Jayapura, Jubi – A diverse line of local musicians will be playing at The Wine Cellar and Whammy Bar on July 4 in a show of solidarity with West Papua’s Struggle.
The acts will include SJD, Mara TK, Tourettes, The Bads, Steve Abel, Nightchoir, Will Wood, Reb Fountain, Road Warriors and Loud Ghost.
The people of West Papua are NZ’s Melanesian neighbours; they share the island of New Guinea with the people of independent Papua New Guinea. In 1961 West Papuans were on track to achieving independence from the Dutch but in a cold war trade-off they were forced to accept rule from Indonesia.
Since this time the indigenous people of West Papua have been subjected to gross human rights violations.
International and Indonesian human rights groups have documented the extensive use of torture and killings by the security forces in West Papua. There is ongoing suppression of freedom of expression and now over 70 West Papua political prisoners languishing in jail for nothing more than raising the Papuan Morning Star flag or taking part in peaceful events.
NZ West Papua Solidarity Activist, Maire Leadbeater explains says “The West Papuan resistance is now largely a peaceful struggle: a David and Goliath contest in which our solidarity can help to tip the balance. Remember East Timor. The odds were against East Timorese Independence until international action reached a high level.”
“West Papuan people need international support to push for a peaceful dialogue with Indonesia. If action is not taken now the people of West Papua face extinction as a people due to military operations, environmental exploitation, rampant HIV/Aids, and unrestricted migration.”
The solidarity show organiser and NZ musician Dave Khan says that “we all see the urgent need to support this cause and feel the show will raise awareness of the human rights situation in West Papua to a NZ audience. Through music we can get people together and start them talking.”
Funds raised from the show will go towards the expenses to bring outspoken West Papuan journalist and human rights advocate Victor Mambor to New Zealand Aotearoa. Mambor will be a keynote speaker at the seminar ‘West Papua: the Pacific’s secret shame’ taking place at the University of Auckland, on 1 and 2 August.(*)