Up to 100 people unlawfully arrested at mass rallies held by West Papuans to thank Pacific countries for supporting them at the UN
September 25, 2016
Mass rallies were held throughout West Papua on 19th September as the people of West Papua took to the streets to peaceful show their thanks and encouragement to Pacific countries for supporting their struggle at the United Nations General Assembly 2016.
Up to 100 people have been reportedly arrested by the Indonesian police, simply for joining and supporting these peaceful demonstrations. It is believed that 13 people were arrested in Yahukimo and 87 people were arrested in Merauke. In Merauke the scores of people arrested continued to peacefully demonstrate after being taken to the Indonesian police station! The attitude of the Indonesian police shows yet more evidence of deteriorating of freedom of expression in occupied West Papua, where people continue to be arbitrarily detained simply for calling for self-determination and freedom.
The rallies brought people together from all over West Papua and places where they were held include: Port Numbay/Jayapura, Biak, Fakfak, Kaimana, Manokwari, Merauke, Nabire, Paniai, Sorong and Timika.
Other demonstrations of the same nature were also held by West Papuan people living in the Indonesian cities of Gorontalo and Manado.
These mass rallies sent a clear message of encouragement to the Pacific Coalition on West Papua, a regional group of countries and organisations working to support self-determination for the West Papuan people. They also called for an Independence Referendum in the form of an Internationally Supervised Vote on West Papuan self-determination in accordance with the Westminster Declaration of May 3rd 2016.
The people of West Papua desperately need more international support to be free from the ongoing genocide and illegal occupation of their country which has resulted in the deaths of an estimated 500,000+ people (nearly 1 in 3 people).
We urge everyone around the world to please continue to call upon your representatives and your government to support the inalienable right to self-determination for the people of West Papua, who continue to suffer under genocide and illegal occupation.