West Papuan blocked from Parliament
Fri, 08 Feb 2013 6:22p.m.
By Brook Sabin
Parliament's new Speaker is embroiled in his first fight, before he's even had a full day in the debating chamber.
West Papuan freedom fighter Benny Wenda is on his way to New Zealand, and while he's spoken at parliaments around the world, he won't be allowed to here.
Mr Wenda is a colourful character. He starts his talks with a traditional greeting, and then a song. He's done this all around the world – at the British Parliament, the Scottish Parliament, and even the United Nations.
But Green Party co-leader Russel Norman says he’s being blocked from talking here.
“Benny Wenda has spoken at many parliaments around the world, but it appears the New Zealand Parliament will shut its doors.”
Mr Wenda says the people of West Papua have suffered atrocities at the hands of the Indonesian military.
In 2002 he was arrested for promoting independence. A year later he escaped prison and fled to the United Kingdom, where he was granted political asylum.
In 2011 Interpol issued a red alert at the request of the Indonesian government. But last year, after an investigation, that was removed. It was deemed to be politically motivated.
The Greens, Labour and Mana applied to the new speaker David Carter to have a function here, in the west foyer, but that was refused.
Labour MP Maryan Street says the decision goes against the spirit of Parliament.
“Parliament is exactly the place where people's points of view should be aired,” she says.
In the past, Parliament has been used for everything from Ahmed Zaoui's book launch, to a wedding.
But the Greens say the Government doesn't want to upset the Indonesians, a big trading partner.
“I think it's pretty clear the Foreign Affairs Minister has had some influence on this decision,” says Mr Norman.
Mr Wenda will bring with him West Papua human rights lawyer Jennifer Robinson – most famous for being Julian Assange's legal advisor.
The function will now be held across the road from Parliament.
The Speaker's office, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs wouldn't be interviewed for this story.
3 News was simply told the function didn't meet the guidelines. There was no further explanation.
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13/05/2013 3:21:45 p.m.
he was a fugitive in Indonesia. He had killed the police in West Papua. He uses violence in diplomacy. The Indonesian government has granted autonomy to West Papua. The Indonesian government has provided substantial subsidies to West Papua.
If the Papuan people are not satisfied to the government, they could be peaceful diplomacy with the government.
I'm an Indonesian, I'm Javanese and I love Papua as Indonesian
9/05/2013 10:13:03 a.m.
Mr Wenda believe and trust the power of God beat all .... God will always be with you, ... go ahead and release this land of West Papua God bless ....
26/02/2013 3:19:55 p.m.
forward not back down
God is always with you
12/02/2013 4:14:32 p.m.
Perhaps if he decided to drop the ridiculous song that he insists on playing with his silly little guitar before he speaks, then maybe we would look past the headgear and actually listen to what this guy has to say. Respect goes both ways.
11/02/2013 6:41:05 p.m.
so the person who denide the human right of speech is he going to be charged for it and takin away from the power he has i think thats what should be done. why is it that the people with the high power jobs when they stuff up who abuse that power just get away with it should they not get fired
11/02/2013 4:49:55 p.m.
John Kelcher wrote:
Good clip. Freedom campaigner is better. "Freedom fighter" (militant?) and "colourful character" are a bit cheap and cheesy. It would be great if John Campbell wold interview Benny?
10/02/2013 11:25:25 a.m.
The NZ government and its representatives appear to be settling in to the idea of being lap dogs to the great powers, political and economic...most recent examples: MGM/Warner Bro's & Sir Jackson's economic blackmailing for not upsetting Hollywood, government and City Council rep's non-attendance at the Shen Yen Performing Arts Company for not upsetting the Chinese, the row over the Dalai Lama's visit for not upsetting the Chinese, and now Mr Wenda, all the while MFAT and the NZ Police provide training to Indonesian police in Papua - for what? To change their security approach? Yeah, right! Indeed, shame on you, New Zealand.
9/02/2013 11:47:20 p.m.
Rosemary McKay wrote:
Greetings from Adelaide, South Australia.
How sad I felt when I read this article as I had always thought that New Zealand was setting an example for Australia to follow as far as human rights were concerned against our brothers and sisters in West Papua. I thought they were not turning a blind eye to the atrocities being committed by the Indonesian Military.
I agree wholeheartedly with Carol Tarrant - trading partners before human rights - shame on you New Zealand.
I would love to be able to attend any talk by Benny Wenda and Jennifer Robinson. Unfortunately Adelaide is not on their itinerary.
9/02/2013 9:33:06 p.m.
Jason Brown wrote:
New Zealand is not the only country to turn its back on West Papua.
Melanesian countries have an equally conflicted relationship, with the regional Melanesian Spearhead Group yet to allow West Papua to join.
Those wishing to see West Papua take greater international prominence might consider this petition to the MSG:
9/02/2013 6:16:14 p.m.
Just Me wrote:
Didn't this government recently refuse to meet or talk to the Dalai Lama because Key's Chinese bosses didn't like it?
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