8 May 2017

Wenda seeks more NZ support for West Papuans

9:14 am on 8 May 2017

A prominent West Papua independence activist in exile is visiting New Zealand this week in an effort to raise awareness about his homeland.

Benny Wenda

Benny Wenda Photo: bennywenda.org

British-based Benny Wenda claims that under Indonesian rule, West Papuans have suffered ongoing human rights abuses, intimidation, killings, torture and beatings.

However, Jakarta said the abuses were largely historical, claiming it had been taking significant steps to improve conditions and foster economic development in Papua.

West Papua Action spokesperson Maire Leadbetter said Mr Wenda's lobbying was an effort to bring about change.

"Benny Wenda will be speaking at public meetings in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch and will be meeting with parliamentarians and others in Wellington of course, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Wellington, who will be meeting with him to make a full report for minister [Gerry] Brownlee. And so it is a real opportunity and chance for people to hear what life is really like in West Papua at the moment. "

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs