Tag Archives: Victor Yeimo

KNPB leader reportedly resurfaces after disappearing upon release from police detention

Tabloid JUBI, with additional breaking news from Victor Mambor

3 December 2012

On 2 December. members of the National Committee of West Papua (KNPB) were still seeking information regarding the whereabouts of their chairman, Victor Yeimo who was released by the police after being interrogated in connection with the demonstration organised by the KNPB on 1 December.Yeimo was arrested on 1 December but then released on Saturday afternoon, but since then he has not been in contact  with other KNPB activists.

‘Today, after he was taken into custody  by the police in Abepura he was released because we were unable to continue with the questioning,’ a police spokesman told JUBI, when inquiries were made about the status of Yeimo and two others who had been arrested with him.

Although they have been released, the spokesman of KNPB, Wim Medlama  said that they have been looking for them but have not been able to find them.

‘Since yesterday,’ he said, ‘we have been trying to find out where they are but we have been unable to find them. We have searched every place we can think of  without finding them.We are now very confused about what has happened to them.’

He said that they have decided to go to the police in the morning to inquire about this. He also said that they would go to the police in the morning together with the WPNA, AMP and AMPTI.

According to information received obtained by JUBI from other sources,  Yeimo had separated from the  other activists in front of the Post Office in Abepura. Since then, they have not been able to find out anything about his whereabouts. When JUBI tried to contact Yeimo on his mobile, the phone was not active.

However, early Monday morning, Jubi journalist and editor Victor Mambor reported that he had confirmed that Victor Yeimo was already gathered with colleagues.  “Last night, I got an SMS from Mr. Waterpauw (Wakapolda) who says Victor Yeimo was been contacted by Alfred Papare (Kapolresta) on Sunday afternoon (02/11). Victor Yeimo is fine and he switched off his mobile phone for personal reasons. This morning, I got (an) sms from KNPB members who said Victor Yeimo already (was) gathered with them,” Mambor wrote in an email alert.
West Papua Media has attempted to independently contact Papuan police, but no reply has been forthcoming if Yeimo is under charge at the moment, nor to questions of Mr Yeimo’s treatment whilst in the hands of the police.  It is not known if Yeimo has been able to contact human rights lawyers.

Written and verbal questions to Jayapura police to determine Detachment 88 counter-terror unit involvement in his interrogation have also gone unanswered, as have questions as to why Yeimo was released while he is on a Wanted (Daftar Pencarian Orang or DPO) list, allegedly for subversion, and unfounded charges of his alleged involvement in “unknown persons” (Orang Terlatih Khusus) shootings – widely believed by Papuans to be the work of Indonesian special forces.  West Papua Media has documented several cases since the assassination of Mako Tabuni by Detachment 88 troops in June, of scores of highland Papuans who have been brutally mistreated by security forces in the hunt for Yeimo, who has been in hiding for most of this time.

 

[Additional reporting from West Papua Media, Translated by TAPOL]

Victor Yeimo and others arrested as police crackdown on December 1 protests in Jayapura

By West Papua Media, with Victor Mambor at TabloidJubi.com, and Julian Howay at SuaraPapua.com

December 2, 2012

UPDATED DECEMBER 3, 2012

Three leaders of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) who were detained at a West Papuan independence rally on December 1 have been allegedly disappeared by Indonesian security forces, prompting fears of ill treatment at the hands of police.

As reported earlier by Tabloid Jubi and West Papua Media, Victor Yeimo, Alius Asso and Usman Yogobi were arrested by Police while leading a long march enroute to a planned mass rally commemorating the West Papuan “Day of Independence” of December 1st  at the tomb of Theys Eluay. All three were arrested for allegedly being responsible for these demonstrations, according to Police who spoke with Jubi.

Victor Yeimo, Chairman of KNPB, negotiating with Kalpores Alfred Papare moments before his arrest, December 1, 2012, Abepura (Photo: WK, KNPB)
Victor Yeimo, Chairman of KNPB, negotiating with Kalpores Alfred Papare moments before his arrest, December 1, 2012, Abepura (Photo: WK, KNPB)
Indonesian police prevent KNPB demo; arrests of Victor Yeimo (Photos: West Papua Media stringers)
Indonesian police prevent KNPB demo; arrests of Victor Yeimo (Photos: West Papua Media stringers)

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KNPB members and human rights lawyers are currently trying to confirm his whereabouts and legal status, however Indonesian police have claimed to West Papua Media that all detainees being held at the Police headquarters.  Legal access has not been allowed at time of writing and human rights observers hold grave fears for the safety of the detainees.

