1 Dec 2011

New Zealand support for Papuans' 50th anniversary of independence declaration

7:28 pm on 1 December 2011

Morning Star flag raising ceremonies have been held in Auckland and Wellington to mark a significant anniversary for West Papuans.

December 1st is the 50th anniversary of the declaration of independence from Holland by West Papua in 1961, a year before Indonesia annexed the territory.

The co-leader of the New Zealand Green party, Russel Norman, says the government must end its silence on the Papua issue.

"The Freeport mine has been implicated in some really terrible human rights abuses and of course other sovereign wealth funds have pulled out of Freeport because of that. So we've called for the Super Fund to pull out of that particular investment. In terms of the training, we are really concerned. Because of the involvement of the military in terrible human rights abuses in West Papua, we are concerned that the New Zealand government has these training programmes with them."

Meanwhile, ceremonies to raise the banned Papuan nationalist flag have been taking place amidst tight military and police scrutiny in Indonesia's eastern-most region.

Early reports from citizen journalists in Papua say that military have shot at least two Papuans at a ceremony in Timika where the situation remains tense.