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35+ years of activism & feminism in Fiji

Published

16 June 2020

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Fiji Women's Rights Movement

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NGOCHR PR: Free West Papuan Anti Racism Protestors 16/06/20

NGOCHR PR: Free West Papuan Anti Racism Protestors

16/06/2020

The Fiji NGO Coalition on Human Rights stands in solidarity with the 7 West Papuan activists dubbed the Balikpapan 7 who were arrested during an anti-racism protest in Jayapura, Papua in August last year.

 The NGOCHR is deeply troubled with the criminalisation of these anti-racism protestors who have been charged with treason and are facing between 5 to 17 years in prison.

 “The draconian response to these protestors is a blatant attack on freedom of expression and reflects poorly on the Indonesian government’s stance on racism and its relations with the West Papuan people,” said the NGOCHR Chair Nalini Singh.

 The protests were in response to racial attacks against Papuan university students living in a dormitory in Surabaya, East Java. The seven anti-racist protestors facing trial in Balikpapan include Buchtar Tabuni, an executive of pro-Papuan independence group United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), Agus Kossay and Stevanus Itlay from the National Committee of West Papua (KNPB), Jayapura University of Science and Technology (USTJ) student union head Alexander Gobai, Cenderawasih University student union head Ferry Gombo and USTJ students Irwanus Uropmabin and Hengki Hilapok. 

 “The NGOCHR condemns the intimidation and detention of West Papuan activists. They must be freed immediately without conditions,” said Ms Singh.

 The NGOCHR is concerned that these trials will only result in more tension, racial conflicts and unrest.

 “We are seeing anti-racist protests all around the world for Black Lives Matter and the strong solidarity from Pacific Indigenous peoples. Within our own region, we have this urgent crisis in West Papua. We must call for visibility for West Papuan lives and their struggles for freedom. West Papua is the genocide that is being ignored by the world and Pacific island leaders must recognize this and stand in solidarity,” said Ms. Singh.

 The NGOCHR condemn the arrests and intimidation of West Papuan human rights defenders, student protestors and allies. The NGOCHR calls for the immediate release of the Balikpapan 7 and West Papuan political prisoners. The NGOCHR highlights obligations to the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial discrimination ratified by Indonesia in 1999.

The NGOCHR condemns the ongoing conflict and violence against the people of West Papua and stands in solidarity with the Free West Papua movement and the right to self-determination. 

Ends

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 #WestPapuanLivesMatter

 

The Members of the NGOCHR include the Fiji Women's Crisis Centre (FWCC), Fiji Women's Rights Movement (FWRM), Citizens Constitutional Forum (CCF), femLINKpacific, Social Empowerment and Education Program (SEEP), and Diverse Voices and Action (DIVA) for Equality Fiji. Pacific Network on Globalisation (PANG) and Haus of Khameleon (HoK) are observers.