Yeimo-ditangkapVictor Yeimo, KNPB Chairman, has been on a wanted list (Daftar Pencarian Orang or DPO) and has up to now evaded a massive Papua-wide manhunt by the Australian trained Detachment 88 counter-terror unit, allegedly on treason charges imposed after his appearance on the Australian ABC 7.30 Report where he presented evidence of the Densus 88 assassination of his predecessor Mako Tabuni.

However, after the arrests, the whereabouts of Victor Yeimo, Alius Asso and Usman Yogobi remain unknown until time of writing, with no indications if they still being detained or have been released by police.

“Yes. There are journalists who say that Victor (Yeimo) was released earlier. But we do not know where he is. KNPB members are still trying to find him. Their mobile phone (three KNPB’s members were arrested) was (switched) off.” Sebby Sambom, a Human Rights Activist, told tabloidjubi.com on Saturday afternoon (1/12).

Some human rights lawyers who commonly accompany Papuan activists also still looking for them (Victor Yeimo, Alius Asso and Usman Yogobi). Because when they checked into the both of Police Office (Polda and Polresta), human rights lawyers was told by police that no one was arrested after rally this morning.

“We had been to the police office, Polda and Polresta, but they (Victor Yeimo, Alius Asso and Usman Yogobi) were not there. Police said no one was arrested there (Police and Police),” said Olga Hamadi, a Papuan human rights lawyer.

Papua Police Head of Public Relations, Chief I Gede Sumerta Jaya confirmed to tabloidjubi.com, mention that the three activists will be released after the investigation at the Police Sector office of Abepura.

“After being interrogated in Abepura police station, according to the police chief, three of them will be released as they could not to do any further investigation.” said I Gede Jaya Sumerta.
However, West Papua Media twice contacted the Police Sector (Polsek) headquarters in Abepura this (Sunday) morning, where an officer named Mas Arbi claimed that Yeimo and the other prisoners were still in custody.   Officers immediately volunteered further information on the second phone call that “none of the prisoners have been tortured,” despite West Papua Media having not yet asked that question.  WPM has not been able to independently verify the claims of police, as legal representation is still barred from seeing Yeimo.

Massive security presence

The December 1 commemorations in Jayapura were amongst national mobilisations in most centres across Papua, and solidarity gatherings internationally.

Reports from Abepura early in the morning described a massive security presence to prevent West Papua people from engaging in peaceful acts of free expression, and from engaging in flagraisings of the Morning Star flag, the Indonesia-banned West Papuan independence flag.

Unknown persons had blockaded the entrance to the Cenderawasih University (UNCEN)  by welding iron crossbars and erecting a 2 metre high steel fence around the university in anticipation of events.

From 7.30 on Saturday morning, students and activists with KNPB leaders (including Yeimo) gathered in small numbers by the site of former KNPB head Mako Tabuni’s murder, in front of the Perunmans 3 Housing Complex in Waena, where many highland students are domiciled.

Intelligence officers and plain-clothed Densus 88 personnel posing as ojek (motorcycle taxi drivers) become more aggressive towards participants converging prior to the long march, according to West Papua Media stringers and SuaraPapua.com.

At 0845 three platoons of heavily armed Dalmas riot police arrived on site, followed by Jayapura police chief Adjunct Senior Commissioner Alfred Papare and his men.   Papare began negotiations with Yeimo on the route and plan of action for the day, which was to make speeches and a prayer service at the tomb of slain Papuan leader Chief Theys Eluay, to commemorate December 1 and also World AIDS Day.

Participants carried many banners also demanding that the Indonesian government do more to combat HIV/AIDS, which is taking a heavy toll on Papuan society, in a situation that many Papuans believe is a deliberate policy by Jakarta of neglect and genocide.

Kapolres Papare asked the students to not go to Eluay’s tomb as he “could not be held responsible for anything that happened outside his Jayapura jurisdiction”, according to our stringers.  Having heard the explanations and assurances from the students who accompanied Victor Yeimo (KNPB Chairman), police chief Papare then left the scene and ordered the Jayapura Police Dalmas riot police officers to leave the Perumnas 3. After negotiation, the students resumed speeches for the next 1 hour.

