Tag Archives: Edison Waromi

West Papuan leader urges peaceful defiance in the lead-up to December 1st

Papuan Leaders take a sit in floor of Papuan Police Prison. From left to right each of them; Edsison Waromi SH (Prime Minister), Forkorus Yaboisembut S.Pd ( President Republic Federal State of West Papua), Dominikus Surabut ( Aktivist)), Gad Wenda (Aktivist ), Agus Senandy Kraar (Aktivist ) and Selpius Bobii (Chair of Orginizing Commettee of Third National Papua Congress). (Photo: West Papua Media)

30 November 2011

Exclusive interview by Alex Rayfield (New Matilda) with West Papua Media

The President of the Federal Republic of West Papua may be behind bars, he may have been savagely beaten by the Indonesian police, but he has not been silenced. From his 5×4 meter cell in the bowels of the Jayapura Police Station – quarters he shares with five other Papuans also charged with rebellion against the Indonesian state – Forkorus Yaboisembut recently issued a rousing call to action smuggled out of prison.

“To all the Papuan people” Yaboisembut writes, “don’t be afraid to celebrate December 1st, whether you do so simply, or as part of large gatherings. Do not be afraid because we, the Papuan people, do not intend to destroy any country; we only wish to defend our political rights.”

Our interview, the first – clandestine – interview with Western media, may be constrained by time and space, but I can picture the tribal elder from previous meetings. He is a quietly spoken man, late in years but strong and alert. He walks tall, sits up straight and dresses neatly in long dark pants; polished slip-on shoes and patterned but subdued crisply ironed business shirts. His short hair and longish grey beard gives him the look of an Old Testament prophet, grandfatherly if you like.

It is painful to think that he when he was arrested on October 19 he was tortured so badly that he could barely sit down – or stand. Dominikus Surabut, from the West Papua Council of Customary Tribal Chiefs, who was detained with the man who is now the President of the Federal Republic of West Papua and who was also badly tortured, tells me that when Mr Yaboisembut was arrested the Police beat him mercilessly with a rifle butt, raining blows down on his head and crashing their weapons into his solar plexus. In a widely published Indonesian language account of the arrest, a religious leader said that an Indonesian soldier was ready to shot him dead but was urged not to by a policeman.

West Papuan’s political rights, Mr Yaboisembut says, are inalienable. “Whether you take the United Nations founding document, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Political Rights or even the Indonesian Constitution as your starting point, Papuans have the right to self-determination.”

Forkorus Yaboisembut S.Pd and , Edison Waromi,SH

“The preamble to the 1945 Indonesian Constitution mentions expressly, that independence is the right of all Nations, and because of this colonialism must be swept away, it is consistent with the principles of justice and humanity. Consequently, the people of Papua cannot be blamed in accordance with any law for wanting to celebrate their national day.”

These ideas, the same ideas that inspired Indonesians to liberate themselves from Dutch rule, are igniting the imagination of entire generation who yearn to be free. What makes Mr Yaboisembut’s ideas even more extraordinary is that he is urging an insurrection that grounded in what he calls “human dignity”.

“December the first 2011, is the fiftieth anniversary of when Papuans first raised the Morning Star flag. It is our golden anniversary, the year of God’s liberation” he says evoking the images of the ancient Jewish custom of Jubilee – of freeing captives and erasing debts. “It must be celebrated in an atmosphere of peace, safety and calm”.

“To Papuans, I therefore say, do not carry out acts of terror, intimidation or commit violence of any kind towards anyone, for whatever reason, whether they are Papuan or migrants.

“Do not be afraid,” Mr Yaboisembut repeats, “God is with us.”

Papuan leaders are standing infront; Forkorus Yaboisembut S.Pd, Edsison Waromi SH .behind Dominikus Surabut, Gad Wenda, Agus Senandy Kraar and Selpius Bobii (Photos: West Papua Media)

“The roots of our oppression is political” says Mr Selphius Bobii, Chair of the Committee of the Third Papuan Congress, who also shares a cell with Mr Yaboisembut and Surabut. “The annexation of our country by Indonesia and the acquiescence of the international community has resulted in state sanctioned human rights violations and creeping genocide.”

Those arrested on October 19 in the wake of the Third Papuan Congress are not backing down from the declaration of independence. “We are committed to using people power, diplomacy and the law to achieve our rights” Bobii tells me.

