Tag Archives: international solidarity

Growing international solidarity for West Papua freedom campaigns

by Herman Wainggai*

January 21, 2013

Opinion

It is likely that most US citizens who consider themselves informed about global events are aware of the genocides in Rwanda, Bosnia and East Timor, yet it’s likely that few people in the US are aware of the ongoing genocide in West Papua, New Guinea.

In Rwanda, genocide resulted in an estimated 500,000 deaths in a 3-month period; in Bosnia, genocide resulted in an estimated 200,000 deaths in a 3-year period. In East Timor, there were more than 103,000 deaths in a 3-year period; and, in West Papua, New Guinea, there are conservative estimates of 100,000 Melanesian Papuans killed, and 300,000 displaced or missing over a 47-year period. Remarkable is the disparity of time between the Rwanda, Bosnia and East Timor genocides, ranging from 3 months to 3 years, contrasted with the ongoing 50-year genocide of indigenous West Papuans. In the aftermath of the Rwandan 3-month slaughter of 500,000 people, the carnage was blatant, the atrocities flagrant.

In view of the continuing carnage wrought in West Papua by the Indonesian military during the past 50 years, we must wonder why most people in the Western world are oblivious to the indigenous Melanesians’ plight, and what factors are contributing to the protraction of such abuse.

Indonesia’s colonization and military occupation of Dutch-owned West Papua was achieved, and continues, with the blessing of the governments of the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States, and facilitated by the operation of the world’s largest copper and gold mine owned by Freeport-McMoRan Copper and Gold Inc., a US corporation.

In addition, for more than 50 years, some of the world’s largest transnational mining corporations have been exploiting West Papua’s oil and minerals, including Union Oil, Amoco, Agip, Conoco, Phillips, Esso, Texaco, Mobil, Shell, Petromer Trend Exploration, Atlantic Richfield, Sun Oil and Freeport (USA); Oppenheimer (South Africa); Total SA (France); Ingold (Canada); Marathon Oil, Bird’s Head Peninsula (UK); Dominion Mining, Aneka Tambang, BHP, Cudgen RZ, and most critically, Rio Tinto (formerly RTZ-CRA) (Australia/UK).

The exploitation of natural resources by extractive industries results in catastrophic harms to human and environmental health and indigenous societies. Typically, mainstream global media, most of which are in thrall to corporate interests, look the other way when such military/corporate injustices are perpetrated upon indigenous populations.

New Guinea is the second largest island on earth, and one of 20,000-30,000 archipelagos in the South Pacific. The island is divided vertically, with independent Papua New Guinea occupying the eastern section and West Papua, now an unwilling province of Indonesia, occupying the western side. There are more than 250 tribes, more than 270 distinct languages and thousands of different pidgin dialects.

In addition to copper and gold, abundant natural resources include natural gas, oil, timber and fish. These resources profit corporate interests and the Indonesian government without compensation to the Melanesian population, who live in poverty.

In 1969, the Act of Free Choice consultation was held in West Papua to ascertain whether the indigenous Melanesian population preferred to remain a province within the nascent nation of Indonesia or become their own independent nation. The consultation was fraudulent, and free participation by the indigenous people was nil. Only 1025 West Papuans, representing a population of one million, were picked ( by the government of Indonesia )  to vote and it was not implemented in accordance  with international law of the New York Agreement on August 15, 1962 – One Man One Vote. It was a whitewash. Nobody gave a thought to the fact that a million people had their fundamental rights trampled ( CV Narasimhan, Deputy Secretary – General of the United Nations 1961 – 1978 ). Thus, the voiceless West Papuans became a province of Indonesia and the victims of 50 years of oppression.

The people of this forgotten land have struggled for freedom for 50 years under brutal Indonesian occupation. The people of the different tribes are raped, tortured and slaughtered, and their natural environment continues to be degraded. In their efforts to resist this injustice, their leaders have been arrested, tortured and threatened with death. For this reason, many now live in exile, where they continue to be involved in education and activism with the goal of enlisting the international community to join their efforts to achieve justice and freedom.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirms the rights of all people to freedom of opinion and expression, and the right to peaceful assembly and association. Indonesia is a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which guarantees the right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, and Indonesia’s constitution also declares those rights. However, Indonesia’s continued arrest and incarceration of nonviolent political activists since the 1980s, and the October 19, 2011 arrests of more than 300 civilians during the Third National Congress, including Edison Waromi and Forkorus Yaboisembut, Prime Minister and President, respectively, will not deter Melanesians from their nonviolent struggle to secure self-determination within a democratic framework, and are recognized, respected and supported by the international community.

