Dozens of demonstrators gathered outside Indonesian embassies in London, Paris and other cities today to call for an end to West Papua’s 50 years of isolation.
Supporters of Tapol, Amnesty International, Free West Papua Campaign and Survival International, the global movement for tribal peoples’ rights, wore black to protest the media black-out in Papua, and carried placards brandishing slogans such as “Stop the killings, open Papua”.
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Further protests were held around the world, including in West Papua, Australia, the U.S., Spain and Italy.
Papuan tribal people have suffered killings, arrest and torture by the Indonesian military, who act with impunity. In December 2014, four Papuan teenagers were shot dead by security forces during a protest, but no-one has yet been held accountable.
Human rights organizations, international journalists and humanitarian agencies have been blocked from operating in West Papua despite pre-election promises by President Jokowi to open the province up – allowing the brutal oppression to continue. More than 100,000 Papuans are believed to have been killed since the beginning of the occupation in 1963.
During similar international protests last year, protestors in West Papua were dispersed by police, and two students were arrested and severely beaten.
Survival’s Director Stephen Corry said today, “Indonesia has fought long and hard to suppress freedom of speech in West Papua. It’s not surprising when it has so much to hide. The authorities don’t want Papuans speaking about extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests, rape or torture. And as long West Papua is kept closed by Indonesia, the reign of terror continues.”