We are very happy to report that after months of sustained pressure from parliamentarians, international activists and West Papuans, the New Zealand government has finally made an agreement with Indonesia that it will cancel it’s “Aid that kills” to the Indonesian police in West Papua this year apparently because Indonesia supposedly advised that “it is not able to support the project at this time.”
A small but significant victory was made today for West Papua in New Zealand as the NZ Government has confirmed that it will not spend $NZ 6.3 million on training the Indonesian police in West Papua this year.
Earlier this year, New Zealanders and the world were outraged to find that the NZ government spends millions of dollars training the Indonesian police in West Papua, resulting in more deaths and human rights violations.
New Zealand journalist, Paul Bensemann was one of the first to extensively report on the NZ government’s police training in West Papua and many Papuans he met urged New Zealand to stop training the Indonesian police which torture and murder innocent West Papuans.
West Papuans see this kind of “aid as “Aid that kills”.
In January, the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand published a press release calling for an end to this “Aid that kills” to Indonesia.
Green MP Catherine Delahunty said “Not only is our reputation as a country committed to effective and ethical aid programmes at stake, we are also colluding with a brutal police force within a police and military occupied country.
“West Papuans are asking us to stop funding this programme and supporting their violent police, we need to do so now.”
Mrs. Delahunty was delighted at the cancellation of the project and speaking to Radio New Zealand said: “The Green Party is pleased the programme is not going ahead because we felt it was a farce and we were very concerned about the view of West Papuans that this was aid that kills. So we won’t be wasting NZ$ 6.3 million on a whitewash.”
Although the decision to cancel the programme reportedly came from the Indonesian government, we strongly suspect that such a U-turn decision has come after a recent increase in international pressure against the police training deal.
The newly elected Indonesian government does not want the media to publish the news that it had just renewed a 6.3 million dollar police training deal with New Zealand in West Papua and it is likely that the NZ government has also been privately advising them against it.
The Free West Papua Campaign would like to extend our greatest thanks to all New Zealanders who pressured parliament to stop this lethal police agreement and we welcome the cessation of New Zealand training Indonesian police in an area where they are committing some of the worst human rights violations in the world.
Millions of dollars of aid to West Papua should not be spent on the Indonesian police who murder Papuans but on the people of West Papua themselves, and in helping to facilitate the peace and self determination process.
Thank you New Zealand for making the right and moral decision to agree the ending of anymore “Aid that kills” being sent to West Papua.
Photo: Mana Party leader Hone Harawira and Labour MP Maryan Street join Free West Papua Campaign founder Benny Wenda, his lawyer Jennifer Robinson and Catherine Delahunty on New Zealand’s parliament’s steps in 2013