Rev Socratez Yoman, West Papuan human rights defender visits Aotearoa

Outspoken West Papuan Church leader, Rev. Socratez Yoman will visit Aotearoa between 8 and 20 May to meet with politicians, students, human rights groups, Church leaders, iwi representatives and officials. He will address public meetings in nine centres; Auckland, Napier, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch, Timaru , Dunedin, Tauranga, and New Plymouth.

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’.

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.

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.

Rev Socratez will meet with the Anglican Archbishop Philip Richardson during this visit to Aotearoa, as well as with a representative of the Catholic Cardinal, John Dew. He will also meet with the wide range of groups and individuals who make up the growing Aotearoa New Zealand support movement for peace and justice in West Papua.

Rev Socratez Yoman is available for interview.

For further information contact Maire Leadbeater 027-4 436 957 or Brian Turner 021 1294305

ENDS

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.

Rev. Socratez Yoman’s visit to Aotearoa New Zaland 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.

VOICE FOR THE VOICELESS IN WEST PAPUA

AOTEAROA NEW ZEALAND TOUR MAY 2016

Rev. Socratez Sofyan Yoman

West Papuan author, courageous human rights defender, and

President of the Fellowship of Baptists Churches of West Papua

Monday 9 May – Napier 6pm shared meal, 7.30pm meeting, All Saints Anglican Church, 23 Puketapu Road, Taradale.

Contact Jenny Baker: pjkr.baker

Wednesday 11 May – Wellington 6pm, Rutherford Lecture Theatre 2, Victoria University of Wellington – Pipitea campus, Lambton Quay.

Contact Teresia Teaiwa: teresia.teaiwa

Thursday 12 May – Nelson 5.30pm, Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT), Theatre, Nile Street.

Contact Kester Macfarlane: kc

Saturday 14 May – Christchurch West Papua Forum, 10am – 3pm, Knox Church Centre, cnr Victoria Street and Bealey Ave.

Contact Brian Turner: bhturner

Sunday 15 May – Christchurch Church services 9am & 11am South West Baptist Church, Lyttelton St, Spreydon, ChCh

Contact Brian Turner: bhturner

Sunday 15 May – Timaru 3pm, Woodlands Methodist Church lounge, cnr Woodlands Road and North Street.

Contact Bob and Morven Sidal: sidalsrus

Monday 16 May – Dunedin – 12pm, Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Otago, 518 Castle Street, North Dunedin

Contact Richard Jackson: richard.jackson

Monday 16 May – Dunedin 7.30pm, All Saints Anglican Church, 786 Cumberland Street, North Dunedin.

Contact Barbara Frame: frame

Tuesday 17 May – New Plymouth 7pm, Methodist Church, 58 Liardet Street.

Contact Brenda Fawkner: j.fawkner

Thursday 19 May – Tauranga –7.00 pm.Bethlehem Baptist Church, 90 Bethlehem Road, Tauranga. Contact Peter Archer: p.archer

Friday 20 May – Auckland – 6.30pm, Fale Pasifika, University of Auckland. Wynyard St.

Contact Leilani Salesa: postcolonialtheory

National coordinators: Maire Leadbeater: maire; Brian Turner: bhturner

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