PHOTO  OPPORTUNITY: West Papua: singing songs and flying flags on Princes Bridge,Melbourne, Tuesday 17 January 2012, 5 pm (between Flinders St train station and the Concert Hall)
A  commemoration of this day six years ago, when forty-three West Papuans beached their traditional canoe at Mappoon in far north Queensland and asked for political asylum.
The maritime odyssey of forty-three WestPapuans in a traditional canoe between 2005 and 2006 was remarkable and unique: circumnavigating their homeland, from Jayapura in the north to Sorong in the west to Merauke in the south, then crossing the treacherous Arafura Sea to the Australian mainland.  Australian Customs torched the carefully hand-crafted boat, but Immigration Minister Vanstone recognized their political claims and granted them asylum in terms of‘well-founded fears of persecution under the Refugee Convention.’
The courageous journey generated a remarkable treaty between Canberra and Jakarta. Signed by the Howard government in 2006, legislated by the Rudd government in 2008, the Lombok Treaty enshrined‘non-interference’ as a principal of relations between the two countries,contradicting Australia’s obligations under the Rome Statute (embedded indomestic law by the International Criminal Court Act of 2002). 
In 2007, political analyst Hugh White claimed Article 2.3 of the Lombok Treaty was‘an error’ that ‘goes well beyond Australian law and Australia’s political culture’ (Hansard, Joint Standing Committee on Treaties, 26 March 2007). However  it is only in recent times that it has started attracting public attention (see ABC The Drum, Lombok: our promise to say  nothing 11 Jan 2012, Dr Kayt Davies).  Thus, we have a bizarre situation today on Princes Bridge, where Morning Star  flag-fliers are behaving in accord with international and domestic law, but clearly violating the spirit of the Australian-Indonesian security framework.
Meantime, West Papuans have, since 2006, managed to realize what most non-Papuans considered impossible. That is, the independence movement formally nationalized on 19 October 2011 as the Federated Republic of West Papua, elected a president and prime minister, and published a political platform. (Needless to say, Australia’s Lombok Treaty partner  immediately tortured and incarcerated President Forkorus Yaboisembut and Prime Minister Edison Waromi). 
Jacob Rumbiak, Foreign Affairs Minister will be on Princes Bridge today, reminding people that over the New Year period, BRIMOB and DENSUS 88 troops (trained by the ADF and AFP) burnt down
29 churches, 13 primary schools, 2 junior schools, and 13 villages in Paniai.  And also that the helicopter of a Melbourne-based mining company (West Wits Mining and Paniai Gold) was used in what has been described as ‘surgical military strikes.’
“No one in the civilized world would wonder why we are seeking third-party mediation to negotiate the removal of Indonesia’ssecurity and political infrastructure from our country” he said.

JacobRumbiak, Foreign Affairs Minister, Federated Republic of West Papua:
MOBILE (61) 406066 966
Ronny Kareni, Australia West PapuaAssoc-Melbourne:
MOBILE (61) 401 222 177