A Open Letter
To the Government of Indonesia, Indonesian Youth Activists, Indonesian Human Rights Defenders and Organisations, and the People of West Papua.
RE: FREE YOUTH ACTIVISTS AND RESPECT HUMAN RIGHTS OF THE PEOPLE OF WEST PAPUA
A collection Youth/Human Rights Organisations and Advocates based in Fiji (and across Oceania) are concerned with the continued suppression of witnesses and the media regarding the imprisonment and secret court proceedings surrounding the arrest of 5 youth activists arrested on December 17th 2010 for raising the West Papua Liberation Flag.
Five youth activists Jhon Wenda, George Rawiay, Benha Supanga, Alex Duwe, and Iyance have been charged under Article 106 and 110 of the Indonesian Criminal Code.
Some 200 people took part in a peaceful ceremony outside Manokwari in December 2010, during which the Morning Star flag, a symbol of Papuan independence, was raised in commemoration of the declaration of Papuan independence in 1962. When the flag was raised, Indonesian Military advanced on the crowd, firing shots and beating people with batons.
We have been advised by colleagues within the West Papua Liberation Movement that the health of these 5 youth activist and safety after been detained since December 2010 is of serious concern. They also noted the media censorship on the case and how many witnesses are afraid to testify because of further repression. We have also been told that a heighten sense of fear has been fueled by the continued presence of a 1000 plus military presence in the province of Manokwari that were ordered into the area.
Human Rights and the protection of activists or defenders of these rights must be respected if we are to allow peace to exist in West Papua. Indonesia as a State signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and many other Human Rights Instruments should see its role in the protection and advancement of Human Rights, Media Freedom, Civil and Political Rights of all peoples they claim to govern.
Indonesia was re-elected this year into the UN Human Rights Council for the period 2011-2014, which is an inter-governmental body within the UN system made up of 47 States responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe. Indonesia’s own human rights record has recently been brought to the forefront and we remind State parties of their obligations to ensure citizens are treated with dignity regardless of ethnicity, age or political opinion.
We urge the Indonesian President and Government of Indonesia, Indonesian Human Rights Organisations and all stakeholders to intervene and ensure the release of the 5 youth activists and to make a public commitment that there will be no further arrests of individuals purely for the peaceful exercise of their right to freedom of expression, opinion, belief or association. Specifically, we seek to ensure that laws concerning “rebellion” (Articles 106 and 110 of the Indonesian Criminal Code) are not used against people who have engagedonly in peaceful activities.
As we do not seek to advocate a particular position on the political status ofWest Papua, We believe the right to freedom of expression includes the right to peacefully advocate referenda, independence or other political solutions under a free media. These rights must be upheld and respected.
Young Peoples Concerned Network
Youth Coalition Fiji
(Former Ms Fiji)
Youth Assembly of the Fiji Islands
(Former Ms South Pacific/Fiji)
Veena Singh Bryar
Melei MeleiTuvalu National Youth Council
Western Youth United
Change Makers Youth Club
Siosiua Po’oi Pohiva
Friendly Islands Human Rights and Democracy Movement Inc
Rabi Youth Club
DAWG Youth Club
O A’U ( Oceania Audacities United)
Long Beach, California
Womens Action for Change
Soccer Initiatives for Girls
Democracy Advocate – Libertarian,
Malaita Youth Club
Vanuaku Youth Club
Komas Bahai Youth
Honiara, Solomon Islands
Sepesa Sigatokacake Rasili
- AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL: Indonesia must end criminalization of peaceful political protests in Papua (westpapuamedia.info)
- Urgent need for Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Human Rights Court in Papua (westpapuamedia.info)