Papua's "cry for freedom" unheard for 50 years - Wenda | Pacific Beat

Papua's "cry for freedom" unheard for 50 years - Wenda

Papua's "cry for freedom" unheard for 50 years - Wenda

Updated 11 February 2013, 11:32 AEST

Benny Wenda is an activist for the independence of West Papua from Indonesia.

He currently lives in Britain after being granted political aslyum in 2003 but has been unable the country because of an Interpol ' Red Notice' or arrest warrant sought by the Indonesian government.

That threat has now been lifted and Mr Wenda is on an international tour, talking to politicians and policy makers in the USA, New Zealand, Australia and Melanesia.

Presenter:Geraldine Coutts

Speaker:Benny Wenda, West Papua independence activist

WENDA: That's Indonesia trying to because internationally telling the truth about what really happened, what's really going on and Indonesia tried to silence me two years ago.
 
COUTTS: Alright, you're on a tour, an international tour. What is your message in the countries where you're stopping?
 
WENDA: Yeah, I just carried a simple message. My people cry for freedom last 50 years and even internationally Indonesia is trying to silence me, because I think I was telling the truth and I carry the message of my people, because their world is ignoring them, so I think it's travelling that's raised the issue as well as telling the politician government here in New Zealand and Australia and some other Melanesian countries.
 
COUTTS: And was that as a result of the independent investigation by Fair Trials International that the Interpol 'Red Notice' initiated by the Indonesian Government was lifted?
 
WENDA: Yes, yes, yes, conclusion was that Indonesia just used political motivation to silence me. It is not only happening to me, but it to my people as well, because my people have been silenced for the last 50 years. So I think the time for the world to hear because of my trip to around the world.
 
COUTTS: What form did that Fair Trial International investigation take?
 
WENDA: Yeah, I think they the investigation was also there is a lot of eyewitness, including Jennifer Robertson, who is my lawyer. She's one of the also give testimony and arguments because she was in  a trial in West Papua, so that is a very strong case against Indonesian Government.
 
COUTTS: And other West Papuans, were they called, did they have their say at the trial as well at the investigation?
 
WENDA: No, only the just Fair Trial and Jennifer Robertson, they working together.
 
COUTTS: Well, what does it mean now? Does it actually allow you to go home?
 
WENDA: No, only this is because, only international, so I cannot go back to West Papua until I my people free and myself free and I will go back a free man.
 
COUTTS: You're not allowed to go back or it's self-imposed?
 
WENDA:  No, I cannot go back, because if I go back, I will be arrested and put in the prison. 
 
COUTTS: What are you hearing about what is actually happening in West Papua at the moment?
 
WENDA: West Papua it's really increasing. It's West Papua I call home of the military and that's why Indonesia now more military since the killing of the Michael Tabuni  and it's last year saw about 20 Papuan were killed, so this is more violence that is committed by the Indonesian military and police and this I call a Secret Genocide Committee by Indonesian government, police and military.
 
COUTTS: It's very difficult because of the censorship of the press, it's very difficult to get accurate and up to date information from West Papua. So how do you know what is going on and how reliable are you're sources?
 
WENDA: We are receiving 24 hours information, because in the day and night, we have people on the ground reporting. But because Indonesia able to clamp down on that area, like Amnesty International ban, Red Cross  are banned, peace brigade is banned and even media, international media, like every media are banned. 
 
Since Indonesia occupied, illegally occupied 1963 until today, Indonesia banned. So why Indonesia hiding, why Indonesia call it a democracy, and a moderate the country, then why not journalists allowed in to West Papua. That is the problem. Indonesia really why are they hiding for and that the simple question for the Indonesian Government.
 
COUTTS: Are you asking the countries that you're visiting, you're saying New Zealand, Australia and Melanesia to act on your behalf to a) allow you to go home and also to grant independence?
 
WENDA: Yes, my trip is simply asking for their support, for free my people and then I will go back a free man. Until my people not free, and I never go back and that might here in Melanesian as well as in New Zealand, Australia. Because West Papua is not Asia, it's Melanesian. They are, because Melanesian people are Micronesia, Polynesia. We are connected in the spirit as well as we are the Pacific, so this is the regional issue, so that's why it's an issue of West Papua never go away from mind of Australia and New Zealand, as of Melanesian country so that is a very important that we got my message to tell that, all the brothers and sisters in the Pacific.

Contributors

Geraldine Coutts

Geraldine Coutts

Presenter

Geraldine is a respected voice on issues in the Pacific and is the presenter of our morning Pacific Beat  program.

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