There are a number of planned West Papuan events in Sydney for the 1st December, West Papuan National Flag Day or National Day.
The Australia West Papua Association thanks the Inner West Council in Sydney for supporting the raising of the West Papuan National Flag on its Leichhardt Town Hall (for the 12th year in a row) on the 1st December to commemorate the 61st anniversary of the first official flying of the Morning Star flag in 1961, in the then Dutch colony of Netherlands New Guinea.
The Dutch were finally about to give the West Papuan people their freedom. However, it is one of the great tragedies that at their moment of freedom it was cruelly crushed and West Papua was basically handed over to Indonesia in 1963 by the international community.
Sixty-one years later, the West Papuan people are still struggling for their right to self-determination.
Joe Collins of AWPA said, "Tomorrow, supporters around the world will raise the Morning Star flag in a show of support for the West Papuan people. Civil society groups in West Papua traditionally commemorate the 1st December by holding rallies and flag raising events."
The West Papua National Committee (KNPB) in the Sentani Region will hold a joint prayer and worship meeting to commemorate the 1st.
Hopefully, the security forces will allow planned events to take place peacefully. Last year security forces cracked down on a number of events, arresting activists where the West Papuan flag had been flown. In Jayapura, 8 people were charged with treason.
Joe Collins said, "the human rights situation in West Papua is not improving. At the recent UN Human Rights Council's 41st Universal Periodic Review in November, human rights organisations raised concerns about human rights violations in the region, reports of escalating violence and restrictions on independent observers and the media. 8 countries specifically mentioned the situation in West Papua during the review."
"Although Australia was one of the countries to mention West Papua, we cannot expect too much from the Australian Government in relation to West Papua. However, Canberra could support the call by other countries in urging Jakarta to allow a visit by the UN high commissioner on human rights to the territory and call on Jakarta for the release of all West Papuan political prisoners."