By Herman Wainggai, West Papua National Authority
September 15, 2011


I have lived in Australia for the past five years and have visited the United States several times. Currently I am in America working to promote democracy and human rights in West Papua; a right that my people have been desperately struggling to win for almost fifty years.Even in the recent past West Papuans have continued to be hunted like animals but our resolve has never diminished to win independence and become our own self-governing nation.

Since 2009 when the Australian government granted thirty-nine West Papuan friends and myself political refugee status in 2006. Australia has given us protection, permanent residency and in some cases Australian citizenship.

My question to Indonesia is, “Why do the Australians value the lives of West Papuans and allow us to enjoy our freedom while at the same time the majority of West Papuans do not even know what freedom feels like?

On October 8 and 9 there will be an historic meeting of the West Papua National Authority Congress unlike any other in our past. It will take place in Port Numbay, the capital city of West Papua. The people of West Papua have known for seven years of the existence of the West Papua National Authority (WPNA). At the meeting we hope to break new ground on the soil of our beloved homeland and forge new and vital relationships with important international powers. Additionally we will be meeting in Cenderawasih University on 16-19 of October. The floodgates of democracy will soon swing wide open and we West Papuans will finally realize our dream of merdeka and the international community shall be behind us on a journey as a nascent, democratic nation.

My hope is that the American government will continue to hear the voices of West Papuans through our presence here in Washington, D.C.

I would like to request that the international community hears our call for help and understands that our policy of peaceful protest is rooted in 50 years of repression and violence. Our continuing struggle for freedom is clearly endorsed and encouraged by President Barak Obama of the United States as illustrated by his words spoken in April 2009 in Prague:

““…peaceful protest could shake the foundations of an empire, and expose the emptiness of an ideology. It showed us that small countries can play a pivotal role in world events, and that young people can lead the way in overcoming old conflicts. (Applause.) And it proved that moral leadership is more powerful than any weapon.” ”

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