West Papua independence

British human rights organisation TAPOL, in collaboration with Indonesian human rights lawyer Veronica Koman, have just published an extensive report on the 2019 West Papua Uprising, writes Susan Price.

Rights groups have slammed a last-minute decision by the Indonesian authorities to deny parole to five Papuan activists jailed on charges of treason over a peaceful protest in August last year, writes James Balowski.

“We are winning the struggle with Indonesia,” said Benny Wenda, chair of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) in a statement released on September 10.“Politically, legally, morally, our arguments have prevailed.” 

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.

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

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.

Melbourne researcher into satellite-communication and surveillance Jacob Grech claims Australia is ramping up arms exports to Indonesia at a time when Indonesia is stepping up its militarism in West Papua.

A group of West Papuans living in Australia and their supporters are walking 73 kilometres from Geelong to Melbourne over April 26 to 30 to highlight the ongoing human rights abuses experienced by indigenous West Papuans who have lived under Indonesian occupation since 1963 and to raise awareness of the campaign for a free West Papua.

The distance of 73 kilometres was chosen to signify the distance between Australian territory (Deliverance Island) and West Papua.

The West Papuan Friendship Mural in the Darwin CBD, which has become a poignant symbol of solidarity between the people of West Papua and Australia, was half painted over on March 4 after strong pressure from the Indonesian Consulate.

The mural was painted in June 2015 as part of a week of action in solidarity the West Papuan struggle for independence from Indonesia.

About 50 people rallied on October 2 in a show of solidarity with the peoples of West Papua, and to protest the ongoing genocide and dispossession that has been carried out by a rapacious Indonesian state against the Indigenous population since the 1960s.

After some spirited speeches, including by members of the small local West Papuan community in exile, the rally set off for a short march from Town Hall to the New South Wales Parliament.

The rally also expressed its support for:

West Papuans, Aboriginal activists and supporters held a midday vigil outside the Indonesian consulate in Perth on December 1 to mark West Papuan Independence Day. The action also called for the end of the military occupation by Indonesia that has killed more than 500,000 West Papuans since 1961, when West Papua was annexed by Indonesia.
Indonesian police shot two senior high school students in Gorong Gorong, Timika, West Papua on September 28, the Institute for Papuan Advocacy and Human Rights (IPAHR) said the next day. The IPAHR said 17-year-old Kaleb Bogau was shot in the chest and died on the scene. Efrando Sabarofek, also 17, was shot in the chest and leg and is in a critical condition in the Timika hospital.