Banned flag raised in local store window and staff member silenced with tape across mouth to signify West Papuan oppression
Melbourne – This week Lush QVB will proudly be raising the Morning Star flag in their window. The iconic red, white and blue flag has become a symbol of resistance and the calls for independence for the people of West Papua. Ever since Indonesia seized control of the country in the 1960s raising the flag has been banned and many people have been persecuted and imprisoned for doing so. Right now freedom fighter Filep Karma is serving 15 years in jail for raising the Morning Star at a rally in 2004, and is recognised as a prisoner of conscience by human rights groups around the world. Lush is calling for his immediate release, as well as the release of all West Papuan political prisoners and for a free and fair referendum for all people in West Papua to give them the opportunity to determine their own future.
Media photo opportunity:Where: Lush Cosmetics, Shop 153, Swanston St, Melbourne, VIC 3000
When: Midday, Wednesday 22 August
What: Banned West Papua flag raised in store window. Local staff member silenced with tape across mouth to signify West Papua oppression
Since the start of the Indonesian occupation, it is estimated that 400,000 West Papuan’s have been killed in what has been termed a slow-motion genocide. Lush are supporting the Rize of the Morning Star campaign and this week will be giving all of the money (minus GST) from the sale of their Smell Of Freedom perfume to campaign group.
Megan Taylor, Lush Campaigns Manager says, “The people of West Papua have been struggling against violence and oppression for decades, and their voices are rarely heard beyond the barrier put up by the Indonesian authorities. We hope that by running this campaign we can raise awareness of their struggle and help bring about a free and independent West Papua.”
Ronny Kareni from the Rize of the Morning Star campaign says, “Australia has the power to bring about real change. As West Papua’s closest neighbour, it must lead the peacekeeping force and encourage a dialogue between the Indonesian and Australian government. By standing up and taking action, we can help provide a voice to West Papuans in their fight for freedom.”
For more information please see www.lush.com.auNotes to editors
The Rize of the Morning Star campaign for West Papua is a newly established organization in Australia working full time to shine the light into the dark history of West Papua and to utilize the power of music, film, social media and the entertainment industry to play a key role in sharing resources, skills and knowledge for the future of West Papua. The organization is run by Melanesian activists; Ronny Kareni, Airileke Ingram and Petra Rumwaropen and auspice by the Federated Republic of West Papua in West Papua, Australia and abroad to campaign for the international community to recognize the transitional government of West Papua.
Lush Cosmetics is a campaigning company that make fresh handmade cosmetics, manufactured in Sydney and sold in their 35 stores in Australia and New Zealand. Lush regularly use their stores and web presence as a platform for campaigning organisations. Previous Lush campaigns have included calling for an end to shark finning with Sea Shepherd, petitioning against the Australian and New Zealand coal mining industry and campaigning for marriage equality by staging a national ‘kiss and tell’ protest across all of its stores.
*The term “slow-motion genocide” was coined by academics at the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Sydney.