West Papuan people preparing for fresh wave of independence protests demanding referendum

Bintang Papua

The chairman of the KNPB, the National Committee of West Papua, Buchtar Tabuni has told the press that his organisation is preparing to consolidate and mobilise large numbers of people to occupy town centres across West Papua to draw international attention to the cause and, making the following demands:

Pepera, the Act of Free Choice is unlawful and must be handed back. A referendum should be held as soon as possible. International Parliamentarians for West Papua, the IPWP, and International Lawyers for West  Papua, the ILWP, together with the Vanuatu government should facilitate efforts to challenge the legal and political status of West Papua at the UN. And the KNPB wants to mediate the referendum by the people.

‘This is the most democratic way forward,’ he said, ‘as the way leading to independence. The idea to hold a referendum came from the Majelis Rakyat Papua, the Papuan People’s Council.’

He said that the referendum is the middle way towards resolving the West Papua conflict. The pepera occurred in the 1960s, with a huge amount of manipulation, violating basic international standards.

At the present moment, this matter is before the international community, a move to convince the UN to understand the illegality of Papua’s status as part of the Indonesian republic, NKRI. The IPWP and the ILWP were set up to press for these issues to be taken to the UN, and its members have been lobbying governments in their respective countries.

The process has been promoted by the Vanuatu parliament and government which have agreed to take the issue to the UN, namely to the International Court of Justice, and seek an opinion about the political status of West Papua. Similar pressure is under way by the governments of the PNG and the UK. [Comment: There is little evidence at the moment that this statement is true.]

The  process needs to be supported by the mass of the Papuan people, solidly demanding a referendum. The international community is beginning to underrstand what the Papuan people want while Jakarta is closing its eyes and doing nothing to seek a solution, even though thousands of people have demonstrated in support of the decisions of the MRP.

Papuans need to recognise that Indonesia is a colonial power which cannot be expected to find a solution by means of a referendum.

On 2 August, a campaign will begin to point out that the pepera took place at a time of brutal military repression in Papua. This will be the moment when the Papaun people’s  rejection of pepera will become part of a national campaign throughout the territory of West Papua.

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