‘TPPA – walk away’ rally welcomes West Papuan leader Octo Mote

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Visiting West Papuan leader Octo Mote at the Auckland rally against the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership “trade” negotiations. Photo: Del Abcede/PMC


David Robie also blogs at Café Pacific

WHILE New Zealand protesters were giving an emphatic thumbs down to the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership corporate slap in the face of democracy at the weekend, a quietly spoken West Papuan in a yellow raincoat was offering solidarity at the Auckland march.

Octo Mote, a former journalist and now secretary-general of the United Liberation Front of West Papua, was in town to spread the good news of West Papuan strategic self-determination developments to activists and supporters.

He spoke at a packed public meeting in the Peace Place on Friday night less than 24 hours after talking to students at the University of the South Pacific in Fiji before taking part in the anti-TPP/TPPA rally.

Rally organiser Barry Coates introduced Mote to the crowd outside the US Consulate-General.

Apart from welcoming Vanuatu’s initiative to press for a United Nations special envoy on West Papua, and the Solomon Islands decision to appoint a special envoy, Mote was positively upbeat about the upsurge in Pacific regional support for the West Papuan human rights cause.

As usual Australia and New Zealand are dragging the chain.

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West Papuan Octo Mote (right) with Pax Christ’s Kevin McBride at the Peace Place meeting. Photo: David Robie

Mote also had a message about the impending release of jailed West Papuan activist Filep Karma – who is due to be freed today on Indonesia’s Independence Day national holiday, marking 17 August 1945 when the Indonesian nationalists issued a proclamation of sovereignty and began armed resistance to overthrow Dutch colonial rule.

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Karma was jailed in 2004 for 15 years for raising the Morning Star flag, the outlawed symbol of Papuan independence. But he is defiant about the plan to free him from Abepura prison in Jayapura.

He is only interested in an unconditional release so that he can resume campaigning for West Papuan self-determination.

In a statement released through activist circles and cited by Tabloid Jubi, he declared:

“I, Filep Samuel Karma, reject the offer of remitting my sentence in celebration of Indonesia’s National Independence Day on August 17. The independence day of West Papua, my own nation, is December 1.  “I will only accept an unconditional release. If an unconditional release is offered, I would be happy to walk free from Abepura Prison on August 18, my own personal independence day.

“I did not commit any crime when I raised the
Morning Star flag in 2004.

“I will keep campaigning for independence once I am free.”

TPPA rally, Auckland, 15 August 2015. Photo: David Robie
Anti-TPP rally organiser Barry Coates speaking outside the US Consulate-General. Photo: David Robie
TPPA rally, Auckland, 15 August 2015. Photo: David Robie
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TPPA rally, Auckland, 15 August 2015. Photo: David Robie
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  1. This TPPA is actually quite frightening as we have people like John Key and Tim Groser who have very little International Trading Business Experience negotiating away our country’s sovereignty under secrecy.

    I am very very concerned especially with a Pom and a Hungarian Immigrant negotiating on behalf of we New Zealanders. If it smells like a rat it probably is a rat?

  2. What about having a true TPPA, one with our direct Pacific brothers and sisters, before we go selling out to big bros USA or even Mainland China? There is an alternative, an essential one. Of course that will not be the “great deal breaker” that Groser wants to sell us, but we need to have good relationships with our direct neighbours first, to move ahead. As for the rest, we need trade, but it should be more transparent and fair. With NZ having been sold down the toilet bowl over recent decades, it is idiotic to believe we have any more to “offer” the US, Canada, Mexico, Japan or others, who want a “gesture” of some kind, to sign. We sold out already, we sell farm land, we sell Auckland real estate, what else will be sell? Turn our citizens into comfort women and boys???

    • You are 100% right, I don’t really know what else we have to offer the world as we have a very transparent trade policy already.

      Don’t know what Groser & Keys secret squirrell stuff is all about?

      Nothing to hide, nothing to fear?

  3. I wonder if any country could stand apart should the TPPA go ahead: ghttp://www.caftadr-environment.org/left_menu/EAC%20Decision%20No%2012.pdfo

    We really must stand together otherwise our environment will come under the control of the “Environmental Affairs Council” ????

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