ABC Radio: ‘Free West Papua’ message at Bluesfest

11 April, 2012

Pro-West Papuan activists took the Byron Bluesfest stage to spread their message of wanting independence from Indonesia


The Byron BluesFest got a little political this year when thousands of people yelled out the words ‘Free Papua’ during one of the headline performances.

Blue King Brown used their show to highlight the issues facing Indigenous Papuans wanting independence in the Indonesian-run country.

Pro-West Papuan activists took to the stage with dance and drumming and then did something unimaginable in West Papua and in fact illegal in Australia – they waved the West Papuan flag.

The dance duo was Ronnie Kareni and Sam Roem and they were joined by Papuan drummer Airileke Ingram.

Sam was one of a canoe-load of West Papuans who made it to Australian shores in 2006.

He then applied for asylum in Australia.

ABC north coast journalist Elloise Farrow-Smith spoke with Sam and Ronnie before they took to the Bluesfest stage.

THE MOMENTUM BUILDS: Thousands shout out support for Free West Papua at East Coast Blues & Roots Festival

Press Release – Wednesday April 11, 2012
As momentum for the Free West Papua campaign continues to grow and gain attention throughout the international community, Australians continue to show mounting support for their fellow human beings and closest neighbours, West Papua. Another historic showing of undeniable support for human rights and justice in West Papua came at Blue King Brown‘s East Coast Blues and Roots Festival performance on Sunday 8th April, 2012 where thousands threw up their fists in a passionate display of solidarity and unanimity that the issues facing West Papua need to be promptly addressed by the Australian Government and the international community and that human rights is deserved to all people and we as nation have a responsibility to do whatever we can to ensure that is what’s happening.
It is through signing the petition and your sharing and reposting of images like this that we as a community can help expose the dark truths behind the oppression of West Papua and no longer allow these human rights abuses to be hidden in the darkness, our mutual knowledge on the issues is a light that has bravely begun to shine through, and it is only with your support that we will continue to see that light shine brighter and eventually, the unhindered Rize of The Morning Star for a FREE WEST PAPUA.


Reporters Without Borders


Reporters Without Borders offers its condolences to the family and friends of Leiron Kogoya, a journalist with the newspapers Pasific Post and Papua Pos Nabire, part of the Pacific Post group, who was killed in an attack by gunmen on a plane at Mulia airport in the province of Papua three days ago.

“Although the journalist did not appear to be the target of the attack, it illustrates the insecurity that prevails in the region, where at least two other journalists were killed late last year,” the press freedom organization said.

“Covering the Papua region is highly risky for journalists. Leiron Kogoya was among those courageous reporters who strive to keep the world informed about the region, which has been the scene of violent clashes. Our thoughts go out to his family and friends.”

“We expect the authorities to shed light on the attack. Contradictory information about the identity of those behind the shooting said to have been provided by security forces to journalists indicates that an independent investigation must be carried out as soon as possible.”

The plane, a Twin Otter of the Indonesian airline Trigana Air, landed at Mulia at about 8 am when at least five gunmen opened fire. The pilot and co-pilot, who were both hit, lost control of the aircraft, which then crashed into one of the terminal buildings. Four people were wounded. Kogoya, was fatally shot in the neck.

The 35-year-old reporter was flying to Mulia in the Puncak Jaya district to cover local elections in the provincial capital, Jayapura.

Photo by: Agus Fakaubun

The news website quoted the head of public relations for the Papua police, Commander Yohanes Nugroho Wicaksono, as saying the gunmen were hiding in the hills 50 metres from the airport. It said police had not yet been able to identify the perpetrators or the type of guns they used.

According to military intelligence, the separatist group Free Papua Movement (Organisasi Papua Merdeka, or OPM, in Indonesian) was behind the attack, while local police said they had no information about the identity of the attackers.

Indonesia is ranked 146th of 179 countries in the 2011-2012 world press freedom index compiled by Reporters Without Borders.

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