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Pacific marks 61st year of flying of West Papua's Morning Star flag

Radio New Zealand - December 1, 2022

There are reports of threats by Indonesia to Free West Papua activists on the anniversary of the first raising of West Papua's symbol of independence.

"The security level is increased, they send direct threats, phone calls or SMS and in the past three days many of our West Papuan activists have [had] phone messages, propaganda messages," Canberra-based Free West Papua activist and musician Ronny Ato Buai Kareni said.

December 1 marks 61 years since the first raising of West Papua's symbol of independence, the Morning Star flag.

"The Morning Star brings a lot of emotions, it is about honouring those who have fought and died, assassinated in the name of that Morning Star flag. It is also a symbol of resistance and hope that West Papua will be free one day," Kareni said.

In previous years, the Indonesian military and police have responded with increased violent oppression around this day, arresting and killing those they perceive as pro-independence activists in West Papua, a spokesperson from Peace Movement Aotearoa said.

The flag has been raised in solidarity with freeing West Papua from occupation by Indonesia, at events around the world. "Seeing the young Papuans coming out today, it's heartening," Kareni said.

Flag presented at nuclear conference

A memorandum of understanding has been signed by youth and elders fighting for decolonisation in the Pacific. "We wanted to strengthen, renew efforts, that vision that was already established in the 70s, 80s," Kareni said.

Kareni presented the Morning Star flag to activist Hilda Halkyard-Harawira at the Nuclear Connections Across Oceania conference held in Dunedin, New Zealand.

"As renewed strength between young and old and to continue the legacies of the Pacific solidarity and more so in the indigenous solidarity of the national liberation struggles," Kareni said.

"We have failed because of our mad allegiance to the Indonesian government who are illegal occupiers of West Papua," she said.

West Papua Action Aotearoa was part of flag-raising events in several locations around New Zealand including outside Parliament in Wellington.

"Every December 1 people across the world raise the Morning Star flag in support of West Papuans who risk their safety and freedom to fly their flag," said Network spokesperson Catherine Delahunty.

"It is shocking that West Papuans have been arrested and attacked by the Indonesian state for flying their symbol of freedom in their own country.

"What is possibly more shocking is the willingness of other Governments to ignore this situation. As West Papua are neighbours to Aotearoa you would think our country would lead in calling out the colonisation of West Papua and the human rights abuses but successive Governments have been weak and quiet.

"While other countries suffering occupation are on the political agenda in the name of freedom, West Papua is basically ignored."

Source: https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/479903/pacific-marks-61st-flying-of-west-papua-s-morning-star-fla