West Papua human rights advocate calls for solidarity

By Leah Te Whata

A West Papua human rights advocate is calling for solidarity from the New Zealand Government on issues affecting indigenous West Papuans.

Wensislaus Fatubun says, "West Papuans have been killed, arrested and tortured by the Indonesian authorities especially military and police. Now we're facing difficulties with the population of indigenous Papuans. Now we are a minority."

He’s advocated the mistreatment of his people to the United Nations and is reaching out to the global community for support.

"The UN has made many recommendations to the Indonesian Government to protect indigenous Papuans right in West Papua but the problem is the Indonesian Government doesn’t implement the recommendations."

He says New Zealand is contributing to deforestation and displacement of indigenous West Papuans through the palm oil industry and is calling on the government to take action.

"When palm oil takes the land, west Papuans not only lose their land, they lose their identity, and they lose the place where their ancestors lived. For us as Papuans, we need solidarity from different communities like New Zealand."

Today’s meeting with Ngāti Whātua starts a nationwide tour bringing awareness to West Papuan human rights issues over the next two weeks.