba in Manokwari; Simon Tuturop and Tadeus Weripang in Fak Fak.

“Indonesia is meant to be a democracy. So why can’t Papuans speak? Move? Have an opinion?” Why are there videos on the internet of the military killing and torturing our people?”

The West Papua National Authority for Papuans political development is pursuing review of the New York Agreement (including the Act of Free Choice in 1969), relisting West Papua on the UN Decolonisation Agenda, and an internationally supervised referendum.

Herman Wainggai WPNA,Asia-Pacific TEL 0402 848 354

Ricky Rumbiak Australia West Papua Assoc (Melb) TEL 04135 34 224