Media Release – Free West Papua Campaign Scotland

Media Release – Free West Papua Campaign Scotland

TRIBAL LEADER, BENNY WENDA, INVITED TO SCOTLAND TO WITNESS A NEW KIND OF REFERENDUM

Benny Wenda, Nobel Peace Prize nominee and founder of the Free West Papua Campaign (FWPC), arrives in Scotland today to witness the Scottish Referendum on Independence.

Benny Wenda will visit Glasgow this afternoon to meet Linda Fabiani, MSP for East Kilbride, and participate in the YES information rally in George Square. He will then be in Edinburgh later this evening to attend the #YesHope Global Solidarity gathering at the Meadows, Melville Drive, before joining the Radical Independence Edinburgh group tomorrow at the count in Ingliston, serving as a counting agent through the night on Thursday.

He said:

“In Scotland I will see with my own eyes the peaceful and democratic way for a people to express their own self-determination. Here I will see exactly what we have been working for in West Papua and what, for so long, we have illegally been denied. Whether the Scottish people want to be Independent or remain part of the UK, is a decision they can reach fairly. There will be no guns here, the army will not threaten people and force them to vote one way or another”.

Benny emphasises the significance of the Scottish referendum on Independence to the plight of the people of West Papua and said:

‘It is important for the West Papuan people, the Indonesian people and the people of the world to observe Scotland at this time; to see how an act of self-determination is carried out to international standards”

Natalie Smith, Secretary of the Free West Papua Movement in Scotland says:

“We are delighted that the founder of the internationally renowned FWPC can witness the imminent referendum and that Scotland serves as a beacon of hope to other nations without states, of what can be achieved.”

The atmosphere of peace, the democratic engagement of the masses, and the right to freedom of speech permitted at the Scottish referendum is something novel compared to the campaign for self-determination in Wenda’s home nation.

There, in West Papua, the campaign to free his people from the Indonesian colonial rule is considered to be sedition against the Indonesian authorities. The Indonesia militia try to subjugate the West Papuan’s peaceful protests with tactics of intimidation, incarceration without due legal process, and by opening fire on demonstrators on a regular basis.

On this matter Wenda said:

“West Papuan people have had our right to self-determination illegally denied to us for over 50 years. It is therefore important that the Indonesian government sees how a referendum takes place in a peaceful, democratic and dignified fashion, where citizens are allowed to freely express their desires.

What we see in Scotland is what we ask for and will see in West Papua, and what, under international law is legally ours. It is the future for our people in West Papua. The opportunity to fulfil our legal right to self-determination”.

Wenda is humbled by his reception in Scotland and particularly appreciative of the strengthening links with the Scottish Parliament and the show of support from the people of Scotland.

“I am grateful for how well my intended visit to Scotland has been received and for the example shown to the world by the Scottish people that self-determination can exercised in such an honourable way”.

Wenda has led a campaign striving to end Indonesian oppression, forceful occupation and subjugation of West Papua since 2004 and desires a peaceful referendum as part of due democratic process for the people of West Papua.

 

ENDS

 

For more information or comment, please contact Natalie Smith on njay7@hotmail.com, 07883202154 or Benny Wenda on bwenda@infopapua.org, 07411053953

 

NOTES TO EDITORS

 

1. The FWPC seeks to obtain self-determination for the people of West

Papua, believing such to be their fundamental right under

international law, however the country has been occupied since 1963 by

Indonesia. During this ‘occupation’ it is reported that tens of

thousands of Papuans have been killed in a ‘silent genocide’ and suffered systematic violation of human rights, including rape, torture,

extrajudicial killings, arbitrary detention, seizure of traditional

lands, theft of natural resources, and extermination of tribal peoples

has taken place.

 

For more information on the Free West Papua campaign visit:

http://freewestpapua.org/

 

For more information on Benny Wenda, visit:

http://bennywenda.org/

 

  1. The people of West Papua have endured gross violation of justice and international law at the hands of Indonesia since its claim and subsequent occupation of West Papua in 1963. It is estimated that over 400,000 people have since been murdered and 79 political prisoners incarcerated without adequate legal process. The Indonesian government’s use of political incarceration, censorship, arbitrary detention and disappearances, the wide use of rape, sexual abuse, torture, threatening behaviour and a transmigration program by the Indonesian state and its officials illustrate the brutality and oppression of the West Papuan people by Indonesian colonial occupation.

Visit www.freewestpapua.org www.bennywenda.org

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