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West Papuans Testify: Excerpt from “Merdeka and the Morning Star: Civil Resistance in West Papua”

West Papuans Testify

Book Excerpt from “Merdeka and the Morning Star: Civil Resistance in West Papua”

We have come to testify. There is much that we want the world to know.

We want you to travel with us to the remote places of Papua—Wamena, Paniai, the Jayawijaya Highlands, the Star Mountains, Mindiptana, Timika, Arso, Mamberamo, Biak, Merauke, Asmat and many other places. We want you to hear stories of suffering from the mouths of ordinary people. Our memories are clear and sharp.

‘In this river our father was murdered’

‘On that mountain slope there used to be villages. They were destroyed by the military’

‘On that open field, our old men were forced to burn their koteka [penis sheaths] because they were considered primitive’

‘In the past that mountain was ours, now people have destroyed our mother’

We want you to travel with us to the sites of the massacres. We want to testify about the killings and the beatings with rifles.

We want to testify about the people who were disappeared, those who were imprisoned and those who were tortured.

There have been many forms of torture – the burning, the stabbing of the genitals, the rape of women.

These are some of the injustices that we want the world to know.

On some days bombs have fallen like rain. We have been up against Hercules aircraft and helicopters and boats. They had overwhelming power.

And after the massacres or murders, the injustices always continue.

Rather than acknowledge the truth, they tell lies.

The perpetrators are promoted not punished, while the victims are dragged into court.

Some of us have spent years in prison. One of us was jailed for 15 years simply for raising our Morning Star flag.

Over years we have faced one injustice after another and then another.
There has been violation after violation since 1963. Entire villages have been destroyed. And Papuan people have been turned against other Papuans.

Injustices continue to this day. Today we face human rights violations, economic injustice, and every week thousands more migrants come in white ships and planes. We are becoming a minority in our land.

Those who resist face continuing discrimination. We are excluded from employment, education and health care. And for women, it has been worse.
They suffered the rapes and assaults and then even more. They were shamed by their own families and often marriages broke apart. These are forms of double injustice and women’s suffering that no one should ever have to face.

These are just some of the injustices that we are testifying to today.
We want the world to know about this.

We also want to testify to the effects of these injustices

Some of our bodies bear the scars.

And so do our souls. We will never forget the sound of the killings.
Some of us still feel the fear. For those who fled we don’t know if we will be safe when we return.

Other survivors have been left with physical disabilities and troubles in the mind.

The rapes brought shame – so much shame that some women did not seek medical help.

And sometimes survivors may feel guilty for being alive. The killings can make us doubt that we have a right to live.

There have been effects for children too. Fear came to the children who did not go to school for months.

When the foreigners have taken our land, cut down our forests and destroyed our rivers, this destruction affects us too. The loss of our sacred places has brought sickness to our people.

And sometimes we feel like we are slaves in our own land. Some of us have to struggle everyday just to feed our families and send our children to school.

But there is more that we want you to know.

We want you to know our testimonies of remembrance.

We are survivors and also witnesses. We have always remembered those who were killed. We will remember them until we die.

There are many ways that we do this.

We have cultural ways of joining in memory and in prayer. We place stones or wreaths of flowers. And there are traditional songs that we use to connect us with those who have died and with the ancestors. These are songs we can sing to those who have passed. We do this in a quiet place, a garden, a beach.

Or we remember through making statues of our loved ones, or photos, or lighting candles. We commune with our ancestors.

But we never forget them. They are with us. Those of us who are still alive have a responsibility to keep progressing the struggle. I have dreams of those who were killed in the jungle. They come to me in my dreams and they encourage me to keep going. I dreamt of them just last week. I listen to their voices.

If they knew that we were meeting together now, if they knew that we were gathering this testimony, they would be very happy. This would mean something to them.

They have gone over there to another world. We will always remember them.

