Saturday, December 3, 2011

Christian Human Rights Group Highlights Plight of Papuan People On 50th Anniversary Of Independence

By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries

PAPUA, INDONESIA (ANS) -- A UK-based Christian human rights group, Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) says that it “remains deeply concerned at the plight of the Papuan people following reports of an alleged crackdown by Indonesian military and police on religious ceremonies marking the 50th anniversary of West Papuan independence from the Dutch.”
A Papuan protester, with his cheek displaying the banned Morning Star flag, takes part in a rally (AFP, Bay Ismoyo)

The anniversary was marked around the region by religious ceremonies, including the raising of the Papuan “Morning Star” flag, a symbol of independence.

The Reverend Socratez Sofyan Yoman, Chairman of the Alliance of Papuan Baptist Churches, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that several people taking part in flag-raising ceremonies have been shot and others arrested by Indonesian security forces.

He stated, “We are here. How can they do this? We are the owners of this land. How can these outside people, these outside people be coming in and killing, arrest and torture us continually?”

CSW says that according to media reports, in one religious ceremony in Timika Indah field, four civilians were allegedly shot by police after the raising of the “Morning Star” flag. The four victims are currently alive and undergoing treatment at hospital, according to a local source. The commander of the Military Command in West Papua has denied the reports.

Reverend Socratez Sofyan Yoman
News of this crackdown comes just over a month after the Indonesian regime brutally suppressed peaceful demonstrations at the Papuan People’s Congress on October 19, killing six people.

CSW was instrumental in organizing a hearing on November 29, 2011, in the European Parliament’s Sub-committee on Human Rights, in which the worsening human rights situation in West Papua was discussed. In a written statement, Father Neles Tebay called upon the European Union (EU) to support the Indonesian government in engaging in open dialogue with the Papuan people.

CSW’s Advocacy Director Andrew Johnston said, “The ongoing and brutal suppression of peaceful protests in West Papua is a clear violation of the human rights of the Papuan people to freedom of assembly, expression and religion. CSW is concerned about rising tensions in West Papua and increased police brutality.

“We urge the international community to facilitate a meaningful dialogue between the Indonesian government and the Papuan people, with the help of international mediation, and to encourage the Indonesia, as a member of the UN Human Rights Council and Chairman of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), to uphold the rule of law and protect human rights in West Papua.”

Note: Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) is a Christian organization working for religious freedom through advocacy and human rights, in the pursuit of justice.

For further information or to arrange interviews please contact Kiri Kankhwende, Press Officer at Christian Solidarity Worldwide on +44 (0)20 8329 0045 / +44 (0) 78 2332 9663, or visit

Dan Wooding, 70, is an award winning British journalist now living in Southern California with his wife Norma, to whom he has been married for 48 years. They have two sons, Andrew and Peter, and six grandchildren who all live in the UK. He is the founder and international director of ASSIST (Aid to Special Saints in Strategic Times) and the ASSIST News Service (ANS) and was, for ten years, a commentator, on the UPI Radio Network in Washington, DC. He now hosts the weekly “Front Page Radio” show on KWVE in Southern California which is also carried throughout the United States. The program is also aired in Great Britain on Calvary Chapel Radio UK and also in Belize and South Africa. Besides this, Wooding is a host for His Channel Live, which is carried via the Internet to some 200 countries and also provides a regular commentary for Worship Life Radio on KWVE. You can follow Dan Wooding on Facebook under his name there or at ASSIST News Service. He is the author of some 44 books. Two of the latest include his autobiography, “From Tabloid to Truth”, which is published by Theatron Books. To order a copy, press this link. Wooding, who was born in Nigeria of British missionary parents, has also recently released his first novel “Red Dagger” which is available this link.

** You may republish this story with proper attribution.

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