Benny Wenda’s planned visit to New Zealand now on hold

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Trailer for the award-winning documentary The Road To Home about Benny Wenda, the Nobel Peace Prize nominated West Papuan independence leader, in his ongoing struggle to free his people from Indonesian colonial rule. Video: Dancing Turtle Films

Prominent West Papuan independence leader Benny Wenda will not be able to visit Aotearoa New Zealand at the end of this month as previously announced.

There is hope that the visit can be rescheduled to a later date.

“I am very sorry I am not able to be with you,” said Benny Wenda.

“Unfortunately I am unable to travel at the moment due to unforeseen circumstances. My spirit is with you all. You have already taken up this issue and made it a major campaign in the Pacific, and this gives us great confidence and strength as brothers and sisters, and I thank you from the people of West Papua.”

Wenda was particularly looking forward to meeting with the new wave of Māori and Pasifika activists in Aotearoa and meeting with New Zealand members of the International Parliamentarians for West Papua.

“Please keep up this momentum. I really appreciate and respect the work of the West Papuan support networks, tribal chiefs, parliamentarians, journalists and individuals making these events happen.

-Partners-

“It is a great privilege to hear how our support network has grown in New Zealand thanks to you, and to see how many people on the ground are joining our cries for freedom.”

Awareness of the plight of West Papuans is growing steadily in Aotearoa New Zealand, the Pacific region, and globally.

In September, the international community will be watching how Pacific and regional leaders, including New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key, address the ongoing human rights issue during the Pacific Island Forum meeting.

Benny Wenda Aotearoa Tour Coordinating Group

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