Bishops’ West Papua visit hailed by Catholic women

A Catholic Womens group in West Papua has called for regional support for their people’s plight, after a visit to the Indonesian territory by Catholic Bishops from other parts of Melanesia.

Followers of Muslim faiths generally coexist peacefully with Christians in Papua Jayapura: Indonesian culture has increasingly overwhelmed both Melanesian customs and the West Papuan population.

Among them were the Archbishop of Port Moresby, John Ribat, and the Archbishop of Honiara, Adrian Smith.

More at Radio New Zealand

Byron screening of film to highlight plight of West Papua

A group of surfers travelled to West Papua looking for waves and adventure but instead found the country’s people living under a brutal regime.

Their story is the subject of a film, called Isolated, that will screen at Pighouse Flicks in Byron Bay on Friday night, for one showing only.

The film follows the surfers – Travis Potter, Andrew Mooney, Josh Fuller, Jenny Useldinger, Jimmy Rotherham – as they travel into the ‘no media’ zone of West Papua in search of unexplored waves.

By Darren Coyne; more at Echo Netdaily

West Papua a regional issue, says Liberation Movement

The United Liberation Movement for West Papua says Papua remains an issue for the wider Melanesian region despite Indonesia’s efforts to internalise it.

Since the Liberation Movement was granted observer status in the Melanesian Spearhead Group last year, Indonesia has increased its diplomatic engagement with MSG member states.

Jakarta, which has MSG associate member status, is lobbying to fend off support for West Papuan self-determination and said it had the support of Fiji and Papua New Guinea to become a full member.

More at Radio New Zealand

‘Free West Papua’ Campaign Turns to Social Media for Global Support

The ‘Free West Papua Campaign’ is asking Internet users to post photos supporting the hashtag #LetWestPapuaVote.

West Papua is currently a province of Indonesia, but there is a movement inside and outside the country calling for the establishment of an independent state.The social media campaign promoting the hashtag #LetWestPapuaVote aims to garner the support of the international community in time for the gathering of the International Parliamentarians for West Papua (IPWP) in the United Kingdom Houses of Parliament on May 3.

By Dalia Kiakilir; more at Global Voices

New Catholic report tells stories of murder, kidnapping and torture in West Papua

ALLEGATIONS of recent military and police intimidation, beatings  and torture, kidnapping and murder in West Papua, have been documented in a new Church report.

The report documents Muslims being radicalised in the once predominantly Christian Papuan provinces, and “very active” Muslim militias that burn down Papuan houses.

The report was compiled by the Brisbane Catholic Justice and Peace Commission’s Shadow Human Rights Fact Finding Mission to West Papua, following a visit to West Papua last month.

By Mark Bowling; more at The Catholic Leader

Arrest of activists overshadows MSG leaders’€™ Jakarta visit

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is set to receive foreign ministers from Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) member nations at the State Palace on Wednesday, in a move seen by many as part of the government’€™s attempt to woo the group, which has often voiced concerns over alleged human rights abuses in Papua.

By Bagus BT Saragih and Margareth S. Aritonang; more at The Jakarta Post