The march began slowly from Waena, passing an Indonesian army (TNI) post about 50 meters from the housing complex, which was packed with military personnel moonlighting as taxi drivers, and several platoons of heavily armed TNI on guard, who rang a warning bell as students ran past.

According to reports from Suara Papua, the march was blocked by dozens of police officers from Jayapura Police at the corner near Dian Harapan Hospital (RSDH) in Waena. forming a three layer formation blockade. The first layer is riot police, while the second and third layers are heavily armed police, who were supported by large numbers of plainclothes police who parked their motorcycles and cars nearby.

Yeimo’s Arrest

Yeimo told police through a megaphone that more students were joining them to continue the journey to Sentani.  The Police Head of Operations AKP Kiki Kurnia ordered participants to  disperse, but students refused the order to move on.  Kiki Kurnia then advanced toward Victor Yeimo and seized him violently.  Yeimo did not resist as Kurnia gave the command to capture him and a large number police descended on Yeimo, violently immobilising him as Yeimo, Julian Douw and Usman Pahabol were thrown into the Dalmas truck and taken away, according to witnesses.

According to an Australian counter-terrorism source operating in Indonesia, who securely contacted West Papua Media on December 3 on condition of anonymity, the “gentleman holding Yeimo’s left arm” during his arrest, “is a Densus 88 officer”.

Victor Yeimo's arrest on December 1 (Photo: West Papua Media/KNPB)
Victor Yeimo’s arrest on December 1 (Photo: West Papua Media/KNPB)

Yeimo-ditangkap

The source elaborated that this individual received training from the Australian Federal Police run Joint Centre for Law Enforcement Co-operation in Jakarta.  West Papua Media has been unable to independently verify the source’s claims with police in Jayapura, nor with Australian Federal Police, before updating this story.

Just as the three were taken away, at about 11 am outside Dian Harapan Hospital (RSDH). police violently dispersed the remaining group of students to disperse them, firing tear gas and six live warning shots into the air. A number of students were also beaten by police, according to witnesses.

Soldiers from the TNI post also joined in the pursuit of students who were forced to flee via alleyways between homes, most running back in the direction of the Perumnas 3 dormitories, and all the armed police began raids again.

According to reports from Suara Papua, dozens of students desperately sought shelter inside the UNCEN Campus, where they were funneled into a dead end by police, back at the locked front gate, though they managed to escape for the time being.  KNPB sources have reported that several students sustained injuries from beating, but this has yet to be independently verified.

However, unconfirmed reports to West Papua Media overnight have said that the police, allegedly backed by Densus 88 personnel, have been conducting brutal raids on student dormitories and highlander’s residences across Jayapura.

It is confirmed that at 1235 local time Densus 88 raid occurred on the KNPB office in Sentani an hour later, seizing laptops, Morning Star flags and the United Nations flag.  No reports of injuries or arrests were received during that raid.

More to come.

West Papua Media

7.30 Report (ABC): West Papua arrests highlight Australian Detachment 88 links

Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Broadcast: 04/10/2012

Reporter: Hayden Cooper

An Australian-funded police unit in West Papua has again been implicated in a crackdown on the region’s independence movement.

(Note:  Syndicated here as this story was produced by ABC with the assistance of West Papua Media, after we originally broke this story at https://westpapuamedia.info/2012/10/01/wamena-arrests-as-australian-funded-anti-terror-troops-conduct-raid-amid-increasing-repression-on-knpb-political-activists/ )

Transcript

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: An Australian funded counter-terrorism unit in West Papua is facing new accusations of abusing its power in the troubled Indonesian province.

The notorious squad known as Detachment 88 has launched a fresh crackdown on independence activists, in the wake of an expose by this program in August.

Eight men have been detained and accused of bomb-making.

Separatist leaders claim the explosives were planted and they’ve been framed to justify the squad’s activities.

Hayden Cooper has this report.

HAYDEN COOPER, REPORTER: Jayapura, West Papua is a city marred by violence and tension, where independence leaders have been arrested, beaten, killed. And where police have been confronted by unruly and angry demonstrations.

When 7.30 travelled to the province in August, the crackdown on the independence movement was already severe, resulting in several deaths, including of this man, independence leader Mako Tabuni, shot in this street, witnesses say, by the Australian trained and funded police unit Detachment 88.

