Thursday, April 30, 2015

Media Advisory: Protest at Indonesia Consulate in NYC, Wed. April 29

ETAN issued the following:

ons on Access to Papua

Protest to Highlight Restrictions on Access to Papua

Calls for an End to Open Papua to International Journalists,
Aid Organizations and Human Rights Investigator

Contact: John M. Miller, +1-917-690-4391

Today, Wednesday, April 29, 6 p.m., the East Timor and  Indonesia Action Network (ETAN) will  protest Indonesian restrictions on access to West Papua. The protest will take place at the consulate of Indonesia (5 E. 68 St., near 5th Ave.), New York City.
Many of the protesters will be wearing all-black clothing to symbolize the media blackout in Papua. They will be carrying placards, some of which will be "censored" and have their mouths taped shut.

"Why are there such heavy restrictions on access to West Papua?" asked John M. Miller, coordinator of ETAN. "Indonesia's President Joko Widodo should fulfill his promise to end the barriers to journalists, human rights investigators and humanitarian organizations working in the region."

The New York City demonstration coincides with similar protests in more than a dozen cities in London, Australia, Germany, New Zealand, Scotland, Los Angeles, CA. The protests were initiated by Tapol, the British based Indonesia human rights organization. Updates on the protests will be tweeted with the hashtag #openpapua.

A letter asking "What is Indonesia hiding in West Papua?" urges "the end to restrictions on access to Papua" was delivered to Indonesian embassies around the world. The letter, organized by Tapol and signed by  45 organizations worldwide (including ETAN), said "The media blackout in Papua denies the Papuan people the right to have their voices heard and allows human rights violations such as killings, torture and arbitrary arrests to continue with impunity." 

West Papua is one of the world's most isolated conflict spots. For decades, indigenous activists campaigning for their rights have been arrested, disappeared, tortured and killed. Local journalists who uncover the truth face lethal risks. Foreign journalists trying to report on Papua have been arrested, deported, and even imprisoned. One by one, international humanitarian organizations have closed their Papua offices. Access for UN human rights observers has been closed for eight years. Until Indonesia lifts the repressive restrictions on access to Papua, Indonesian security forces and paramilitaries are free to act with total impunity, and indigenous Papuans will continue to be killed.

The East Timor and  Indonesia Action Network (ETAN) was founded in 1991. ETAN supports democracy, human rights and justice in Timor-Leste, West Papua and Indonesia. Website: Twitter: @etan009.

Demonstrate for access to Papua, April 29, 2015, NYC #openpapua