For this reason, many peaceful demonstrations took place around the world on

The boat that brought 43 West Papuan Asylum seekers to Australia, putting Papua back on the front page and touching off a diplomatic storm . Photo Damien Baker, Mapoon, Queensland, Australia January 17th, 2006
The boat that brought 43 West Papuan Asylum seekers to Australia, putting Papua back on the front page and touching off a diplomatic storm . Photo Damien Baker, Mapoon, Queensland, Australia January 17th, 2006

January 17, 2013. The Demonstrations commemorated the escape to freedom by 43 West Papuan refugees on January 17, 2006, when, after paddling across open ocean for four days and surviving a violent storm, they beached their traditional canoe in Australia and found asylum. Myself – Herman Wainggai  – am one of those 43.

The Free West Papua Political Prisoners Team in Washington DC is a group of academics and human-rights activists who are willing to stand up for justice and work toward a free West Papua that is independent from military and corporate colonization.

Photo :  Free West Papua Political Prisoners Campaign Team, Washington DC, USA
Photo : Free West Papua Political Prisoners Campaign Team, Washington DC, USA

Human Rights Watch reports that Indonesia has incarcerated nearly 100 activists from Maluku and Papua for peacefully voicing their patriotism and political views.  As one of those former political prisoners forced into exile, I am now a visiting scholar at George Mason University, after being imprisoned for more than two years after daring to raise the West Papuan flag. My uncle, Dr. Thom Wainggai, died while imprisoned for the same demonstration of patriotism.

Free West Papua Campaign in Los Angeles, California

“I want to commend Moana Nui for organizing this demonstration on behalf of the people of West Papua to give voice to their fight for freedom and self-determination.  We call on the leaders of all governments to stop supporting human rights abuses, murder, genocide and the military occupation of West Papua. To our brothers and sisters in West Papua: Continue to fight for what you know is right, for your freedom, your culture, for humanity.  Know that, in this fight, you are not alone.” Harold Green.  http://mnaa-ca.org/jan-17-2013-west-papua-action/

 

Free West Papua Campaign in Melbourne

Foreign Affairs Minister of the Federated Republic of West Papua, Jacob Rumbiak, said international activists are demanding that Indonesia remove its military personnel, and that president Yudhoyono must issue orders to stop the slaughter of West Papua National Committee (KNPB) members.

“Six activists were arrested and tortured in Serui yesterday for handing out pamphlets about today’s rally, including Patris Rosumbre (Vice Governor, Saireri State, Federated Republic of West Papua) and Menase Karubaba,” he said. Rosumbre has since escaped, but the whereabouts of Karubaba are not known, and there is deep concern for his safety.

Photo Free West Papua Campaign Melbourne, Australia January 17th, 2013
Photo Free West Papua Campaign Melbourne, Australia January 17th, 2013

The Federated Republic of West Papua has called for negotiations with the Indonesian government under the auspices of the United Nations since 2011, and, Rumbiak claims, “Indonesia is losing credibility with its international donors in failing to respond to our invitation.”

Free West Papua Campaign in the Solomon Islands

In a statement from Honiara, Chairman of Solomon Islands for West Papua, Rexy Roses, highlighted that more than 50 years of tyranny and

Photo Rexy Roses, Solomon Islands for West Papua, 17th January 2013
Photo Rexy Roses, Solomon Islands for West Papua, 17th January 2013

immeasurable human rights abuses suffered by the indigenous people of West Papua at the hands of the occupying Indonesian military forces is more than too much to bear, and it is now time for dialogue and negotiations to end the violence in West Papua and to allow a peaceful referendum. This year will be a challenging one, and we will ensure that the cries of the indigenous Melanesian people of West Papua be heard in every corner of the Pacific and beyond.

Since the recent peaceful demonstration in Yapen Island and Manokwari, I have been told that the military agents are increasing their violent activity in West Papua and in many other places around West Papua. It is not difficult to imagine the impact that tens of thousands of Indonesian troops have on the daily lives of the West Papuan people. This new action by the Indonesian military raises the question: Why would Indonesia send so many troops to West Papua? Is this to intimidate the West Papuan people, to deny us our freedom of speech and prevent us from peacefully gathering in the land of our ancestors to debate and challenge the domination of our land and freedom? This recent West Papua Media report clearly states that the Indonesian government does not provide for the protection of human rights in West Papua.