We also want you to know the stories of our resistance, action and rescue

Our people have a long, long history of resistance. We Papuans have been resisting outsiders for centuries. Back to the 1850s, the Dutch who were seeking to protect their spice trade, faced more than 40 Papuan rebellions – both violent and nonviolent. Diverse tribes came together to resist. Angganeta Menufandu, a Konor (indigenous prophet) from Biak Island, led a mass defiance of government and mission bans on wor (ritual singing and dancing) and urged her followers not to pay taxes and to withhold labor. When the Japanese invaded, towards the end of World War Two, they were initially welcomed but, after acts of cruelty, the movement for a free and independent West Papua began again. The killings and massacres began in these times. And our resistance continued.

Our struggle for freedom continued after WWII when the US drove the Japanese out of West Papua at the cost of thousands of lives. And since
1963 we have resisted Indonesian government rule.

We remember our long history of resistance. This history raises us up.
We carry it on.

Many of us have formed organisations of action. We come together for survivors of human rights abuses, for women, for people all over Papua.
We form resistance groups. We are students, young people, older people, women, men, religious leaders and traditional leaders. We take action on behalf of those who are living and those who are no longer alive.

Some of us, who witnessed massacres, were involved in acts of rescue on the days when bullets were raining down, and when the sky was on the fire. After the Biak Massacre our family gave shelter to two men who were fleeing for their lives. My father gave them his clothes. He sat my sisters on their laps. We sat down quietly and we opened all the doors and all the windows. When the soldiers came in with all their weaponry, we stood there shaking. As they held their guns at us, and asked us if we were hiding anyone, we said no. We were all shaking, my father, my sisters, myself, but we survived, and the two men survived too. For four days they stayed with us. We had almost no food but my mother found a way to feed us. We are survivors, rescuers and resistors.

Right across Papua, and for so many years, we have continued to resist, to rescue and to raise the Morning Star. When we cannot fly our flag we have painted it on our bodies, stitched it into noken string bags. When one of us was imprisoned for 15 years for raising our flag, he was offered amnesty if he apologised, but he refused. ‘Why should I say sorry? I have done nothing wrong. It is the Indonesian state who has to say sorry. And not just to me but to all the Papuan people. They have to return our sovereignty.’

And even though it is risky for us there are many times we have come out on to the streets in our thousands, even in our tens of thousands, to demand freedom.

These are just some of our stories of resistance. There are stories of resistance all over Papua.

We want you to know that building unity is not easy – but we are doing it

The Indonesian government and corporations use many methods to divide us. To turn Papuans against Papuans. If some people raise their voice, the company will come – or the government will come – and say, ‘Hey come into the office, let’s talk.’ They then give that person money, or a scholarship, or a good job. These are some of the ways our opponent uses to break our resistance.

But we keep taking steps to come together. There is a long history to this. When the Amungme have a problem we build a traditional house. In this house – this Tongoi – people come, sit down and talk. We invite every leader and chief from every village. People come together in one mind. When people then go out of the Tongoi they are going to bring a change. These are traditional ways of calling up assistance. In our culture, no one can stand up by themselves. Everyone needs everyone.

So we keep taking steps to come together. We have now formed the United Liberation Movement for West Papua. Inside this United Movement are the National Federal Republic of West Papua (NFRWP), the West Papua National Coalition of Liberation (WPNCL), National Committee for West Papua (KNPB), National Parliament for West Papua (PNWP) and other non-affiliated groups. We are strengthening our struggle and as we do so more and more people join us. People in other Pacific nations are raising their voices.

Our resistance is like a mat or noken – many strands woven together to become one.

Our resistance is like a spear, sharp and dangerous.

Our resistance is like a drum that speaks with the voices of the ancestors.

We want you to know about Papuan skills in survival

Despite all the injustices we have faced, we are survivors and we have many skills. We are wise about when to speak, when to stay quiet, and when to sing our songs. Some of these songs were written in prison for the future of West Papua. Some of our singers have been arrested and murdered. But we continue to sing freedom.

