Lithgow resident and local nurse Anthony Craig has organised a series of speakers to present at Lithgow Workmen’s Club on an issue close to his heart.
Three speakers, including Walkley-award winning journalist Mark Davis, will take the stage at a forum on West Papua on Saturday, February 3.
The speakers will be addressing the conflict and human rights abuses in the territory since control of the west side of New Guinea was transferred to Indonesia in 1963.
Mr Craig, the president of the Free West Papua Papua Party in Australia, said he first became aware of the plight of the indigenous people of West Papua while working as a volunteer nurse in East Timor (Timor Leste), which was also occupied by Indonesia.
In 2015 Mr Craig visited refugee camps in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, made up of West Papuan refugees fleeing their homeland.
“I am just a registered nurse who has done my own research into West Papua and I’m pushing the issue,” he said.
A report released by Amnesty International last year said Amnesty International continues to receive credible reports “of unlawful killings and unnecessary or excessive use of force and firearms by the police and military personnel during peaceful pro-independence protests and gatherings” in West Papua.
“It’s of interest to Lithgow residents because they are tax payers and Australia gives Indonesia aid, when the local community knows we need that money at home,” Mr Craig said.
The West Papua Forum takes place at 10am-4.45pm on Saturday, February 3 at the Lithgow Workmen’s Club.
Human rights activist Sister Susan Connelly will speak on East Timor and West Papua.
Journalist Mark Davis will talk about the documentary he produced for SBS Dateline ‘West Papua’s New Dawn?’ entering the region after a 10 year media blackout.
Tamara Sloper Harding OAM, an ex Australian naval officer, will speak about the high school she is trying to set up in East Timor.
Registration is required to attend, $10 admission. The event is a fundraiser for veteran charity ‘Solider On Australia’.
To register email firstname.lastname@example.org