18 Jan 2008

Activist denounces Papua Governor over Morning Star ban

4:07 pm on 18 January 2008

A London-based Papuan activist has criticised the Governor of Indonesia's Papua for upholding a ban on the Morning Star Flag.

Governor Barnabas Suebu is demanding compliance with a new government regulation that bans the use of separatist attributes as regional symbols.

He says the provincial legislature will discuss a more suitable regional symbol than the Morning Star, which is associated with Papuan separatists.

In 2005 a man was jailed for 15 years for raising the flag.

And this week, police in Jayapura arrested two women who were trading souvenirs carrying the Morning Star logo.

Activist Benny Wenda says this makes a mockery of provisions under Papua's Special Autonomy.

"Because Indonesia promised that the Morning Star is like a cultural symbol, and this is what the Autonomy package already promised. Then why now have they banned all people making handbags with the Morning Star and printing tee-shirts, and any sort of identity and now the ban. There is not any freedom in West Papua."

Benny Wenda