ERSON WENDA, RELATIVE (last month, voiceover translation): Clearly, it was them who killed him because we saw them shoot him and take him to their hospital.

HAYDEN COOPER: Since then, the crackdown has worsened. Victor Yeimo succeeded Tabuni as leader of the West Papuan National Committee, KNPB. This week, he sent this video to 7.30.

VICTOR YEIMO, CHAIRMAN, KNPB: We are the non-violent activists in West Papua. We will fight for our right of freedom according to the peaceful means in West Papua. We demand our right of self-determination to a referendum to be held in West Papua by UN peacefully and democratically.

HAYDEN COOPER: But the Indonesian authorities don’t believe his claim of non-violence and they’re pursuing KMPB like never before. In June, Indonesian soldiers went on a rampage in the highlands town and KNPB stronghold of Wamena, and now in a new development, police have raided the homes and offices of KNPB members in the area. Last weekend eight were arrested and witnesses say once again Detachment 88 was involved.

VICTOR YEIMO: When they arrest the KNPB brothers in Wamena, we saw Detachment 88 with one car, and another car with police, joined in by TNI.

HAYDEN COOPER: Indonesian police accuse the eight KNPB members arrested of making bombs and claim to have found explosives during the raid. Victor Yeimo rejects that and says his group is being framed as terrorists to justify Detachment 88’s presence.

VICTOR YEIMO: This is how Indonesia is now making a scenario with the terrorist issue in West Papua. As you know that in West Papua we never know how to make a bomb, how to create bomb.

HAYDEN COOPER: Some international observers and West Papuan advocates back that view

CAMMI WEBB-GANNON, SYDNEY UNI: I don’t think that the KNPB has any reason to be making bombs because they believe in a peaceful approach to pursuing independence. They want a referendum on independence in West Papua.

HAYDEN COOPER: In West Papua the Institute for Human Rights Advocacy, known as ELSHAM, has studied the arrests and suspects the explosives recovered by police were part of an elaborate set-up.

CAMMI WEBB-GANNON: They don’t have the capacity to gain the materials, so ELSHAM has actually said that the materials were probably planted in the KMPB members’ houses where they found the explosives and that’s not an unusual thing for security forces to do.

HAYDEN COOPER: The weekend raids follow the appointment of a new police chief in Papua, Brigadier General Tito Karnavian. His background as the former head of Detachment 88 generates serious unease among some Papuans, despite his assurances of a new inclusive approach.

CAMMI WEBB-GANNON: They will be opposed to his former role as the head of Densus 88, and as a police chief this just – it doesn’t seem to mesh with his new approach of working – to win the hearts and minds of Papuans.

RONNY KARENI, WEST PAPUAN EXPATRIATE: I have no doubt there’ll be definitely more crackdowns on KNPB members and those who are very active and very vocal in pursuing and calling for independence for West Papua, and that is for sure, that that’s one thing that Jakarta is aiming to shutting down political activists in West Papua.

HAYDEN COOPER: Ronny Kareni is one of many West Papuans living in Australia. He uses music to promote the independence cause on behalf of his friends at home.

RONNY KARENI: Every day, like, I got SMS coming through my phone and then the information is that their lives are under intimidation and they always live in state of fear and they’re being followed and it’s sad, but this is the reality in West Papua.

HAYDEN COOPER: 7.30 put several questions to the Indonesian Government but received no reply. Attempts to contact the new Papuan police chief were also unsuccessful.

As for Victor Yeimo, he is pushing for the release of the eight activists arrested on the weekend, and with his supporters here, he’s pressuring Australia to rethink its funding for Detachment 88.

RONNY KARENI: The Papuans will be pretty much living like prisoners in our own land where our movement, what we do, will be censored, will be monitored, will be followed, and as I said, there’s no room for democracy at all.

LEIGH SALES: Hayden Cooper reporting.

Original URL http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2012/s3604232.htm

So, who is the real terrorist? West Papua Responses to Australia, U.S. and Indonesia

Opinion

By Victor F. Yeimo
Chairman of the West Papua National Committee [ KNPB ]

September 9, 2012

(text edited/retranslated by West Papua Media for linguistic clarity)

Last week, Australia, the United States and Indonesia strengthened their economic, political and security ties while the people of West Papua were lamenting their oppression. That’s a sure sign that the practice of colonialism and capitalism will continue in West Papua. We do not know how much more blood will be shed as the people of West Papua will fall victim to the Indonesian military.

