New Zealand concerned about unrest in near neighbour

west papua

In the last four years, New Zealand has become one of the top destinations for West Papuan students to obtain higher education.

Last year, there were 160 West Papuans studying in New Zealand.

In August a long-simmering discontent exploded into a mass uprising.

The number involved has reportedly reached tens of thousands.

At least 10 people are said to have been killed in separate clashes between the demonstrators, and security forces and vigilante mobs.

The trouble was sparked off when security forces and militia mobs stormed the dormitories of West Papuan students studying in Surabaya and Malang, East Java.

The pretext was an accusation – never substantiated – that the students had damaged a flag pole flying the Indonesian flag.

The number involved has reportedly reached tens of thousands.

At least 10 people are said to have been killed in separate clashes between the demonstrators, and security forces and vigilante mobs.

New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) said it was closely monitoring the security situation in West Papua.

MFAT said it has encouraged Indonesia to facilitate a visit to Papua by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

“We have urged Indonesia to respect and protect the human rights of all its citizens,” a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesperson said.

“New Zealand recognises Papua as part of Indonesia’s sovereign territory.

“We continue to encourage Indonesia to promote peaceful social and economic development in Papua.”

Despite MFATs efforts, some say New Zealand has not done enough.

West Papua Action Auckland has written an open letter to Jacinda Ardern.

They are urging her to condemn the racism that started the protests and end the internet blackout which is hampering journalists covering the story.

Source

News category: New Zealand.

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