Report – By the Pacific Media Centre news desk
Green MP Catherine Delahunty unfurled the West Papuan independence flag – the Morning Star banner banned by Indonesian authorities – in a dramatic gesture in New Zealand’s Parliament today.
She hoisted the flag in a bid to draw attention to the New Zealand government’s failure to condemn alleged human rights atrocities in West Papua.
The banned flag was also flown on the grounds of Parliament this afternoon by the Green Party.
The flag is raised every year on December 1 in West Papua, despite the risk of arrest by Indonesian authorities for doing so.
Delahunty said New Zealand needed to keep raising human rights issues with Indonesia to have a peaceful and stable region.
She asked in Parliament why the New Zealand government was considering a community policing programme in Papua to help the Indonesian authorities that were arresting and jailing Papuans for up to 15 years for raising the pro-independence flag.
Police Minister Judith Collins replied: “A scoping design is currently being undertaken or about to be completed. On that basis I would have thought that any interaction of the New Zealand police – who I believe are the finest police anywhere in the world – would be of an advantage, and I would have thought that the member would have supported it.”
However, Delahunty said any collusion with Indonesia’s security forces was unhelpful for Papuans.
After her questions to the government on Papua had concluded, she made a move to observe the Papuan independence claim in Parliament but was blocked.
“Mr Speaker I seek leave to table the Morning Star flag of West Papua.”
Speaker Lockwood Smith: “Leave is sought to table that flag, is there any objection? There is no objection.”
Delahunty raised the flag.