The world seems blind and deaf to the repression in West Papua. The world does not care about the Papuan struggle in upholding truth, justice, honesty and humanity. Instead, the world (community seems to be) trampling human values, truth, justice, honesty and all the rules of its international law.  The world only cares about its political and economic interests.

West Papua has become the object of economic transactions and political interests of U.S and Indonesia.  This dirty practice is still applied in the so-called “open era”. The lust of economic and political expansion of the states, without feeling of guilt, continues to increase the suffering of the West Papuans. The people of West Papua are not stupid.

People of West Papua fully understand how colonialism and exploitation scenarios work in this modern century.  Labelling and stigmatisation of indigenous people as terrorists, and then kill and take control of land and its natural resources are the ways that are always used by the colonial countries and capitalists.  Australia, Britain, the U.S. and Indonesia are implementing those ways in West Papua.

The peaceful resistance movement in West Papua is being silenced by the Indonesian military forces.  The space of peace and democracy has closed and Indonesia has opened a space of violence, so that they can easily kill and destroy the West Papuan peoples’ struggle with the stigma of terrorism.  Using that stigma to cement military cooperation between Indonesia, the U.S., Australia and other countries is considered essential.  For them, it is important to kill Papuans and to occupy the land of West Papua.

Violence has been created by rulers who oppress and exploit the people and the land of West Papua.  Terrorism is created for global rulers who have an interest in mastering the fields of exploitation.  Terrorism was created by the colonial rulers who invaded to take control of someone else’s land.  The territory of West Papua is controlled by Indonesia. The people of West Papua were massacred by Indonesia. Military power is funded, supported and trained by Australia, the U.S. and other pro-colonial and capitalist countries.

This is evidenced by the attitude of the Australian government and the presence of three ministers from Australia during the visit of the U.S. Secreatary of State Hillary Clinton to Indonesia while increasing support for the Indonesian defense forces. Meanwhile, thousands more Indonesian troops are being deployed to West Papua, and police in West Papua, led by the former head of Detachment 88 Anti-Terrorism Tito Karnavian, and detectives at the Criminal Investigation Unit of Papua Police are now controlled by members of Detachment 88.
Their goal is only one, to kill all members of the peaceful resistance movement in West Papua, to eliminate the people of West Papua, and to rule the roost on this land for the benefit and prosperity of colonialism and global capitalism.

So, who is the real terrorist?

How the Papuan people Continue to Unite in Resistance: Victor Yeimo Interview

http://hidupbiasa.blogspot.com/2011/08/how-papuan-people-continue-to-unite-in.html

[This Interview with Papuan activist Victor Yeimo was published on the
Kontinum website, because of a feeling that little information and
perspectives from the Papuan struggle is available in Indonesia, and so
people outside Papua are not aware of the what is actually going on
there. The original, in Indonesian, can be found at
http://kontinum.org/2011/08/wawancara_victor_papua/%5D

We see Papua’s problems as coming from a combination of problems with
the state and corporations, military violence, ecological damage,
genocide and extinction of indigenous cultures. The Papuan issue is also
a national issue for Indonesia, and one which is not yet resolved. Many
indigenous people are killed and tortured in order to legitimise the
destruction of Papua’s natural riches by the world’s giant companies
together with their closest partners: government.

Constitutional reasons, together with the logic of national unity and a
narrow nationalist view of ‘Indonesianness’ are used to legitimise
repression and oppression of the Papuan people and their land.

But amidst a climate of repression that doesn’t seem to subside, the
Papuan people struggle on, ever-bravely. To get to know the situation
and viewpoint of the resistance movement in Papua, Kontinum interviewed
Victor Yeimo, spokesperson of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB),
one of the people’s organisations that continues the active struggle in
the land of Papua:

Bearing in mind that there is very little and quite selective news about
the Papuan situation and the people’s struggle in the media, could you
explain for all our readers what is the latest situation in Papua?
Human rights violations of civilians by the Indonesian military and
police are still taking place. Global investment has ballooned after the
ACFTA agreement (ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreement), where President
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono had given instructions to police and military
commanders to use investment as a means of pacifying Papua (see Jurnal
Nasional, 16 May 2011, page 10). China is the home of the majority of
global investors, and the Papuan Provincial Body for Capital Investment
(Badan Penanaman Modal) has reported that there has been a 28% increase
in investment in Papua in the last 6 months.

