20 Nov 2020

Activists say latest West Papua arrests an escalation

1:20 pm on 20 November 2020

A human rights campaigner in West Papua has been arrested by Indonesian security forces.

Wensislaus Fatubun in Wellington, October, 2018.

Wensislaus Fatubun in Wellington, October, 2018. Photo: RNZ Pacific / Johnny Blades

Film-maker Wensislaus Fatubun was one of 54 people arrested in Merauke.

The group, which included church pastors and local politicians, had been planning a meeting to discuss Indonesia's intention to extend the Special Autonomy laws.

West Papua Action Aotearoa's, Catherine Delahunty, said the arrests were an escalation in Indonesia's response to West Papuan opposition to the Special Autonomy extension.

She said they had written to New Zealand's Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta asking her to query her Indonesian counterpart about the arrests.

"For just planning a meeting they were arrested and held overnight, some of their resources taken off them, and now they are being charged with treason related charges.

"This is a very concerning escalation - activists and protesters are often arrested, but to be simply planning a meeting and be arrested is outrageous."

Wensislaus Fatubun was in New Zealand in 2018 to meet politicians, officials and local communities.