On the 40th anniversary of the Act of Free Choice, a shocking new documentary about the situation in West Papua has just premiered at the UK’s prestigous Green Man Festival.
Filmed undercover without the knowledge or authority of the Indonesian authorities, ‘Forgotten Bird of Paradise’ provides a rare and deeply moving insight into the West Papuan peoples ongoing struggle for freedom from Indonesian rule.
The documentary features interviews with human rights victims of the Indonesian regime, startling footage of OPM rebel fighters, and a moving interview recorded in secret with the Amnesty International recognised ‘prisoner of conscience’ Yusak Pakage. Currently serving a 10 year prison sentence for peacefully raising the West Papuan flag, the interview was recorded in hospital where he was receiving treatment for torture suffered at the hands of prison guards at Abepura Prison. There is also footage and interviews from the launch of International Parliamentarians for West Papua, revealing the developments being made on the international scene towards the goal of West Papuan self-determination.
Speaking on the eve of the film’s launch, exiled independence leader Benny Wenda gave this statement: “For over 45 years the Indonesian Government have attempted to silence my people. They have raped, tortured, intimidated, and committed genocide against my people and our land. But they will never destroy our Melanesian spirit. ‘Forgotten Bird of Paradise’ is our cry to the outside world that we need their help now. Our cries are also directed at the United Nations to intervene now to help stop the bloodshed, and re-run the Act of Free Choice so that we can finally choose our own future. Our struggle will never stop until we are given that right”
More information on the documentary including background information and photos can be found at www.forgottenbirdofparadise.net