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.
Rex Rumakiek, a veteran campaigner for independence for his homeland of West Papua, lives in political exile in Australia. He serves as secretary of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP). On the eve of West Papua Flag Day, an annual commemoration of the declaration of independence by the Free Papua Movement on December 1, 1961, Rumakiek was part of a group that raised the Morning Star flag over Leichhardt Town Hall in Sydney.
New Zealand solidarity activist Maire Leadbeater’s new book, See No Evil: New Zealand’s betrayal of the people of West Papua, features a theme also relevant for Australia. Both countries were involved in the tragic betrayal of West Papua.
Indonesia has repeatedly fire-bombed a highland village in West Papuam, where indigenous Papuans have lived for thousands of years, the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) said in a July 16 statement.
The United Nations has declared May 3 as World Press Freedom Day. But one place where there is still no press freedom is Indonesian-occupied West Papua.
Local journalists are arrested and tortured. Foreign journalists are not allowed in, or strictly monitored. Even international websites supporting West Papuan independence are hacked, and shut down.
Free West Papua Campaign has responded to Australia’s election to the United Nations Human Rights Committee by calling on the Australian government to cease supporting Indonesia’s brutal occupation of West Papua.
In a Facebook statement, FWPC said: “It has to break with the tradition of successive Australian governments that have simply turned a blind eye to the human rights atrocities that have occurred on our doorstep for decades, and instead take a principled stance.”
The occupation of West Papua receives little attention in the UK. This is, in no small part, due to Indonesia’s ban on foreign journalists and its outlawing of West Papuan social movements who try to speak out internationally. However, West Papua has not been forgotten by international corporations, including companies from the UK. For them, Indonesia’s brutal occupation of West Papua provides lucrative opportunities for profit.
The report below was compiled by the Free West Papua Campaign on July 8.
We have received urgent reports from West Papua that between June 30 and July 6, about 150 West Papuan people were arrested, and many of them tortured, by the Indonesian police for peaceful actions in the Papuan province of Nabire.
“We have just received urgent news from West Papua that 200 people have been arrested and 26 tortured by Indonesian police, two days before Indonesia hosts the World Press Freedom Day in Jakarta,” the Free West Papua Campaign said on May 1.