Dominikus Surabut says that he and the other prisoners are refusing to sign police statements charging them with “rebellion” (makar) under sections 106 and 110 of the Indonesian Criminal Code.

“We have done nothing wrong” Surabut says. “We have a political right to declare independence. We do not seek to destroy Indonesia or any other country. On the contrary, it is the Indonesia state that has attacked us.”

How can it be, they rhetorically ask, that the Indonesian police get written warnings for killing Papuans when Papuan activists nonviolently exercising their rights to freedom of expression are beaten and jailed?

Is this the same country that Obama and Gillard lauded for being a beacon of democracy?

In a widely published letter in support of Papuan political prisoners Human Rights Watch says that the articles under which the six Papuan political prisoners arrested after the Third Papuan Congress have been charged “are a legacy from the Dutch colonial era”. Charging nonviolent activists with rebellion is “in violation of the Indonesian Constitution, Articles 28(e) and 28(f) which respectively afford “the right to the freedom of association and expression of opinion,” and “the right to communicate and obtain information for the development of his/her personal life and his/her social environment, and shall have the right to seek, acquire, possess, keep, process and convey information by using all available channels.”

The charge of rebellion is also inconsistent with Indonesia’s international obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) which Indonesia ratified in 2006, a point which the jailed Papuan leaders make repeatedly to me. Besides, the Papuan leaders sigh, we have been left with no other option. “Special Autonomy has totally failed and even the MRP, a state institution convened a meeting which came up with eleven recommendations, one of which was to hold the Third Papuan Congress.”

Outside their police cell, in the streets of the cities and towns of West Papua, in the cloud covered mountains and on the coconut palm fringed coasts a new political consensus is emerging. This consensus has been forged not through endless meetings of the Diaspora, nor in stillborn discussions with political elites in Jakarta, nor in the conference halls of NGO deliberations, but in the furnace of political action. It is simply this: that West Papua must be free.

After the Congress three overlapping political groupings have emerged: the Papuan Peace Network who is calling for political dialogue, the West Papua National Committee who demands a referendum, and the Papua Congress leaders (supported by a loose alliance made up of the West Papua National Authority, the Council of Customary Papuan Chiefs, the Presidium Dewan Papua, and the West Papua National Coalition for Liberation).

The killings of nonviolent Papuans by the Indonesian police and military on October 19 have divided ordinary Indonesians, flushing out ultra-nationalists and their racist discourse, and outraging political moderates longing for a different kind of future than the one left to them by former dictator Suharto.

Inside Papua the massacre appears to be having a unifying effect, although Papuan politics remains complex affair. The West Papua National Committee who opposed the Congress later marched in support of the six political prisoners. Father Neles Tebay, respected intellectual and leader of the Papua Peace Network has intensified the demand for political dialogue. It is a call that has been supported by Yaboisembut and others. “All Papuans, wherever they are must respect the dialogue process democratically initiated through the Papuan Peace Conference and the Papuan Peace Network” wrote Mr Yaboisembut in a message smuggled out of prison.

Whether the Indonesian police and military act in a similarly dignified manner, or not, remains to be seen.

As I write this a long-term Papuan human rights activist sends me this message: “there’s an increase of military patrol of soldiers around Jayapura Township.” Some put the numbers as high as forty thousand. Reports are filtering in of troop surges in Sorong, Paniai (where gunshots have been heard), the border region and Jayapura.

“The atmosphere here is quiet but eerie” my friend writes. We are all waiting to see what December 1 will bring.

Papuan state leaders warn Papuan not to be provoked on 1 December

Bintang Papua, 17 November 2011The Federal Republic of West Papua (Republik Federasi Papua Barat) has issued an instruction to Papuan people everywhere  to beware of certain groups of people who will try to provoke the Papuan people to raise their flag, which will trigger a response from the security forces who may start shooting people. This is particularly necessary for 1 December which is Independence Day of the Papuan people.

The instruction was issued by Forkorus Yaboisembut, president of the Republic, and Edison Waromi, its prime minister.

The instruction was conveyed in a press conference  held by the spokesman of the transitional government, Jack Wanggai and a member of his staff, Heppi Daimboa, on Thursday.

He also said that  there are groups called the TPN which have been set up by the Indonesian army and police, who will try to provoke the Papuan people.