There have also been cases of malpractice where Indonesia’s bureaucratic
elite have interfered with the governance of Papua. Corruption,
collusion and nepotism have increased due to the central government’s
inconsistency around laws and regulations.

Aside from that, Freeport workers have risen up and have gone on strike
(tabloidjubi.com will have news updates).

Illegal business from the police and military is also on the rise, such
as illegal logging, ,gold panning, bringing sex workers from outside
Papua, dealing in the wood of the eaglewood tree, and so on. Meanwhile
military repression to silence the democracy movement has been getting
more intense, and uses labels such as separatist, terrorist,
trouble-maker and so on.

What do the Papua people think about these situations, and how have they
reacted to them?
The people do not have much power, due to the military strength in
Papua. Meanwhile the government is seducing the people with trillions of
rupiah of foreign direct investment in their ancestral lands, and so in
the end there are many people that do not want to join organised
resistance movements.

The people continue to problematise the history of Papua’s integration
in the unified Indonesian state, which has always been manipulated by
the United States, Indonesia and the Netherlands. Because of that the
people still continue to unite in resistance.

Apart from the problems of history and culture, what is making the
Papuan people refuse Jakarta’s influence in their everyday lives and
want self-determination?
Because Jakarta’s approach is militaristic, exploitative, deceitful and
marginalising. From the beginning right up to the present day Jakarta
has regarded Papuans as second-class people, people close to animals.
And then the next thing they do is that they violate the arrangements
that they themselves have made. They are just not consistent in their
regulations and policy. Policy is also biassed in favour of incomers to
Papua. So the people prefer to think about sorting things out for
themselves. Many Papuans, as a result of all they have gone through,
believe that Indonesia’s sole aim in West Papua is to wipe out the
Papuan people and take control of the territory.

How have government, the bourgeoisie and Indonesian politicians viewed
the Papuan people’s struggle, and what has been their reaction?
They continue to be suspicious of all civil activists that operate in a
legal or democratic way. Indonesia also uses its military force and
criminal law to kill off west Papua’s peaceful movement. They also use
‘divide and conquer’ techniques to destroy the unity and solidarity of
the Papuan people’s resistance. Jakarta has poured a lot of money into
the military, police and intelligence organisations in order to make
Papua secure. Many Papuans have been recruited by enticing them with
money to join the ranks of Barisan Merah Putih (Red and White Front: a
militant Indonesian nationalist civil organisation). Many cases of abuse
by members of the military police have not been brought to justice, and
the perpetrators have even been rewarded with new jobs and promotions.

How have the Papuan people got involved in the struggle for freedom in
Papua? What kinds of resistance have developed?
Papuans take a peaceful and dignified approach, organising
demonstrations, prayer sessions, seminars, writing books or reporting
repression on the Internet. There are also some traditional militant
groups in the national Liberation army – Free Papua Movement (TPN-OPM)
who refer to themselves as a West Papuan military. They continue to use
guerilla tactics to chase the Indonesian army out of their areas.

What is the reaction of Papuan people towards the ‘separatist’ label
that is put on every movement that emerges in Papua?
We’re aware that we aren’t separatists, because the people on the
contrary consider Indonesia to be the separatists, as Indonesia arrived
in 1962 whereas the Papuan state was given independence in 1961.

The people regard this label as one imposed by the people in power, who
are anti-democratic and anti-human rights, as it is stated in the
Indonesian basic law set down in 1945 that colonisation should be erased
across the whole world. The people see this label as something imposed
by the military, to promote their own interests of expanding the
territory under military control in order to profit from securitization
projects. In books, speeches seminars etc. the people continue to state
that we are not separatists, because this land belongs to the Papuans,
it dot belong to Indonesia, the US, Britain or any other country.

How do you see the general Indonesian population’s understanding of, and
response to, the Papuan problem?
Much of Indonesian society doesn’t understand the problems of Papua.
Maybe people have been influenced by the opinion of those in power,
because of the propaganda they spread on TV and in newspapers, that
Papuans are poor, and so on. But actually we’re rich, only Indonesia
keeps marginalising the Papuan people’s rights. The Indonesian people,
with their blinkered nationalism, see the Papuan movements as being
against those in power. But they are also being treated in the same way
by our exploitative, greedy, gun-crazed, corrupt and chauvinist leadership.