For West Papuans, daily life is a nightmare, full of pain, suffering, torture, rape and bloodshed. There is no freedom to speak or act freely. The systematic oppression, terror, intimidation, kidnapping, incarceration, poisoning and murder of indigenous Melanesians in West Papua has not changed since I fled the country in 2006. It’s time to support the West Papuan people in their struggle for human rights and political independence.

Herman Wainggai is a West Papuan civil resistance activist based in Washington DC USA, and former political prisoner.  He lectures in strategic non-violence and civil resistance and is a visiting scholar at George Mason University, Washington.

 

 

Papuan independence demo in London

Bintang Papua
25 October 2012 Benny Wenda leads an Independence Demo in London

Jayapura: Three British Members of Parliament were present at a meeting which was held in one of the committee rooms in the House of Commons for two hours on 23 October  at which information was given about the situation in West Papua.

The three parliamentarians were Andrew Smith, MP, member  for Oxford, Lord Harris a member of the House of Lords and Dan Rogerson MP, member for Cornwall.

While the meeting was in progress, a group of a dozen or more supporters of the OPM, the Papuan Freedom Organisation, held a demonstration outside, led by Benny Wenda, leader of the West Papuan.organisation overseas, who also addressed the demo. One of the demands made by the speaker was for the United Nations to send an observer mission to West Papua.

[The report is accompanied by a photo of the demonstration, which also shows the Morning  Star flag.]

 

ETAN: Timorese students support West Papua. Three arrested in Dili.

 http://etanaction.blogspot.com/2011/08/timorese-students-support-west-papua.htmlWednesday, August 17, 2011

 

Timorese students support West Papua. Three arrested in Dili.

A friend in Dili tells ETAN that police recently broke up a demonstration in support of West Papua. As we get more information, we will post updates on ETAN’s blog here.

The morning of August 17, more than 30 Timorese students called for the right of West Papuan to self-determination and condemned human right violation by the Indonesian military and police against Papuans. The demonstration took place in front of Indonesia Embassy in Farol, Dili, on the 66th anniversary of Indonesia’s independence proclamation.

Timor-Leste Police (PNTL) arrested three of the protesters — Juventina Correia Ximenes, Domingos de Andrade and Letornino da Silva. All are currently studying at Timor-Lorosae National University, UNTL.

One of demonstrator, Nolasco Mendes, said that the PNTL treated the activists brutally. Police reportedly arrested the activist after the Indonesia Embassy asked the PNTL to stop the demonstration.

According to a T imornewsline report the pro-Papua protesters were members of the Students Solidarity Council (Dewan Solidaritas Mahasiswa Timor-Leste) which previously fought for Timor-Leste’s independence.

Timor-Leste has a strict law on demonstrations which among other things requires four days notice and bans them within 100 yards of a government or diplomatic building.

The hope for Papua’s freedom: ‘Go International’

image

Apologies for delay in posting

Tuesday, 03 May 2011 19:58

Editor : Markus

Tabloid JUBI — The struggle of the native people of Papua for freedom from all the evils they have suffered since their annexation into the Unitary Republic of Indonesia on 3rd May 1963, still echo to this day, not only on the local and national scene, but already internationally.

“At this time, our hopes for freedom for the People of West Papua depend on the support of the world. Privately and through our own organisations we are struggling, but now we have the help and sympathy of all the countries of the world,” said the Head of the National Committee of West Papua, Mako Tabuni, on Tuesday 3rd May 2011.

Support from the international world is growing and becoming stronger,for example from Israel.  This is a long campaign, and this is the way to do it – by gaining friends. “The problems of West Papua are also world problems, and Indonesia has to open itself up to recognise the truths of its history, of what happened some decades ago,” said Mako.

The formation of  two  bodies called International Lawyers for West Papua (ILWP) and International Parliamentarians for West Papua (IPWP), said Mako, came about as a result of the world’s notice and support for West Papua. ‘We are being well supported by the ILWP and the IPWP, which are fighting for the fate of West Papua.”

He said this as on the day after Monday 2nd May, when thousands of people had marched peacefully to assemble at the Post Office in Abepura, Jayapura.

The KNPB (National Committee) had emphasised several important points which are tied to our history, status and the sad fate of the people of Papua.

Firstly, the people of West Papua have not, did not nor ever will give their consent to join the Unitary Republic of Indonesia (NKRI) to become a part of their republic, West Papua.

Secondly, the process of making West Papua part of the NKRI, beginning in 1963 and finishing in 1969, organised jointly by Indonesia, United States of America, the Netherlands and the United Nations, was engineered as a false process, not following the Principles of international justice. The owners of the area of West  Papua were never involved in the process, and the international talks and arrangements took no account of their wishes.

