1 Dec 2015

Maori, Pasifika women to mark Papua freedom day

8:13 am on 1 December 2015
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Photo: RNZI

A collective of Maori and Pacific women in South Auckland will today raise the Morning Star flag in a show of solidarity for freedom in West Papua.

The flag is a potent symbol for the Free Papua Movement and was first raised on the 1st of December in 1961 but was later banned by Jakarta after it assumed control of the former Dutch province.

Spokesperson for the Oceania Interrupted group, Leilani Salesa, says the flag raising is also in honour of the recently released Papuan political prisoner Filep Karma who served more than a decade for raising the flag.

"Oceania Interrupted is delighted that Filep Karma was freed on November the 19th. And whilst his case is a really well known case in terms of political prisoners we also need to remember those other West Papuan political prisoners who still require our support and you know, our call for our solidarity."

Filep Karma was found guilty of treason and jailed in 2004 after raising the banned flag at a rally. He was released on the 19th of November after serving more than a decade of his 15 year sentence. During which time he rejected several offers of pardons from Jakarta because they required he sign an admission of guilt.