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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center

With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

West Papuans Residing In PNG Stage Peaceful Protest
PNG government challenged to address abuses in Indonesia

By Gabriel Fito

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Dec. 11, 2012) – The West Papua community in Wewak, East Sepik yesterday protested in peace around Wewak town to mark the United Nations’ backed Human Rights Day.

"Indonesia terrorists, Papua New Guinea independence," the protesters chanted as they marched around the shopping centre. They stopped at the Wewak police station where they presented their accounts of ill-treatment by the Indonesian military.

President of East Sepik provincial council of women Sophie Mangai, who led the procession, spoke in support of West Papuans, who had been fighting for independence over the last 50 years.

"I am deeply saddened to say that our brothers and sisters in West Papua are currently subjected to all forms of violence – physical, sexual, torture, death.

"Why are we keeping silent when the Indonesians are abusing our brothers’ rights?" Mangai challenged the PNG government.

Leader of the West Papuans living in Wewak, Abraham Kareni, said the assembly yesterday was to gauge the assistance of Pacific countries to acknowledge West Papua as an observer in the Melanesian Spearhead Group so that they could discuss their agenda for independence.

Florence Parinjo, elder sister of senior police officer Charles Parinjo, who was killed early this year while on duty, also took part in the protest.

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