For the majority of the Indonesian population, there are very few who
know just how the Indonesian leadership invaded, took over and then
annexed Papua, which was granted independence in 1961, through
agreements to establish Papua’s political status that were devised by
the US, Britain and the Netherlands, without involving the Papuan
people. Most people in Indonesia are still blind to the problems of
Papua and still ignorant of how Papuans have suffered, and so still take
the side of our cruel leaders.

Can you tell us about your organisation, KNPB?
West Papua National committee (KNPB) is a West Papuan people’s medium.
KNPB exists in different places throuout the land of Papua, and also has
consulates in the Indonesian cities of Jakarta and Manado. KNPB was set
up in 2008 with Buchtar Tabuni as chair and Victor Yeimo as General
Secretary. Towards the end of 2006 Buchtar was arrested and condemned to
3 years in prison and Victor undertook the everyday tasks. In August
2009 Victor was arrested and condemned to 3 years in prison. Now the
organisation is operating with Mako Tabuni as Chair I of KNPB, Buchtar
still as General Chair, and Victor Yeimo as International Spokesperson.

KNPB always encourages Papuans to see themselves as historically,
culturally and geographically different to Indonesians. Can you explain
what is the position of KNPB comrades regarding this?
We locate our struggle with the Papuan people. Whatever the people want,
that’s what we fight for. The historical, geographical and cultural
factors are actually like you said. We see that Indonesia’s involvement
in West Papua is no more than a story of protracted repression. This
territory is still like a protectorate. Whatever the people wish for,
that’s what KNPB will mediate as a focus for the struggle, using sincere
means.

What is KNPB’s vision of the “right to self-determination”, in
connection with the Papuan struggle?
Papuans do not regard the test of public opinion that took place in 1969
as final. The people continue to demand the right to determine their own
future. Many Papuans have died as a result of demanding these rights.
Therefore KNPB fights for a referendum as a decisive solution to the
Papuan conflict. This is so that the people can decide whether they want
to continue as part of Indonesia, or if they want independence. In
KNPB’s role as media, it continues to make demands to international
bodies and also appeals to the will of Jakarta so that the people are
given their democratic right to choose their future. Of course we need
the reinforcement of international solidarity, and to this end there is
a group of international lawyers working to investigate the status of
Papua and resolve it through international law.

What sort of Papua do the Papuan people themselves want?
A Papua that is free of all forms of repression: Indonesian
neocolonialism, neoliberalism/ global capitalism and militarism.

How do Freeport and the other corporations that have established
themselves in the land of Papua react to the people’s struggle there?
Freeport collaborates with the Indonesian leadership. They both look
after their economic and political interests in the same way. That means
that they label anyone who doesn’t accept the presence of these
corporations as separatists and terrorists. Freeport takes a line
opposing the Papuan people’s struggle, because in their view it will
harm their capital investments and vital assets.

What is their connection with the Indonesian government and bourgeoisie?
Freeport continues to deceive Indonesia and the Papuan people, but
Freeport wants Indonesia to continue as guarddog of its assets. So
Freeport keeps paying the military and Indonesian bourgeoisie to ensure
guaranteed security and legal favour. Papuans get nothing meaningful
from this arrangement.

What are the priority needs right now for friends involved in the
struggle for freedom in Papua?
-We really need the solidarity of oppressed people wherever they might
be, including people in Indonesia, to work together to chase all forms
of repression out of Papua.
-We really need solidarity from friends in the national press to take
the side of the Papuan people in their reportage.
-We really need consolidation at the national level to shape a
definitive solution for the Papuan people.
-We need some means of production that can be used to protect ourselves
against the ongoing siege of repression in the land of the bird of paradise.

What sort of solidarity do the Papuan people need? And what can friends
from outside Papua do to help the Papuan people’s struggle?
-We would like it if the Papuan issue was regularly discussed by friends
outside Papua.
-We would wish for some sort of national consolidation to discuss and
establish strategy and tactics for a joint resistance.
-We also need advocacy, economic and political information and reading
material that could help us be active in the field.

Thank-you, and respectful greetings to all Papuans in struggle.