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An historical ceremony will be held outside Victorian Trades Hall this Saturday for the issuing of “Original Nations” passports and West Papuan visas in conjunction with the Freedom Flotilla from Lake Eyre to West Papua.
In solidarity with the passport ceremony in Melbourne, a peaceful rally will be held in Manokwari, Papua.
The “Freedom Flotilla” convoy, which will travel through central and northern Australia and leave from Cairns, aims to highlight the abuse of human rights and land rights occurring in West Papua.
Indonesia invaded the western half of the island of New Guinea in May 1963, and since then over 500,000 West Papuans deaths and disappearances have been unaccounted as a result of violence and poverty inflicted by the military occupation.
West Papuan leaders together with traditional owners of the Kulan, Gunnai and Arabunna Aboriginal nations, which once shared the same continent, have initiated this peaceful action to draw international attention to the situation in West Papua and take a stand against the Indonesian military and the governments and multinational corporations that are complicit in the crimes against humanity taking place there.
“For as long as these human rights abuses occur, the Australian and Indonesian government are complicit in genocide,” says Robert Thorpe, an Elder of the Gunnai Nation.
“This mission will reunite our Indigenous family link, which was broken by geological evolution and colonial boundaries,” says Jacob Rumbiak, the Foreign Minister of the Federated Republic of West Papuan government in exile.
“This was one land; we still are one people, one soul.” says Uncle Kevin Buzzacott, an Elder of the Arabunna Nation.
The Freedom Flotilla is being crowd-funded, and has so far received support from environmental and human rights activists, politicians, musicians, unions and West Papuans both in and outside of West Papua.
Saturday’s ceremony will be held in front of the steps of the Trades Hall Building (Lygon St entrance), 54 Victoria St, Carlton, at 10am on Saturday 1 June 2013, and will be followed by music, food and guest speakers from the Kulan and Gunnai nations, Gooniyandi country, West Papua, the Greens and the MUA.
For more information go to: http://freedomflotillawestpapua.org
For media contact: Ronny Kareni on 0401 222 177; Izzy Brown on 0410 535 896; Nicky Stott on 0424 307 921.
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