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My people need Access for International Journalists to West Papua. Statement from Buchtar Tabuni, chairman of the National Parliament of West Papua.

My people need Access for International Journalists to West Papua.
Statement from Buchtar Tabuni, chairman of the National Parliament of West Papua.

West Papua was formerly a Dutch colony but handed over to Indonesia in 1960's without consultation of indigenous peoples and completely contrary to their wishes. West Papuan people denied their basic rights to self-determination and independence since then and fight for their rights till today against the increasingly brutal Indonesian military that has killed approximately 500,000 indigenous people.

In an attempt to cover up human rights atrocities, genocide and occupation; Indonesian government still prohibits foreign journalists from reporting in West Papua and the threat of violence limit even local journalists from documenting the struggle for independence.

West Papua people desperately need access to international journalists and media freedom in their country so that the outside world will be able to pay attention to human rights violations going on there. This will enable the international community to act to prevent violence against people of West Papua in the future and allow them their human rights, including their long overdue rights to self-determination.

Recent Indonesian military operations began in Lanny Jaya region of West Papua in an attempt to stamp out pro-independence sentiment. Indonesian army currently burning villages, killing livestock and forced thousands of villagers fled into hiding in the woods where they suffer poverty. On August 6, two French journalists Thomas Dandois and Valentine Bourrat that have attempted to document this emergency situation for the French / German TV channel Arte, was arrested by the Indonesian police. They were threatened with 5 years in prison and a fine of $ 40,000 just because they are journalists operating in West Papua.

I urge you to please urge the Australian government to join with New Zealand by calling the Indonesian government to allow full access to international journalists and media freedom in West Papua.

International insistence is very important to suppress Indonesian state to allow freedom of the media so that the original international journalists like Thomas Dandois and Valentine Bourrat and people of West Papua can freely report the real situation in West Papua and urging.

It is my sincere hope that with your support and your government, the Indonesian government will finally let the truth be told and the world will act to let the people of West Papua exercise their right to self-determination.

Yours sincerely, Buchtar Tabuni, chairman of the National Parliament of West Papua


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