7 Jul 2016

NZ groups launch petition to support West Papua

3:45 pm on 7 July 2016

West Papua solidarity groups in New Zealand have launched a petition calling for the New Zealand government to speak out about human rights in the Indonesian region.

Indonesian police talk to members of the West Papua National Committee in Jayapura during their demonstration, 31 May 2016.

Indonesian police talk to members of the West Papua National Committee, or KNPB, in Jayapura during their demonstration, 31 May 2016. Photo: Tabloid Jubi

Green MPs have been among protestors outside the Indonesian Embassy in Wellington today marking the death of a teenager Owen Pekei last week.

The high school student was displaying the outlawed West Papuan independence flag when he was killed, allegedly by security forces.

Indonesian police and security forces gather the body of West Papuan teenager Owen Pekei.

Indonesian police and security forces gather the body of West Papuan teenager Owen Pekei. Photo: UMAGI News

A spokesperson for the group Catherine Delahunty says 3000 people have been arrested since May so far this year at rallies.

The groups say the situation is at breaking point with young people being arrested for nothing more than peacefully marching or carrying a placard.

The groups are hoping to get thousands of signatures on the parliamentary petition before the end of August calling for fundamental UN guaranteed freedoms to be respected in West Papua.

"We cannot be silent about these abuses in our backyard, especially with the Prime Minister's imminent trip to Indonesia," said Ms Delahunty.

New Zealand Greens MP Catherine Delahunty is pushing for an independent fact-finding mission to West Papua.

New Zealand Greens MP Catherine Delahunty is pushing for an independent fact-finding mission to West Papua. Photo: RNZI