West Papuan human rights defender visits Aotearoa

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West Papuan human rights defender visits Aotearoa

WANI/Scoop – Outspoken West Papuan Church leader, Rev. Socratez Yoman will visit give his final talk at the end of a nationwide tour this Friday 20th of May, 6:30pm at the Fale Pasifika, University of Auckland. The event will be co-hosted by Oceania Interrupted …Rev Socratez Yoman, West Papuan human rights defender visits Aotearoa

Outspoken West Papuan Church leader, Rev. Socratez Yoman will visit give his final talk at the end of a nationwide tour this Friday 20th of May, 6:30pm at the Fale Pasifika, University of Auckland. The event will be co-hosted by Oceania Interrupted and Auckland University Pacific Islands Student Association.

On his nationwide tour he has met with politicians, students, human rights groups, Church leaders, iwi representatives and officials across the country.

Rev. Socratez Yoman, who is the President of the Fellowship of Baptist Churches in West Papua, describes himself as a ‘voice for the voiceless’. He is known to be on a military watch list but disregards his personal safety to advocate for the victims of repressive rule in West Papua and against the ‘lack of dignity and humanity in the integration of Papua into Indonesia’.

Rev. Socratez Yoman’s visit to Aotearoa New Zealnd in 2016 is supported by a number of human rights, social justice, and church groups including: West Papua Action Auckland, West Papua Action Canterbury, Oceania Interrupted, Auckland University Pacific Island Student Association, Pax Christi, Va’aomanu Pasifika, Youngsolwara Poneke, Children of Tangaroa Trust, Peace Movement Aotearoa and Christian World Service.

While he is a humanitarian fighter who calls a spade a spade, Rev. Socratez Yoman is also a strong advocate for the peaceful way forward and for a dialogue mediated by a neutral third party.

Background

Rev. Socratez Yoman was born in Jayawijaya in the Highlands and is married with two children. He is the President of the Fellowship of Baptist Churches in West Papua and has briefed Australian, UK and European parliamentarians as well as UN representatives about West Papua. He is held in high esteem by major international peace and justice NGOs.

He has written at least five books on West Papua, including (titles translated): Papuans Are Not Separatists, Gate to Free Papua, Referendum 1969 in West Papua Was Not Democratic, The Silence of The Churches in The History of Abuse and Repression of People of West Papua.

West Papua

West Papua forms the western half of New Guinea. Since 1963 when Indonesia took military and territorial control, ongoing conflict has led to at least 100,000 deaths. Papuan campaigners say they are experiencing ‘slow genocide’ and Josephite Sr Susan Connolly, who recently visited the territory, said she felt she was stepping back in time to her visit to Timor Leste when it was occupied by Indonesia. The universal church is increasingly in the eye of the storm. This month a Catholic Women’s group in West Papua issued a strong appeal for the regional church to offer support for their plight after a visit to the territory by Catholic Bishops from other parts of Melanesia.

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