1 Dec 2006

New Zealand NGO says growing support for West Papuan cause

8:02 pm on 1 December 2006

New Zealand's Peace Movement Aotoearoa says grassroots support for West Papua's right to self-determination is growing.

The Movement has today marked West Papua Independence Day by flying the West Papuan Morning Star flag in a demonstration outside parliament in Wellington.

December 1st is the anniversary of the 1961 West Papuan Declaration of Independence from Dutch colonial rule.

Peace Movement Aotoearoa's Edwina Hughes says in recent years the international concern about human rights abuses in Indonesia's Papua province has increased.

However she says Papua is still not on the UN decolonisation agenda and Pacific Forum countries have generally refused to act towards securing a peaceful future for Papuans.

"But in terms of grass roots activism, yes, particularly today on West Papua Independence Day, people around the world are flying the Morning Star Flag. And the reason that's of particular significance is because of the harsh penalties the Indonesian authorities impose when the West Papuans try to fly their own flag in their own country."

Peace Movement Aotoearoa's Edwina Hughes