Monthly Archives: August 2013

Freedom Flotillas from Timor to Gaza to West Papua

From the Freedom Flotilla website:
Posted on August 24, 2013 by traverser11

The crew of the Freedom Flotilla to West Papua, a journey by sea to Indonesian – occupied West Papua, send a message of solidarity to those who have inspired us by leading the way in creative acts of resistance on the oceans.

As we respect our elders, who have cared for the land while also resisting genocidal colonial regimes, we extend our respect to Indigenous peoples across the globe, and those finding new ways to resist long histories of oppression.

The Flotilla to West Papua is a re-unification of the Indigenous peoples of the West Papua and Australia, two peoples whose lands and cultures were once joined, and are now joining together in common struggle. Long before the colonial era, the Pacific islands including Australia were tied together by trade routes and migrations, song lines and culture.

Today, we seek to revive these connections by setting out across the sea for West Papua, which is cut off by a massive military presence and blockade against journalists and NGOs.

In 1992, a similar action took place, where the Lusitania Expresso set out from Portugal to Indonesian occupied Timor Leste. The crew intended to lay a wreath at the Santa Cruz cemetery in Dili, following the massacre of mourners attending a funeral in 1991. Coming with their offering of peace, they were blockaded by the Indonesian navy and unable to land in Timor. However the events following the Santa Cruz massacre proved to be a critical turning point on Timor’s road to independence, building international awareness and solidarity from people who were prepared to put their lives on the line for Timor’s freedom.

lusitania expresso

lusitania expresso

In 2008, 2010 and 2011 activists from around the Mediteranean and the world sailed in flotillas to Gaza in Palestine. Beginning with just a few old vessels on the first voyage, the initial act of direct solidarity set off a wave of further flotillas, with hundreds making the journey to fight for a freedom and justice in Palestine. Coming up against a military blockade, which prevents not only free access but trade and aid supplies to residents of Gaza, the flotillas’ boats were sabotaged and boarded by the Israeli military who killed several of the activists on board. The Freedom Flotilla to West Papua owes much to these precursors who have created waves across the oceans.


one of the Gaza flotilla

Through the connections between our peoples and our struggles we can create new bonds of solidarity that cross borders, racial and religious divisions. We are inventing new forms of protest that mobilise the power of this shared belief. We form part of an unstoppable global movement that continues to inspire others as the previous Freedom Flotillas have done.

Tent Embassy calls for Sanctions against Australian Government re West Papua Human Rights

Media Release from Aboriginal Tent Embassy 21st August

Aboriginal Tent Embassy activists will seek a meeting with the Ambassador of Indonesia today for an assurance that no aggressive action will be taken against human rights activists on the West Papuan Freedom Flotilla.

A press conference will be held outside the Indonesian Embassy, 8 Darwin Avenue, Yarralumla ACT 2600 at 11 am today Wednesday 21 August 2013.

Aboriginal Tent Embassy calls for sanctions against Australian government, UN investigations to commence in West Papua.

Aboriginal Activists are outraged by Senator Bob Carr’s disregard for human rights, and are calling on the United Nations to sanction the Australian Government for it’s repeated violations of basic human rights.

“Senator Carr and his government need reminding of Australia’s obligations to respect and defend Human Rights as set out in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The world has been watching closely how Australia mishandles Asylum Seekers, the ‘Manus Island affair’, and now we see an unwarranted attack on the democratic and human rights of peaceful unarmed people aboard a small Australian registered vessel. Senator Carr has an obligation to ensure human rights are upheld and respected in any encounter this vessel has with authorities. Instead Senator Carr has virtually invited the Indonesian and PNG governments to arrest and hold the human rights activists, which would make them political prisoners under those same instruments of international law the Senator is flagrantly ignoring.”

If the Australian and Indonesian authorities are to continue their hostile stance towards a legitimate human rights expedition, then we call upon the highest level of the United Nations to intervene and guarentee the safety of passagers aboard the Freedom Flotilla. Further the United Nations must ensure an investigation into the Indonesian occupation of West Papua and the genocide under which 500000 people or more have been slaughtered. The site of the worlds largest gold mine, has been in a state of civil war for many years, with the government in exile jailed in an Indonesian jail in Jaiyapura.

Australians have been through this before with the liberation of Timor Leste (East Timor) and also the end of Apartheid in South Africa, we have heard our governments call people terrorists or just plain irresponsible activists, and in the case of these two countries it was a matter of time before the ‘terrorist’ Nelson Mandela became the one of the worlds most loved free man and President of his people. It will happen with occupied West Papua, it is only a matter of time.

Can Senator Carr please explain the Australian governments role in the genocides fueled by mining interests in Bougainville (Rio Tinto) and now in West Papua as Rio Tinto (in joint venture with Freeport) expand operations there?

Can Senator Carr explain how in 50 years Indigenous west Papuans have gone from being 96 % of the population to about 50 % in 2000, and expected to be only 13% of the population by 2030? What would Senator Carr chose to call what the rest of the world names as genocide? This is Australia’s close neighbour, only 300 km to the north, and yet most Australians know nothing about the gross human rights violations their own government isinvolved in, not just via the mining corporations, but also through the military and AFP ties to Indonesian security forces. Can Senator Carr please explain how one of these, Detachment 88, a particularly brutal force linked to torture and extrajudicial killings of independence activists, receives financial and operational support from the Australian Federal Police?

And if the Australian Government won’t recognise the Sovereign leaders on board the Flotilla, we suggest that is because it is too comfortable with it’s own complicity and that it is time for the UN to reassess it’s relationship with purveyors of genocide.

It’s time for the UN to act urgently – NOW – to protect the Freedom Flotilla, protect and support independent media, investigators, truth finders, to go into West Papua and uncover the truth behind Australia’s violations of human rights.
For more information please call Aboriginal Tent Embassy spoksepeople Alice Haines 0447097659 or Lara Pullin on 0433449024.

Indonesian Threat To Freedom Flotilla

Latest News from ABC Online 17,8,13:
“…the deputy chief of Papuan police, Paulus Waterpauw, says
unauthorised boat arrivals will be intercepted by the navy and likely
be detained by immigration authorities.
He says anybody in the group who has a criminal record or is on the
country’s wanted list will face arrest.
Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has also issued a strong
warning to other countries, saying they should not violate Indonesia’s
sovereignty and upset Indonesians.
He says the Papuan provinces are part of Indonesia and that should be

From the site:

“The Freedom Flotilla to West Papua is an unprecedented event of
creative resistance to the Indonesian occupation of West Papua. The
initiative of Indigenous Elders of Australia and West Papua will
global solidarity and highlight the abuses of human rights and land
rights carried out under the occupations of their lands on an
international stage.”
“As the journey begins from Lake Eyre in June, watch this site and be
part of the growing movement for justice in West Papua, where the
Flotilla will be arriving in September.”

“The Chairperson of Australia East Timor Friendship Association SA, Rosemary McKay was at the Cairns send-off on Saturday, and AETFA has sent a message of support and solidarity to the Freedom Flotilla organisers.”

Freedom Flotilla to West Papua prepares to embark from Cairns

This link will be updated daily to follow the progress of the Freedom Flotilla to West Papua. It is important to keep this event in the eyes of the public as there is not very much media attention at all and there is always the risk of harm to the crew by Indonesian naval boats (as per the Israeli military attack on the peace boat to Gaza in 2011).

The West Papuan Freedom Flotilla will set sail from Cairns on Saturday. A cultural exchange between Australians and West Papuans, it is a display of indigenous solidarity, writes Jenny Denton

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