He also said that the name of the flag which until now has been publicised as Bintang Kejora is now called Bintang Fajar. This is in accordance with a decision taken at  th Papuan People’s Congress held from 24 May till 4 June, 2000 when it was decided to change the name of the flag from Bintang Kejora to Bintang Fajar. This decision was re-affirmed by a decision taken at the third Papuan People’s Congress  held from 17 – 19 October 2011, which also adopted decisions regarding the currency, and the seven tribal regions which are now called the seven federated states.

The President and the Prime Minister also called on  all Papuans to take part in thanksgiving prayers in locations that will be identified and should consist of peaceful actions, long marches and other activities. ‘Anything that happens outside these instructions are not the responsibility of the President and the Prime Minister,’ he said.

Forkorus and friends receive heroes' welcome

Forkorus and friends receive heroes’ welcome

(Bintang Papua)The chairman of DAP, the Papuan Traditional Assembly, Forkorus Yaboisembut, and five others who recently attended the public hearing at the US Congress arrived back on Papuan soil yesterday at Sentani Airport to a heroes’ welcome as if returning from the battle-field. On their
arrival, Forkorus and his group were welcomed  by the Boy Eluay, the son
of Theys Eluay.

Troops from the Petapa  security forces maintained a tight guard along
the way taken by Forkorus and the others. As they entered the airport
arrivals area, they were invited to step on a large china plate and
nokens [string bags] were draped round their necks [a ceremonial welcome
for special people] while the woman in the group had her head half
covered with a jilbab. The Petapa guard was closely maintained from the
arrivals area to the cars waiting outside. A group of musicians was also
there to welcome Forkorus and his colleagues. They then drove for 45
minutes to a specially constructed pendopo .

After prayers were said, Forkorus said that they had visited the US at
the invitation of the US Congress to attend a public hearing at the
Congress. He said that this was evidence that the US regards the Papuan
with respect and wants to build a new friendly relationship in order to
help the  Papuan people.

Responding to negative remarks  made by the US ambassador  who said that
Papua is  part of  NKRI, he said that this was just a political
statement whereas all the arrangements for the group’s departure to the
US had been handled by the US embassy in Jakarta.

Herman Awom who also particiated in the visit to the US said that during
their  presence at the congressional hearing,  two other Papuans were
deliberately  included by Indonesia,  Franzalbert Yoku and Nikko Messet,
whose words describing Papuans as stupid and lazy were described as
regrettable by Eni Faleomavaega. a member of the US Congress.

Eni Faleomavaega said it was regrettable that Nikko Messet had said of
his own people that they were lazy and stupid.

It was also reported that Forkorus and his colleagues will repeat their
testimonies on the following day at the graveside of Theys Eluay.

WPNA: WEST PAPUANS WANT PAYBACK FROM THE US

MEDIA RELEASE:  WEST PAPUA NATIONAL AUTHORITY, 22 Sept 2010

WEST PAPUANS WANT PAYBACK FROM THE US

Today there are rallies at US Embassies in West Papua, Jakarta, Melbourne and Perth, reminding US Senators in a Congressional Hearing in Washington of Indonesia’s atrocious human rights record in West Papua and the republic’s dismal effort to decentralize, demilitarize or democratize.

West Papuan lawyer, Edison Waromi, who is President of the West Papua National Authority, arrived in Washington this morning to attend the Congressional hearing.

“We West Papuans have a lot of history with the United States” he said. “General MacArthur’s children might not know their father dropped us two thousand guns to fight the Japanese during World War 2. John Kennedy’s children probably don’t want to know their father called us ‘just 700,000 cannibals’ as he artfully bullied the Dutch into relinquishing its colony to the Indonesians. I would of course remind Ellsworth Bunker’s children that their father was the architect of the New York Agreement that enslaved us to the Indonesians. And then there’s Mr Kissinger and the whole Freeport mine business”.

The West Papua National Authority/West Papua National Consensus is in Washington to advise American politicians to support

(1)     The re-insertion of West Papua on the UN Decolonization List

(2)    West Papuans’ inalienable right to self-determination in terms of the recent ICJ ruling on Kosovo

(3)    An international fact-finding and peace-keeping mission to West Papua immediately.

“Ultimately someone has to take responsibility for the 546,000 ‘missing’ Papuans since the beginning of the Indonesian occupation in 1962” said Mr Waromi.