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Ed Sheeran

Marae flies flag for West Papua independence

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It can't be flown in its home in West Papua, but the Morning Star flag flew proudly above Takaparawha Bastion Point on Saturday morning.

It was on December 1, 1961 that the flag first flew in West Papua alongside the flag of the outgoing Dutch colonial rulers, in what the people thought was one of the final steps towards independence.

Instead under a controversial United Nations mandate exercise Indonesia took charge of the resource-rich country.

Maire Leadbetter, the author of See No Evil: New Zealand's Betrayal of the People of West Papua, says it's time for New Zealand to join Pacific Island nations in standing up against what she calls the genocide of the West Papua people.

"It's slow genocide and it's made up of threats to their health and threats to their environment, really serious threats to their environment at the moment because of the introduction of palm oil (plantations) that's just completely taking away their paradise forests and their food baskets so at a time when things are that critical, for New Zealand to still say 'we care about Indonesia's territorial integrity' is just outrageous," she says.

Maire Leadbetter says New Zealand speaking out would make a difference.









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