A number of civil society organisations including the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) plan to hold peaceful rallies to protest the handover of West Papua by UNTEA to Indonesian administration.
50 years ago on the 1 May in 1963, the United Nations Temporary Executive Authority (UNTEA) transferred administration of the Dutch colony of Netherlands New Guinea to Indonesia. From the moment Indonesia took over the administration from UNTEA, the oppression of the West Papuan people began and 50 years later the oppression continues and so does the struggle of the West Papuan people for self-determination.
The KNPB has called on the people of West Papua, both local and in Java and Bali to hold peaceful demonstrations commemorating 50 years of the Indonesian annexation of West Papua.
The TPN/OPM have also said they would hold a flag raising ceremony in the Paniai Region
Joe Collins of AWPA said “we are concerned that statements from the security forces indicate they may crackdown on any peaceful rallies held to protest the handover by the UN.
Local media in West Papua have reported that,
the Jayapura police chief said that 1000 security personal will be on duty for the 1st May and “In principle we do not give permission to anyone in the community to hold a memorial ceremony on the 1 May”.
And that there will be an increase in preventive activities such as patrols and approach to all communities in all regions of Papua and West Papua to improve internal security in their respective areas.
At rallies on the 1 May last year one person was killed and 13 arrested for flying the West Papuan flag.
AWPA is calling on the Australian Government to raise the matter with the Indonesian Government of the possibility of tension in the territory because of the increased military presence and patrols by the security forces (leading up to the 1st May). Also to urge the Indonesian Government to keep the security forces in West Papua in their barracks and let the West Papuan people commemorate this tragic event in their history peacefully.
Jo and Anne Noonan, Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)