29 Nov 2012

Rally outside NZ parliament to mark West Papuans' Flag Day

3:09 pm on 29 November 2012

A rally has been held outside New Zealand's parliament to mark December 1st, West Papuans' Flag Day, the anniversary of independence from the Netherlands.

A crowd of over 40 including a handful of MPs convened to raise the Morning Star Flag in solidarity with the indigenous people of Indonesia's Papua region.

The Flag was first raised in 1961 as the former Dutch New Guinea prepared for independence, although within a year Indonesia invaded.

The New Zealand Green Party MP, Catherine Delahunty, says the flag represents the long neglected aspirations and hopes of West Papuans.

"If you raise the morning star flag, you can be arrested and jailed for fifteen years. That's almost unimaginable to us. If you think a simple act of raising a flag could put you in prison for fifteen years, that tells you there is a major problem with human rights and with the access to justice in that country and New Zealand should not collude with these people who will not allow citizens to raise a flag."

Catherine Delahunty