Herman Wainggai: Open letter to the President of Indonesia on eve of demos in Papua

by Herman Wainggai

January 17, 2013


Open letter to the President of Indonesia:

I write with the support of the people of West Papua, New Guinea, pro-democracy activists around the world and defenders of the rights of West Papuans, to say that the global support for democracy and freedom, and the end of 50 years of military colonization by Indonesia for will be exercised firmly and peacefully.

Peaceful demonstrations are planned for January 17, 2013 at the Embassy of Indonesia in Washington DC, Los Angeles, as well as in Manokwari, West Papua, Yapen Waropen, Papua, and Australia and the Solomon Islands to demand freedom for West Papuan political prisoners.

Today, people around the world are watching the peaceful demonstration in West Papua, where most are people are ready to take to the streets with music, dancing, and their demand that Indonesia free West Papua political prisoners.

Over the years, peaceful demonstrators in West Papua have been terrorized, imprisoned and killed by Indonesian military police. Edison Waromi, one of West Papua’s human rights defenders, has been imprisoned for more than 14 years, and we were imprisoned together for two of those years. West Papuan activists Edison Kendi and Yan Maniamboy currently are threatened with 20 years in prison for organizing a nonviolent rally in support of the United Nations’ International Day of the World’s Indigenous People in New York in August 2012.

We demand that Indonesia immediately and unconditionally free all West Papuan political prisoners and end its military occupation of West Papua. We also request that the UN Special Rapporteur, who is scheduled to be in Indonesia in January, visit West Papua and meet with imprisoned political leaders of the Federated Republic of West Papua, such as President Forkorus Yaboisembut, Prime Minister Edison Waromi, and others.

Herman Wainggai

Former political prisoner and visiting scholar at George Mason University

2 thoughts on “Herman Wainggai: Open letter to the President of Indonesia on eve of demos in Papua

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  1. I like this letter Herman, I think it is well written and respectful, but I have no idea if the special Rapportuer will raise with SBY, any issues like the problem of abuse of West Papuans at the hands of Indo TNI and Police..or the illegitimate New York agreement, but to be real, the UN have a bad track record in West Papua and in many parts of the world, and they have little integrity in the eyes of the world…i think it will take a large critical mass of outsiders from the first world to get into Papua to bring about real change…sort of like the work that was done by General McCarthers’ forces, to free Papua from the Japanese occupation

    1. Saul,
      you raise good points here with Herman’s letter. Fundamentally however, Frank La Rue has a very different pedigree to most UN hacks in active and fundamental human rights protections across the world. He is probably one of the more outspoken elements of the UN, and his office has been playing very close attention to the situation.
      Whilst it is true, it is a part of the UN, and so of course subject to Security Council inaction, the Special Rap’s office has a lot more sway in international legitimacy – especially to a country like Indonesia. There remains the very real aspect that Foreign donors often must pay heed to the Special Raps findings in order to fulfil their national human rights obligations, as well as some corporate social responsibility policies, and a negative assessment could potentially cost Indonesia billions of dollar per year in foreign aid. And don’t Jakarta know – so that is why they are blocking him from access, because a negative assessment will be made if he has a chance to bear witness or even interview Papuans.
      A Macarthur-type solution will not create any lasting peace in Papua. Macarthur’s maps and those who came after him helped cause the situation in Papua today. It requires civil resistance and a mass of international observers and journalists to be there, working together and for indigenous Papuans.

Please leave a comment. Keep it nice to other users, and remember, no disrepect tolerated. Yell at the killers, not each other; Criticise the abusers deed, not their race or faith.. And please keep it relevant and punchy.

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