We also have our dances. We wear our traditional dress, and dance traditional Papuan dances. Our Papuan culture helps us to love and care for one another. When we live inside our culture we are free.

We have prayer, faith in Jesus Christ, and God as our witness.

And we have each other. We are among friends and we want to acknowledge all those who have stood with us.

There are other Papuan survival skills too.

Like mothers’ skills of endurance. Mothers who sell fruit and vegetables to feed their families and send their children to school display their produce on hessian mats by the side of the road. Rain, hail, sun and dust they sit. They survive.

Some of us travelled by canoe with 43 others all the way to Australia to seek another life. Years later, some of us sailed back to West Papua with the Freedom Flotilla. The West Papuans, Aboriginal elders and other Australian supporters on board the Flotilla carried a message of peace and solidarity, and reignited ancient connections.

And we have skills in humour, in jokes and in laughter. Even in the hardest times, we pray, we sing, we dance, and somehow we find a way to laugh.

We want you to know about our hopes and our dreams

We carry a big hope together … a free West Papua. We have held onto this hope for many, many years.

As we lift up these injustices to the light, then all the other cases will also be lifted up.

And we carry a hope for justice – international justice, western justice, West Papuan justice, spiritual justice.

That is why we are testifying today.

We are sharing with you testimonies of injustice.

We are speaking about the effects of these injustices.

We are sharing testimonies of remembrance.

We are sharing stories of resistance, action and rescue.

We are sharing the ways we build unity.

We are sharing our Papuan survival skills.

And we are testifying to our hopes and to our dreams.

What we are testifying here has been an open secret. We have always known this, God has always known this, but now you will know it too.

This means that now you are also witnesses.

So these stories and our hopes will now also be carried by you.

Thank you.

..

Biodata: Jason MacLeod is an organiser, researcher and educator. He is the author of the just-published book ‘Merdeka and the Morning Star: civil resistance in West Papua’.
 This testimony was written in collaboration with Mama Tineke and Daniel Rayer, two West Papuan activists who survived the Biak Massacre, and David Denborough from the Dulwich Centre. It contains the voices of many of the people of West Papua Jason has collaborated with and is in part based on a similar testimony developed for the Biak Massacre Citizens Tribunal.

Indonesia constantly ignoring West Papuan’s pleas for peace

Opinion

By : Rufinus Madai

May 14, 2014

There is never a day that passes when the people of Papua as individuals, do not express their longing to see peace.  Instead of responding to their cries for peace, their daily lives are continuously spattered with violence and conflict created by Indonesian Armed Forces.

Even at those everyday moments when people eat and drink, in every place and at all times, people of Papua are speaking of their longing for peace.  They dearly hope that the Government of Indonesia will bring an end to the violence being committed in their land. Yet their cries for over 50 years have gone unheard: the Government just ignores their pleas, showing no response whatsoever.  One can’t but question what really is the underlying desire of the Indonesian Government in regards to Papua.

It is little wonder that the people of Papua no longer trust the Government of Indonesia.  They feel so deeply that they are not truly regarded by Indonesia as being a true part of the Republic of Indonesia. As a result they don’t refer to themselves as Indonesians, but rather as Papuans.  For it is the very Forces of the State itself that are carrying out the constant acts of violence. Papuans accordingly speak of the State of Indonesia as being a coloniser, as an oppressor and as a murdering state. What is it going to take for Indonesian to rid itself of such labels and develop a new image in the hearts of the people of Papua?  To date Indonesia has never listened to the voice of the people of Papua.  The people’s constant pleas for peace , which the Government has just ignored, are not just empty words. They are an expression that comes from the bottom of people’s hearts in response to what they are experiencing and facing up to every day of their lives.  Of course Papuans question Indonesia’s true intent in Papua, when for over 50 years now the State has not only allowed the violence against the population to continue, but in fact in every instance, it has been violence and conflict created by the State’s own Forces.  Indeed the Government of Indonesia has failed miserably to date in regards to Papua.  It is this failure of the State to bring an end to the conflict in Papua which has given rise to a lack of confidence towards the Government in the hearts of the people of Papua. Yet despite all this, many people still hang on to a hope that the Indonesian Government will stop the violence and conflict against their people. But when?

