15 May 2015
West Papua Human Rights leader denied entry by United States
At 2:00pm, May 13, 2015 the United States (US) office of Homeland Security stopped West Papuan Human Rights campaigner Mr Benny Wenda from boarding a Virgin Atlantic flight from London to Los Angeles where he was set to embark on a speaker tour of California and Hawaii at the invitation of human rights groups opposed to ongoing large-scale Indonesian human rights violations and supporting the Free West Papua Campaign..
Pending an explanation from the US Government, the busy two-week schedule of events is moving forward without Mr Wenda. Free West Papua campaigners in California are now even more determined to raise the voice that Indonesia seeks to silence.
The Free West Papua tour of California and Hawaii is moving forward with West Papua independence campaigner Herman Wainggai who has been residing in the Washington D.C. area as an international advocate for West Papua.
According to the Free West Papua campaign in the UK, Mr Wenda was questioned by an official from the US Homeland Securities bureau office at London’s Heathrow Airport, after the check-in airport staff found an alert on their passport system.
Mr Wenda told the official: “I am a Human Rights campaigner from West Papua, I am exiled and am campaigning for West Papua.”
After making phone calls the US official told Mr Wenda that his US visa had been revoked, but declined to say why. He told Mr Wenda to contact the US embassy.
Mr Wenda was issued the ten-year business visa in October 2014 and has already made one visit to Congress staff on Capitol Hill in Washington using it.
Attempts to get answers by the Free West Papua Campaign (FWPC) in both London and Washington have so far met with silence. The FWPC is keen to know why Benny Wenda’s legitimate right to free speech in the US has been quashed and is working to try and get his visa reinstated.
Mr Benny Wenda said:
“I hope that US officials respond to my situation soon so that I can join the tour. Concern is growing from people, politicians and UN officials in the United States about the ongoing genocide in West Papua. I am keen to follow-through their invitation to address these audiences and to urge political action by the US Government.”
As West Papua Human Rights campaigners in the US, we ask our Senators and Congressmen to remove the information block and expedite the red tape as to why Mr. Wenda was stopped by Homeland Security and why his business visa has been revoked.
Contact: West Papua Action Network
Phone: (510) 326-2644