AWPA condemns the arrest of 6 KNPB members in West Papua

Flashback: On 19 December 1961, President Sukarno issued the “People’s Triple Command” (Trikora) on calling for what he termed the "liberation of Dutch New Guinea". Image: Jubi

The Australia West Papua Association has condemned the arrest of six National Committee for West Papua (KNPB) members in Nabire, West Papua, today.

Four members were arrested at the police station when they went to report a planned peaceful demonstration to be held on Monday, December 19. Two other members were arrested when the security forces raided the home of resident Zadrak Kudiai.

The planned rally on Monday is planned to show support for West Papua becoming a full member of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) but also to remember that on 19 December 1961, the then President Sukarno issued the “People’s Triple Command” (Trikora) calling for what he termed the liberation of Dutch New Guinea.

But in fact this was the call to invade New Guinea, said AWPA in a statement.

This put pressure on the Dutch authorities to agree talks with Jakarta eventually leading to the “betrayal of the West Papuan people by the international community”.

Joe Collins of AWPA said: “It is ironic that the new Indonesian Ambassador to New Zealand said he “has made it his mission to inform the people of the South Pacific nation about the improved conditions in Papua and West Papua once he has been cleared to commence his duties in Wellington next year”.

Collins added thousands of people had been arrested at peaceful rallies since May and the six in Nabire were the latest to be jailed. This was because they were “doing the right thing by informing the police of the planned rally”.

“Hopefully any rallies that take place will be allowed to go ahead peacefully and there will not be a repeat of the brutal crackdowns at other peaceful rallies in the past,” Collins said.

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