The people of Papua have faithfully waited on the Government of Indonesia to act to bring about their hopes for peace in their land. Yet those hopes have fallen on deaf ears. The State needs to start hearing the cries of the people, to open its eyes and ears and act humanely and take responsibility for the continuous violence committed by its Forces. As the root of all problems in Papua lie with the Indonesian Government itself. The Indonesian government is responsible to protect the people of Papua and to take actions  to bring an end to the conflict in the land. It must change its attitude and show an intention to listen to the people and together to search for the solution that will bring about peace.

Do not ignore the cries of our people Indonesia! Bring an end to the violence in our land!

The Writer is a post-graduate level theological student at the Catholic Seminary in Abepura, Papua.

GEMPAR Otsus Plus rejection rally banned, blockaded by Police in Jayapura

News article

from West Papua Media stringers in Jayapura

March 11, 2014

Several hundred students and civil society members led by the Papuan Student Movement (GEMPAR or “Uproar”) holding a peaceful demonstration in Jayapura today were again blockaded by around 200 armed riot Police who imposed a ban on the gathering, after a similar gathering on March 4 drew world attention.

The demonstration was called to show the extent of public opposition to the proposed new Special Autonomy “Plus” (Otsus Plus) legislation due to be imposed on Papua and West Papua provinces later in 2014.

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Scenes from Gempar rally rejecting OtsusPlus, Jayapura, March 11, 2014 (Photo: WestPapuaMedia/NareYare and Sauri Bounas. Please contact WPM before outside non-commercial use of any of these images for exact crediting)

Despite having rights of freedom of expression guaranteed under Special Autonomy legislation, large numbers of  Indonesian occupation force Police banned the gathering and prevented students from leaving the Cenderawasih Universtiy (UNCEN) grounds.  Scores of police were also on hand at other GEMPAR rallying points, at the new UNCEN gate, the old archway entrance to UNCEN, campus dormitories, and also outside the main Post Office in Abepura.

Police prevented unarmed civil society participants from joining the rally according to witnesses, and blockaded several groups of Papuan civilians across Abepura and Jayapura with scores of riot police in full armour, several ranks of heavily armed Brimob commandos from the Sabhara Perintis and Gegana anti-terror units, including several members of the Australian funded Detachment 88 counter-terror unit, backed up by over a hundred plain clothes armed intelligence agents dispersed throughout the town.

The Jayapura Police Chief, Alfred Papare, had banned the rally due to a highly restrictive set of conditions and threatened to use for against the protesters, however negotiation ensured that the day remain without violence, despite intelligence agents menacing violence.  West Papua Media (WPM) stringers reported and photographed several instances where media workers were being filmed and identified by intelligence officers and police.

Jayapura Police chief Papare demonstrated his opposition to democratic rights in Papua by providing a letter that outlined ten reasons for the rally ban, saying:

    • that GEMPAR is not an approved organisation in the eyes of POlice;
    • it didn’t pre-approve all pamphlets and banners with police beforehand
    • it refused to name individual organisers and speakers at the action;
    • did not provide Police with crowd numbers, nor get traffic clearance
    • Police would not recognise the local time zone of WPB, as it considers observance of local time as an act of separatism.  Indonesia only recognises time zones as WIB ( Western Indonesian Time), CET/WITA ( Central Indonesian Time ) and WIT/EST ( Eastern Indonesia Time)
    • That previous rallies caused traffic jams;
    • Gempar Chairman Yason Ngelia had previous shouted slogans and made speeches against government policy and the state, and was therefore allegedly “spreading hatred against Indonesia”
    • That all acts of free expression, collective action, mass rallies and peaceful protest were banned “To maintain the internal security situation conducive to smotth implementation of the democratic  legislative elections and the 2014 presidential election in the city of Jayapura” as that “could destabilise internal security.”

