Green co-leader slams human rights ‘obscenity’ over West Papua

Green Party co-leader ... “We are standing in solidarity with women leaders of indigenous movements around the world and around the Pacific.” Image: Rahul Bhattarai/PMC

By Rahul Bhattarai in Auckland

Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson last night condemned the “obscenity” of jailing West Papuans by Indonesian authorities for raising their Morning Star flag of independence.

Speaking at the launch of the West Papua solidarity “desk” at the First Union community office in Onehunga, Davidson said she was upholding the party’s long standing solidarity for the indigenous Melanesians in their search for self-determination and independence.

About 25 people supporting the cause of West Papua gathered at the event in a bid to raise awareness in New Zealand over the ongoing issue of human rights violations in West Papua by the Indonesian government.

“It’s a privilege to launch the desk because we need to continue to do the work to raise awareness and to stand in solidarity with the people of West Papua,” Davidson said.

Davidson, along with the cultural group Oceania Interrupted, are creating an activist action of performance to “disturb” public places to help raise awareness as Maori and Pacific women of the Pacific.

“We are standing in solidarity with women leaders of indigenous movements around the world and around the Pacific,” she said.

Davidson has also asked Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to call on Indonesian President Joko Widodo to account and to raise the human rights issues.

Indonesia has just been elected to the UN Security Council for a two-year term.

Facing imperialism
Green MP Golriz Ghahraman said that this was a “solidarity movement for both the people of Pacific and across the world – it’s part of the imperialism that people are experiencing”.

She added that the people of West Papua were facing militarised oppression by the Indonesian government in order to seize their resources.

“West Papuan culture and heritage is violently suppressed for access to their natural minerals,” she said.

Human rights and peace activist Marie Leadbeater, author of the forthcoming book See No Evil, said that West Papua was a close Melanesian neighbour which had been under Indonesian control since 1963 against the will of Papuan people.

She said: “They were promised self-determination and an opportunity to become an independent nation, the same as other independent nations in the Pacific.”

That promise had not yet been fulfilled and as a result the West Papuan people had been resisting or campaigning, which came at a huge price, including the loss of thousands of lives due to the conflict with the Indonesian government.

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