FLAG RAISING & ARRESTS IN FAKFAK, WEST PAPUA

Human Rights Alert   19 July 2008

FLAG RAISING & ARRESTS IN FAKFAK, WEST PAPUA

At 4.30 am today 35 members of the local West Papua community have held a flag raising ceremony, with the banned West Papuan Independence symbol the Morning Star flag, this morning in Fakfak, West Papua.

Reports from local Human Rights sources say that the flag raising ceremony was led by ex Political Prisoners Simon Tuturop & Tadeus Weripang.  Both men are said to be prisoners from 1982 arrested during the Suharto dictatorship[1].

The ceremony was held the outside the “Act of Free Choice[2]” building (Fakfak archives office).

Local Human Rights workers in Fakfak report that in total 46 people have been arrested by Indonesian Police.  Police have had these detainees in custody since this morning and are said to be interrogating them.

These reports say that all male prisoners were first stripped to their under wear and taken into custody.  Police have reportedly arrested people who were not involved in the protest.

The detainees are reported to have no legal representation and Human Rights workers are not yet able to assist the prisoners.

Details of the names of people arrested or what exactly has happened is not available.

The Police are said to be searching all over Fakfak town in what appears to be a political crack down in the town.

For more information contact:

–  Alo Renwarin, Supervisor Els-ham West Papua on +62 815 27801051; or

–  Paula Makabory, Institute for Papuan Advocacy & Human Rights   on +61 402547517

[1] Political prisoners TAPOL/NAPOL were released by President  Wahid in 2001 & 2002

[2] The Act of free Choice was the United Nations sanctioned referendum in 1969, which allowed West Papua’s legal incorporation into the Republic of Indonesia.  Just over 1000 West Papuans, who were selected by the Indonesian Authorities and meant to represent the population of over 900,000, voted for incorporation into Indonesia under tight military security.  The event, which was supposed to represent a plebiscite of the West Papuan people, was criticised at the time and subsequently as a ‘sham’.

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