West Papua Media journalist Nare Yare (pseudonym) reports that despite these bans, students were undeterred and began a several peaceful gathering at the old arch gates of the university at 8.30 in the morning, also gathering outside the student dormitories at Perumnas 3 Housing Complex in Waena.  Other participants in the days events began a traditional cultural long march around 0920 to the UNCEN office of Lukas Enembe, Indonesia’s appointed Governor in Papua province.

However Police began to confront  and blockade the peaceful protesters at 1040am outside Perumnas 3 to prevent the marches from joining up, and about 15 minutes of shield charges, flying wedge attacks, physical pushing and shoving occurred between students and riot police.  There were no arrests reported, nor significant injuries at his time.

Later, protesters regrouped and attempted to read out statements at the Governor’s office, but police again moved in to prevent the statement criticising Otsus Plus being read in front of the Governors office.  Protesters then finished the  rally outside Perumnas 3, a site of martyrdom for West Papua youth, after several human rights abuses took place there, including the broad daylight extrajudicial assassination of former KNPB leader Mako Tabuni in 2012 by Detachment 88 officers.

At the archway entrance to UNCEN, Gempar coordinators conducted speeches and street theatre, with a creative theatre of West Papuan students, one by one, stamping into the dust and asphalt a copy of the draft Otsus Plus legislation, shouting “Tolak Otsus Gagal!” (“Reject Special Autonomy Plus!”).  This was then symbolically set on fire to finalise its rejection.

Protest coordinator Yason Ngelia said in a speech at Perumnas 3, “we reject Autonomy Plus.  Special autonomy has failed , we must determine our own fate.  The Special Autonomy Plus draft is prepared not from the desire of the people of Papua , but for the Governor and the interests of bureaucrats.  We will keep demonstrating until there is a solution for the fate of Papuans ”

The GEMPAR demonstration in its rejection of Otsus Plus demanded three points, namely:

  • that the Government of Jakarta , the Government of Papua and West Papua stop discussion of implementation Special Autonomy Plus;
  • The Government of Papua and West Papua, along with the DPRP and MRP, begin facilitating Public Hearings of the support or rejection of Otsus Plus for all components of Papuan society;
  • A Referendum to be held on whether Papuans want Special Autonomy Plus.

Even during this peaceful reading of the opposition of Papua people to legislation seen as imposed by Jakarta on West Papua,  Police still blockaded the road with large numbers growing to more than 300 police,  4 trucks carrying Dalmas Papua Police from Abepura and one from Jayapura, 3 Brimob police Trucks , 1 Armoured assault vehicle, a water cannon, and two commanders vehicles.   Also in Old Abe Uncen , 2 trucks Dalmas Police from Jayapura Police Station were attending with several dozen police, and a 25 member Dalmas platoon/section at  Expo Waena taxi terminal.

Due to this intimidation and threats of further violence from security forces, organisers cancelled the rally and dispersed just before 2pm local time.

Organisers have vowed to renew their attempts to hold a peaceful demonstration on March 12.

West Papua Media will be monitoring.

WESTPAPUAMEDIA

Cafe Pacific: Vanuatu PM’s speech spotlights Indonesian Papuan atrocities and Pacific ‘blind eye

By DAVID ROBIE at Cafe Pacific

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Vanuatu Prime Minister Moana Carcasses Kalosil (left) with Papuan journalist
Victor Mambor in Noumea. Photo: Tabloid Jubi

ANALYSIS

SHAME on New Zealand politicians. With the courageous exception of the Green Party’s Catherine Delahunty, most of the rest offer a shameful silence over Indonesia’s human rights violations in West Papua.

