March 4 2014
from the West Papua Media correspondents in Jayapura and Geneva, with local sources
A broad united front of disparate Papuan civil resistance groups has come together to hold Peaceful gatherings across West Papua, in support of Vanuatu Prime Minister Moana Carcasses’ call for international action on West Papua at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva today.
PM Carcasses used his ten minute address at the High Level segment of the 25th Session of the UNHRC to reiterate a call made at the UN General Assembly last September, for the UN to establish a specific Country Mandate on the situation of human rights in West Papua and to revisit honestly its role in the fraudulent Act of Free Choice of 1969.
The Vanuatu PM, long a champion for his fellow Melanesian’s right to self-determination in West Papua, used an impassioned speech to highlight “grave injustices facing West Papuan people” and to demand the international community take concrete action to end the suffering.
“In a world so closely connected with innovative technology, there should be no excuses about the lack of information on human rights violations that have plagued the Papuan people for over 45 years. Search the Internet and research papers by academic institutions and international NGOs, and you will find raw facts portraying the brutal abbuse of the rights of Melanesian people in Papua,” Carcasses noted.
The Prime Minster beseeched the Human RIghts council. “But why are we not discussing it here in this Council? Why are we turning a blind eye to them and closing our ears to the lone voices of the Papuan people, many of who have shed innocent blood because they want justice and freedom. Many are the martyrs that have been persecuted and brutally murdered because they carry the unspoken fears of the millions now living in fear in the valleys and lofty mountains of Papua. They are demanding recognition and equality and a respect for their human rights and to live in peace. Will this August council hear their cries and now go forward to protect their human rights and put right all the wrongs of the past?”
Carcasses told the UNHRC that “The mandate should include the investigation of the alleged human rights violations in West Papua and to provide recommendations on a peaceful political solution in West Papua.”
Earlier on Tuesday in West Papua, the vibrant gatherings – organised by university students and supported by a broad coalition of civil society and pro-independence groups – were predictably dispersed forcefully by Indonesian occupation forces, however organisers claimed success in expressing their aspirations peacefully and without bloodshed.
Significantly for the struggle for self-determination in West Papua, the participant groups included the widest range of Papuan resistance components seen together for over ten years, with the united front coalition pulling together previously opposing groups under a common banner of supporting the Vanuatu Prime Minster’s efforts to get West Papua on the international agenda. Activists and leaders from the West Papua National Authority, National Federated Republic of West Papua, West Papua National Committee, the Papuan Women’s Movement, Papuan Traditional Council (DAP), West Papua National Coalition for Liberation, GaRDA-Papua , FRONT PEPERA , The Street Parliament (PARJAL), Papuan Student Movement (GEMPAR or “Uproar”), AMPTPI (Association of Central Highland Papuan Students), KMPB (Coalition of Papuan students Rise!), Papuan Students Alliance (AMP), Christian Youth Solidarity Papua (SKK-P), Papuan People’s solidarity for Democracy and Human Rights (SHDRP), all agreed to support the UNHRC support action being coordinated by the Student Executive council at Cenderawasih University in Abepura.
Led by University and high school members of the Movement of Papuan Students (GEMPAR or “UPROAR”), the mass gathered early on Tuesday morning in front of the the Cenderawasih University (Uncen) campuses at Waena and Abepura, erecting a large banner that read “The people of West Papua nation, support the Government of Vanuatu pursuing violations of human rights committed by the Government of Indonesia in West Papua”. Speeches were made outside the campus entrance until 1025am local time, when Indonesian police from Jayapura station attempted to forcibly disperse the protesters listening to speeches.
According to witnesses, over a hundred Police in 6 trucks, 1 Panzer and 1 Police Bus were on standby, and were heavily armed. However as the group of students passed towards Waena, Police from Sentani and Jayapura amassed at the field of They Eluay’s tomb with a full unit of motorcycle commando police (Gegana), eight trucks and three armoured cars. A platoon of heavily armed Brimob police at Post 7 Sentani completed the kettling of students to keep them confined.
Every place throughout the Waena, Sentani and downtown Jayapura was guarded by several platoons of heavily armed Brimob police to prevent students and protestors from gathering. An organiser told West Papua Media’s stringer, “This is a police action in Papua that prohibits students to express their opinions, through peaceful demonstration.”
Students then all gathered to rally silently at the UNCEN yard fence and spread a large banner, displaying photographic evidence of Indonesian Security force’s violence against Papuan People.
An academic at UNCEN, Seth Wambrau, told the gathering, “These police officers, silencing democracy in Papua, this is the example that there is no freedom for students to express opinions freely, it is proving colonialism in Papua is happening.. Special autonomy is specific to the officials of Papua, not the Papuan people!”
The events were ended by Gempar peacefully in the afternoon with no arrests.
Further manifestations occurred in Fak-Fak on the west coast, Merauke on the south coast, and in Manokwari, according to local reports. The Fak-Fak gathering included a deeply sacred traditional pre-Islamic indigenous thanksgiving prayer and coffee ritual for the UNHRC plea for international attention to West Papua by Vanuatu Prime Minister Moana Carcasses Kalosil. Members of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) and Regional People’s Parliament (Parlemen Rakyat Daerah, PRD) provided a security cordon to enable traditional elders and chiefs in Mamur village, Kramomongga district to hold ceremony in support of the Vanuatu delegation’s efforts to bring the world’s attention to West Papua.
According to a description from KNPB participants of the ceremony, the elders then rejected wholly the powers of darkness and evil of all the Indonesia’s power system in West Papua. “After all this ritual is done, then the placenta from the Child returned to the Land, the mother land West Papua, who gave birth to all things, and all life is God’s nation of West Papua. Then all the evil forces of the Republic of Indonesia in Papua were symbolically collected by Mr. Haji Idris Papua Patiran, and were discarded by KNPB security, at least 100 meters from where the activity was taking place in Mamur,” the witnesses described. A procession then occured with a ritual washing of all gathered with the “water of life, in order to reconcile all the people with nature and clean the whole self of any desire to be children of the mutually hostile land.” a sacred representation of the West Papuan desire for independence. The ceremony was finished by the ritual serving of coffee.
The new West Papuan People’s movement (WPM’s term due to lack of official name) united front released a joint statement detailing the litany of suffering of West Papuan people, and demanded:
1 . People of West Papua are demanding to exercise the right of Self-Determination as recognised by the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights
2 . The UN must immediately take responsibility for the violations of human rights that have occurred in West Papua.
3 . People of West Papua ask the UN Human Rights Council to immediately form a special team to investigate all human rights violations in West Papua
4 . People of West Papua urged MSG member countries, specifically Vanuatu, to send a special team to examine and investigate cases of human rights violations that occurred in the region of West Papua.
5 . People of West Papua urge UN member States to immediately urge the Indonesian government to open up democratic space in West Papua.
6 . People of West Papua are asking the UN for the legal protection, over the application of the Wanted Persons List (DPO) to Buchtar Tabuni (chairman PNWP) and Wim Rocky Medlama (Spokesman KNPB), and all West Papuan independence activists.
7 . People of West Papua thank the People and the State Government of Vanuatu for the willingness to bring issues of human rights violations to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Below: Videos from today’s gathering in Abepura. Credit KNPB/Nesta Gimbal)