The Australia West Papua Association condemns the arrest of 10 West Papua National Committee (KNPB) members yesterday, 11 July.
The activists were arrested simply because they were handing out leaflets informing people of a rally to be held today, the 12 July to show support for West Papua becoming a full member of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG).
The security forces detained the activists and took them to the Jayapura Resort Police station in Sentani for questioning. They were eventually released after being detained for 8 hours.
It was reported that the police were threatening the KNPB activists to make a statement not to carry out West Papuan independence struggle activities.
Joe Collins of AWPA said, "yet again we have peaceful activists arrested for simply handing out leaflets about an upcoming rally, which is their right to do under the United Nation's Universal Declaration of Human Rights"
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
1. Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
"Hopefully any rallies that take place today will be allowed to go ahead peacefully and there will not be a repeat of the brutal crackdowns that occurred at other peaceful rallies in the past,"
The Melanesian Spearhead Group will meet in Vanuatu this month.
The MSG consists of Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, the Solomon Islands and the Front De Liberational De Nationale Kanak Et Solcialiste (FLNKS) of Kanaky (New Caledonia)
West Papua has observer status, Indonesia has associate membership while the ULMWP has applied for full membership.