The Melanesian brothers and sisters of the colonised region, forcibly invaded by Indonesian paratroopers in 1962 and annexed under the fraudulent United Nations “Act of Free Choice” in 1969, have suffered under Indonesian atrocities and brutal rule ever since.

But it took the Prime Minister of Vanuatu,  Moana Carcasses Kalosil, to take the podium at the United Nations Human Rights Council and condemn Jakarta for its past and ongoing crimes in West Papua, before the world took notice.

This not only shames New Zealand, it also exposes most Pacific leaders for their lack of spine over Papuan human rights.

When Vanuatu became independent from the British and French joint colonial condominium, better known as “pandemonium”, in 1980, founding Prime Minister Father Walter Lini was a champion for West Papuan independence.

Vanuatu Prime Minister Moana Carcasses Kalosil
speaking at the UN Human Rights Council.
Photo: UN Webcast

The country harboured independence campaigners and refugees and frequently spoke up for West Papua in the Pacific Islands Forum.

But in recent years, the Vanuatu government had become derailed from its staunch position and was courting the Indonesians for aid.

Until the outspoken new Prime Minister, a part-Tahitian who is the first naturalised prime minister of Vanuatu, came on the scene a year ago.

Vanuatu refused to be compromised by the window dressing Melanesian Spearhead Group “fact finding” mission to West Papua earlier this year. It boycotted the sham.

Prime Minister Carcasses had already made one impassioned speech about the “debacle of decolonisation” in West Papua last November, but this one was even stronger.

‘Litany of torture’
“Since the controversial Act of Free Choice in 1969, the Melanesian people of West Papua have been subject to ongoing human rights violations committed by the Indonesian security services,” he said.

“The world has witnessed the litany of torture, murders, exploitation, rapes, military raids, arbitrary arrests and dividing of civil society trough intelligence operations.

“The Indonesian National Commission on Human Rights (KOMNAS HAM) concluded that these acts constitute crimes against humanity under Indonesian Law No. 26/2000 (KOMNAS HAM 2001,2004).

“In this climate of fear and repression of political dissent, and blatant negligence by the international community including the UN and the powerful developed countries since 1969, we find this forgotten race still dare to dream for equality and justice.

“Yet the democratic nations have kept silent.”

Carcasses said he had come to the UN to call for immediate action:

“Injustice in West Papua is a threat to the principle of justice everywhere in the world. I do not sleep well at night when I know that in 2010 Yawan Wayeni, known as a separatist was videotaped by the security forces as he was lying in a pool of his own blood with his intestines seeping from a gaping wound in his abdomen.

“It concerns me that in October 2010 Telenga Gire and Anggen Pugu Kiwo were tied by the military and were severely tortured. It concerns me when I see the video footage of a group of Papuan men bounded and being kicked in the head by uniformed soldiers who are meant to protect them.

“I am worried because between October of 2011 and March 2013, 25 Papuans were murdered and nothing has been done to bring perpetrators to justice.

“And it embarrasses me, as a Melanesian, to note that roughly 10 percent of the indigenous Melanesian population have been killed by the Indonesian Security forces since 1963. While I acknowledge the 15 years of reform that has taken place, I am also worried that Melanesians will soon become a minority in their own motherland of Papua.

“In a world so now closely connected with innovative technology, there should be no excuses about lack of information on human rights violations that have plagued the Papuan people for more than 45 years.

“Search the internet and research papers by academic institutions and international NGOs and you will find raw facts portraying the brutal abuse of the rights of the Melanesian people in Papua.

“But why are we not discussing it 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 whom have shed innocent blood because they want justice and freedom.”

Historic united front in Papua defies police dispersals, supporting Vanuatu PM call on UNHRC in Geneva to address West Papua issue

News wrap-up

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.

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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)








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