West Papua

West Papuans and their supporters around the world traditionally raise the Morning Star flag — the symbol of an independent Papua — on December 1. This is an act of defiance, as flying the flag is outlawed by the occupying Indonesian government.

New Zealand-based West Papua solidarity activist and author Maire Leadbeater looks the new uprising in West Papua and the repression being carried out by Indonesian security forces while governments, including NZ’s, remain silent.

The recent uprising in West Papua was sparked by racist attacks on Papuan students in the Indonesian city of Surabaya. However, the West Papuan people have been struggling for more than 60 years against Indonesian occupation, human rights violations and for the right to self determination.

Indonesian occupation has led to human rights abuses, disappearances, kidnappings, extrajudicial killings, forced displacement and the death of an estimated 500,000 Papuans.

The decades-long struggle of the West Papuan people for self-determination has intensified in recent months — and Australia’s role in aiding and abetting the Indonesian occupation is once again being brought under international scrutiny.

Rex Rumakiek and Ronny Kareni from the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) addressed a rally in solidarity with West Papua in the Sydney suburb of Kensington on September 7. Organised by the Anticolonial Asian Alliance, the action came after students in Surabaya (East Java) were raided by military personnel and were called monkeys in a tirade of racial abuse.

On August 17, Indonesian Independence Day, armed Indonesian police, soldiers and radical Islamic militia stormed a student dormitory in the Indonesian city of Surabaya (on the island of Java), which housed West Papuan students, arresting 43.

In response to the crackdown on activists and protesters in West Papua, which has followed this attack, regional left organisations have issued the following joint statement.

On August 17, Indonesian Independence Day, armed Indonesian police, soldiers and radical Islamic militia stormed a student dormitory in the Indonesian city of Surabaya (on the island of Java), which housed West Papuan students, arresting 43. The attack reportedly took place because the students had allegedly refused to raise the Indonesian flag.

Independent human rights monitors are reporting that thousands of people have been displaced and healthcare facilities burned as a result of Indonesian military operations in Nduga, West Papua, according to the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP).

According to the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), an additional 650 Indonesian commandos were deployed along with an extra 2000 troops on March 12 to the Central Highlands of West Papua to fight the West Papua National Liberation Army.

In West Papua, human right abuses at the hands of the Indonesian military continue, including the use of chemical weapons.

On January 25, Benny Wenda, chairperson of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), handed a petition signed by 1.8 million West Papuans to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet. The petition called for the United Nations to “put West Papua back on the Decolonisation Committee agenda and ensure our right to self‐determination denied to us in 1969 is respected by holding an Internationally Supervised Vote”.

The petition handover was facilitated by the government of the South Pacific island state of Vanuatu.

Pages

Subscribe to West Papua