Third Papuan People’s Congress opens

Bintang Papua, 18 October 2011The Third Papuan People’s Congress opened on Monday according to plan at Lapangan Zakeus [in the open air]. However, the  plan for it to be opened by the general director for regional autonomy of the interior ministry was not realised so instead it was opened by the collective Papuan leadership and marked by the beating of a tifa drum.

Speaking on this occasion, Forkorus Yaboisembut said the objective of the congress was to discuss the basic rights of the indigenous Papuan people and not to destroy the NKRI.

‘Although we will be discussing political rights, we respect the Indonesian government because our intention is not to destroy NKRI. This is a matter of principle,’ he said, speaking to journalists after opening the congress.

‘What we are doing is to struggle for the rights of the indigenous Papuan people. This includes our basic right as a nation.’  Speaking as part of the collective leadership as well as chairman of Dewan Adat Papua  [Papuan Traditional Council], he said he had no personal agenda. ‘But the people have their aspirations and the Indonesian state and other states should respect this.’

He went on to say: ‘If all parties  uphold democracy, basic human rights and international law, the Third Papuan People’s Congress should not be regarded as being illegal. If everyone in the world is committed, the activities  taking place here in Papua should not been seen as being illegal or against the law. Law is relative,’ he said.

The congress was opened with a prayer and the blowing of the sangkakala trumpet. Forkorus led the prayers together with the leaders of seven regions. The national anthem ‘Hai Tanahku Papua‘ was sung, the only song to be sung as part of the congress agenda.

The Morning Star flag which was flown was quite big and was unfurled twice on a wooden pole while musicians accompanied women dancers who were wearing shirts made of the flag.

The chairman of the congress committee, Selfius Bobii, in his opening address, called on all who were present to be of one heart and determined to bring about change.

‘Past history is realised in what happens today, and the future depends  on what happens now,’ he said, speaking with great feeling. Although his address was interrupted because of the sound system, he gave an account of Papuan history. In the days before  the arrival of people from outside, Papua was a paradise on earth..  ‘During the Dutch colonial era  and the Indonesian colonial era, this paradise on earth turned in a hell on earth.’ Papua’s paradise which existed before the arrival of outsiders is what we are longing for.’

Third Congress: Forward to Peace.

Congress regulations for the proceedings were read out, which included things that the participants should not do and were agreed by everyone present.

After the regulations had been read out, the congress continued with each group from home and abroad presenting their political views. The first person to speak was Frans Kapisa, chairman of the WPNA.  He was followed by a statement from a representative of TPN/OPM from Kasuari Manokwari which was read out by Yakop Dimara (commander). This was followed by a political statement by a representative of TPN/OPM from the mountains who did not want his name  to be reported in the press.

The statement from TPN/OPM marked the conclusion of expressions of political opinions yesterday while others will make their statements tomorrow (ie today) starting as 8am. These political presentations expressed love for a peaceful struggle, although at the start there was some talk about the use of violence.

[Translated by TAPOL]

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