Media release 28 November 2011
Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)
PO Box 28, Spit Junction, Sydney, Australia 2088
The Hon Kevin Rudd MP
Minister for Foreign Affairs
28 November 2011
Dear Mr Rudd,
I am writing to you concerning increasing tension in West Papua, presently focused on the 1st December which is West Papuan national flag day. Fifty years ago on the 1st of December 1961, in the then Dutch colony of West New Guinea, The West Papuan flag, called the Morning Star was flown for the first time officially beside the Dutch Tricolour. The Dutch were finally about to give the West Papuan people their freedom. However, it is one of the great tragedies that at their moment of freedom it was cruelly crushed and West Papua was basically handed over to Indonesia in 1963.
The West Papuan people raise their flag as an act of celebration but also of protest against the injustices they suffer under Indonesian rule. We believe that the West Papuan people will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first flying of their flag with peaceful rallies in various parts of the territory on the 1st December. We are concerned that the security forces will use any rallies as an excuse to crackdown on the West Papuan people.
One of the most famous West Papuan political prisoners is Filep Karma who was arrested on the 1st December 2004 for being part of a rally where the Morning Star flag was raised. In May 2005, a court sentenced Filep Karma to 15 years jail on charges of treason against the state. Amnesty International considers Filep Karma to be a prisoner of conscience who has been detained solely for the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression.
Because of the dangerously deteriorating situation in West Papua we urge you to use your good offices with the Indonesian Government asking that it controls its security forces in West Papua, urging that the security forces should be kept in their barracks during any West Papuan celebrations on the 1st December as a way of avoiding possible bloodshed.
We also urge you to ask the Indonesian Government to allow full and free access of journalists to Papua and to send Australian embassy staff to monitor and observe events on December 1.
 AWPA (Sydney) uses the name “West Papua” to refer to the whole of the western half of the Island of New Guinea.
- Australia must act to protect human rights in Papua: Joint letter from HRLC and Human Rights Watch (28 Nov 2011) (westpapuamedia.info)
- Cry for Freedom from the Heart of West Papua (westpapuamedia.info)
- AWPA calls on the Government to help with food shortage in West Papua (westpapuamedia.info)
- AWPA: Increasing tension in West Papua (westpapuamedia.info)
- AWPA: CHOGM leaders should condemn the brutal crackdown on the West Papuan people (westpapuamedia.info)