22 Aug 2012

Pacific support urged for West Papuan independence

6:45 pm on 22 August 2012

The Pacific Islands Forum and the New Zealand and Australian governments are being called on to be more supportive of independence for West Papua and to push for open access to the Indonesian province.

A campaign for human rights and self-determination for West Papua began this week, with support from the ethical cosmetics brand, Lush.

Demonstrations are being held at shops throughout Australia and New Zealand, including hanging the banned Morning Star flag in shop windows.

The Green Party MP, Catherine Delahunty, was at an Auckland demonstration and says the New Zealand government's lack of action on the issue is not good enough.

"We want our government to say it's time for a peace dialogue, we could be mediators of that dialogue, we could play a really good role as we have in other parts of the Pacific. But people are dying, some of the West Papuan leaders have been shot in the streets of West Papua in the last few months, there's been an escalation of violence, there are terrible human rights violations and torture and it's not OK for New Zealand to sit on the fence with this issue because they want trade with Indonesia."

Catherine Delahunty says part of the problem is that there is very little knowledge of West Papua because of the limited access given to it.