Thirdly, the agreement called “The New York Agreement” was not supervised by the whole of the United Nations, resulting in the “referendum” of 1969, where the people of West Papua were not given their political right to vote on the basis of “one person, one vote”; this “vote” consisted of only 1025 people chosen by Indonesia to “represent” West Papua. This is a violation against the political rights of the people of West Papua.

Fourthly, NKRI has killed and destroyed many of the native citizens of West Papua since they began their DOM (Local Military Operation) to take up possession of the land of West Papua in 1963.

Fifthly, NKRI has pursued, intimidated, terrorised and killed many of the citizens of WP since this operation began.

Sixthly, Special Autonomy was offered as a solution to these problems. This policy was never really implemented as promised and published as policy by Indonesia.

Seventh, the only thing which is supporting Special Autonomy, which is the one thing the NKRI is offering, is part of their colonisation of Papua which nullifies the political rights of the native people of Papua, because the foremost problem for them is their right to determine their own future for themselves, which has been suppressed and undermined by the unilateral annexation of Papua through the so-called Act of Free Choice of 1969.

“We do not recognise the right of the Government of Indonesia, and all the institutions of that country, to stand in the nation of West Papua,” said Mako Tabuni, reading from a petition which had been signed by the whole assembly which had attended the march.

What we, the KNPB, are demanding is, firstly: that Indonesia stop all political manoeuvres using the Special Autonomy, formation of the MRP and the UP$B program in the land of West Papua.

Secondly, Indonesia and West Papua be the subject of an international legal process so that the political status of West Papua can be brought to the table at the International Cpurt, to determine a just policy about the validity of Indonesia’s annexation of the land of West Papua, and a justice for the people of West Papua.

Thirdly, in order to determine the will of the people of West Papua, a Referendum be held in a democratic way by the United Nations, to find a final solution to the political conflict in West Papua.

To find a framework to support this process to end the problems in West Papua via an international legal and political process, the KNPB puts forward the name of  Ms. Melinda Janki as Head of the ILWP, Mr. Charles Foster and all the members of the ILWP.

Also,  Mr. Andrew Smith as Head of the IPWP, Mr. Caroline Lucas together with all members of the IPWP to support the political process to bring the matter before an  internasional forum, together with the support of a free Papua. Also, the Government of the Republic of Vanuatu, as a member of the United Nations, also gives a similar mandate  to determine the legal status of West Papua through an international legal process at the International Court of Justice.

At the same time, the Spokesperson of the International KNPB, Victor Yeimo, can be a representative and coordinator to express the hopes and expectations of the people of West Papua. For this to happen, we need to form a representative body: a National Council of West Papua.

“It is not just anyone, it is the people of Papua alone who can bring about freedom. So, let us, the people of this land, come together and work and struggle,” said Yeimo.

About twenty Papuan representatives who addressed the assembly signed a petition before the demonstration ended at about 6 pm.

 (Markus)

PRP calls for release of nurses

JUBI, 29 March 2011

PRP calls for release of nurses

In a statement issued today, the Working People’s Association, the PRP, has called for the release of nurses arrested in Abepura, West Papua.

‘When working people demand a decent living, the neo-liberal regime
responds by arresting them.This is happening everywhere in Indonesia and on this occasion in Jayapura. Nurses working at DokII General Hospital have been under arrest for calling for the payment of incentives which they have been demanding since January 2010,’ said the PRP.

According to the PRP, this criminalisation of working people for demanding better living conditions is happening not only in Papua.
Working people elsewhere in Indonesia are also experiencing the same
thing. This is being done in order to silence the demands of the working people and to thwart the rights of working people to organise themselves.

It went on to say that union busting is happening on a grand scale
across the country, a sign that the the neo-liberal regime is scared
when working people organise themselves and demand their rights.
Measures to thwart the right of assembly and the right to organise or
even to organise demonstrations in happening in many parts of the
country, such as for example the district of Bintan.

The statement which is signed by the national chairman and the
secretary-general of the PRP makes the following demands:

1. Release the DokII nurses who have been arrested by the police because they organised a strike.Charging them with incitement is pure fantasy on the part of the police.

2. Working people throughout Indonesia should resist these efforts to
silence trade unions and organisations.

3. New forces need to be built by all sections of the working people in
Indonesia in opposition to the neo-liberal regime.

4. Capitalism and neo-liberalism have failed to improve the living
conditions of the people. Only socialism can bring prosperity to the people.