West Papua flag day December 1st PDF Afdrukken

By Pacific Scoop News-Desk

Sampari were irrogated for wearing the banned Morning Star flagMembers of Sampari, a dance group in West Papua, were interrogated by Indonesian security forces for wearing the banned Morning Star flag. Photo: Pride of Warriors

Those advocating independence of West Papua from Indonesia are again preparing to mark December 1st as West Papua’s national flag day. Fears are intensifying that Indonesia’s government will order its military to crack down on anyone shown to be in possession of the Morning Star flag.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following report is courtesy of Australia West Papua Association’s Sydney branch.

As West Papuan national flag day approaches (1st December), the Indonesian security forces are ready to clamp down on anybody who attempts to raise the Morning Star flag in West Papua.”



The Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)

In fear of a flag.

As West Papuan national flag day approaches (1st December), the Indonesian security forces are ready to clamp down on anybody who attempts to raise the Morning Star flag in West Papua.

It was reported in Tempo Interactive that the Indonesian Armed Forces would intensify patrols near the border with Papua New Guinea before 1st December in areas where the OPM are believed to operate.

The Head of the Papua Regional Police, General Bekto Suprapto, also said that “ he had increased frequency of patrols before December 1. He explained that the patrols were to prevent possible actions by certain people who wish to create negative situations”.

Joe Collins of AWPA questions, why are the security forces so afraid of a flag? Why are there large numbers of political prisoners in jails because they simply took part in rallies where the morning Star flag was raised? If Indonesia really wants the international community to believe that it is a democracy, then it has to stop arresting people for simply taking part in peaceful rallies where they are just trying to bring attention to the injustices they are suffering under Indonesian rule.

The Indonesian Government should immediately release all West Papuan political prisoners and start a dialogue with representatives of the West Papuan people.

It is hoped that the international community and in particular the media, focuses on West Papua leading up to and after the 1st December as away of deterring any crack down on the West Papuan people by the security forces.


Forty eight years ago on the 1st of December 1961, the Morning Star flag was flown for the first time officially beside the Dutch Tricolor. The Dutch were finally about to give the West Papuan people their freedom. However it is one of the great tragedies that at their moment of freedom it was cruelly crushed and West Papua was basically handed over to Indonesia in 1963. After 6 years administration of the province, Indonesia held a sham referendum called the “Act of Free Choice” under UN supervision. Only 1022 handpicked voters, one representative for approximately every 800 West Papuans were allowed vote, and under coercion, voted to “remain with Indonesia. The Papuans call this the’ act of no choice’.

Flag raisings
The West Papuan people raise their flag as an act of celebration but also as a protest against the injustices they suffer under Indonesian rule. Except for a small period of openness when President Wahid came to power in October 1999, the Morning Star flag has been banned.

Two of the most famous West Papuan political prisoners are Filep Karma and Yusak Pakage. On December 1, 2004, they were arrested for being part of a rally where the Morning Star flag was raised. In May 2005, a court sentenced Filep Karma to 15 years in prison and Yusak Pakage to 10 years in prison on charges of treason against the state. Amnesty International considers both Filep Karma and Yusak Pakage to be prisoners of conscience who have been detained solely for the peaceful exercise of their right to freedom of expression.