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Demonstrations held in Pacific to mark Papuan flag day

Radio New Zealand International - December 1, 2017

Demonstrations have been held around the Pacific to mark the anniversary of West Papua's declaration of independence when the Morning Star flag was first raised.

It's 56 years since the Papua nationalist flag was first officially flown in the former Dutch New Guinea, shortly before Indonesia took control of the territory. The Morning Star was subsequently banned.

At today's flag Morning Star raising ceremony in Auckland, the New Zealand Green MP Golriz Ghahraman said it was important to maintain vocal about the issue.

"The West Papuan situation is essentially one of the most serious ongoing human rights abuses in and around the Pacific, which is our neighbourhood. So standing by or being silent starts to become complicity on our part and New Zealand's always led on these issues."

Ms Ghahraman said diplomatic pressure should be kept up on Indonesia to push for human rights improvements in West Papua. The New Zealand MP said diplomatic and trade pressure should continue to be applied on Indonesia to push for human rights improvements in West Papua.

The flag was subsequently banned after Indonesia took control of the former Dutch New Guinea in 1962.

Ms Ghahraman says human rights abuses in Papua persist and New Zealand should keep the issue on its agenda with Indonesia. She also says action needs to be taken to halt the destruction of Papuan rainforest.

"I would like us to move to a place where we regulate trade in such a way where we don't trade in a way that benefits from human rights abuyses incluing environmental atrocities," she said.

"So I would like us in our law to take into account the way that products are made and the way that resources are gotten before we buy these things."

Source: http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/345184/demonstrations-held-in-pacific-to-mark-papuan-flag-day.

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