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Carving up Indonesia’s Papua province

August 19, 2022

Carving up Indonesia’s Papua province

Widodo says move from two to five provinces is to aid development, skeptics see blow at indigenous people’s power


The five administrative divisions of Indonesian Papua. Central Papua is aqua. Highland Papua is blue. South Papua is forest green. Papua province (what’s left of the giant province from which those three were separated) is lavender. West Papua, unchanged territorially, is pea green. Map: Wikipedia

The Indonesian Government’s decision to carve up the sprawling province of Papua into four has been widely seen by its detractors as a strategic move to divide and conquer the rebellious indigenous population living mostly along the central mountain chain.

But the leading proponent of the move, President Joko Widodo, who has probably paid more attention to Papua than any previous leader, has always insisted it is aimed at speeding up development, delivering better public services to a vast region where poverty is commonplace.

Despite a last-minute intervention by the Papuan People’s Council (MRP), which threatened widespread demonstrations, the three new provinces – South Papua, Central Papua and Highland Papua – were finally declared on June 30.

MRP chairman Timotius Murib claimed the move was made without proper consultation and would bring more non-indigenous Papuans into local government posts, already a festering sore point among highland community leaders.

The three new provinces have 20 districts in total – four of them in South Papua, where Merauke is the administrative center, and eight each in Central Papua and Highland Papua. The rump Papua province retains nine districts spread out along the northern coast.

The fifth province of Indonesian Papua is the pre-existing West Papua, which remains territorially intact. It contains 1.1 million people and draws economic benefits from British petroleum company BP’s Tangguh liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility in the so-called Bird’s Head region.

Controversial changes to Papua’s 2001 Special Autonomy Law last year cleared the way for the recent division, which appears to cut across the seven tribal Papuan areas that Widodo formally recognized in a 2020 presidential instruction.

At 323,370 square kilometers, Papua province was by far Indonesia’s largest, roughly the size of Norway and with a populace of barely 4.3 million. About half those people are migrants from other islands who have settled mostly in lowland areas.

According to the Bureau of Statistics, the pre-division Papua province’s income last year was 14.7 trillion rupiah, or US$991.5 million, placing it fifth behind Jakarta (Rp72.18 trillion), West Java (Rp41.47 trillion), East Java (Rp31.2 trillion) and Central Java (Rp26.7 trillion).

Revenues are boosted by the presence of Freeport Indonesia’s Grasberg copper and gold mine in Central Papua, a new province stretching from the city of Nabire 200 kms across the Central Highlands to Freeport’s logistics center of Timika (pop: 142,000) on the south coast.

Although the best estimates suggest Freeport’s contribution may be as high as Rp12-13 trillion, there appears to be little to show for it – or for the $$8 billion the province has received in additional special autonomy allocations from the central government since 2002.

Critics blame that on corruption and the result of a concentration of power in the hands of bureaucrats and politicians in Jayapura, the capital and largest city (pop:363,000) located in the far northeast corner of the province bordering Papua New Guinea.

As a land bridge linking the north and south coasts, Central Papua stands to be the economic engine of the region, home not only to Freeport but also to the promising Wabu gold deposit and a long-planned hydro-electric project on the Urumuka River flowing out of Lake Enaratoli.

Construction workers still have to finish a 23km stretch of the road linking Timika and the new province capital of Nabire (pop: 170,000), sitting on the 4,325km Trans-Papua Highway connecting Sorong in the west to Merauke in the southeast.

Another of Widodo’s pet infrastructure projects, which will open up the highlands for the first time, the final 183 kms of the pioneering highway are expected to be completed by 2024, although not all of it will have been paved by then.

Why the government chose Nabire as the capital has been the subject of conjecture. In any case the choice angered local Amungme and Kamoro tribal leaders. Freeport reportedly lobbied against the tribals’ choice, Timika, worried it would have to deal with the daily demands of a more powerful local government.

There were more compelling political reasons as well, mostly stemming from the past dominance of ailing provincial governor Lukas Enembe, 55, a loyalist of ex-president and Democrat Party leader Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono whose term ends later this year.

Enembe, the first highlander elected to the post, shunned Widodo’s early visits to Papua, but appears to have been brought into line in 2018 by corruption allegations involving Papuan student scholarships, in addition to charges that he interfered in district elections.

Analysts say the ruling Indonesian Democrat Party for Struggle (PDI-P) and the second-ranked Golkar Party pushed hard for Nabire as part of an overall effort to end the Democrat Party’s hold on the province ahead of the 2024 legislative elections.

Breaking up the province into three power centers will have the effect of diluting the domination of Enembe’s majority Dani tribe and weakening the authority of Timika-based Mimika district chief Eltinus Omaleng, who steps down in late 2023.

An Amungme, Omaleng has his eyes on the governorship of Central Papua, but political sources say Jakarta favors former Papua police chief Paulus Waterpauw, 58, now apparently learning the ropes as temporary governor of West Papua.

The trusted 58-year-old intelligence officer served as provincial police commander from 2014 to 2015, then was brought back in 2019-2021 to deal with the fallout from riots that engulfed the province after a racial incident in the East Java city of Surabaya.

A hardline Golkar loyalist, Waterpauw is a Christian member of the small Kamoro tribe from West Papua’s Fak-Fak district, more than half of whose inhabitants are Muslim. That’s unusual for Indonesian Papua. About 62% of the West Papua population is Christian and the figure in pre-division Papua province was 70%.


2) Freeport tailings allegedly cause siltation in Manasari Village in Mimika
Freeport Tailings – News Desk 19 August 2022

Jayapura, Jubi – Papua Legislative Council’s (DPRP) Special Group chair John NR Gobai said the Manasari Village community suspected siltation of the river around their village, which is located in Far East Mimika District, Mimika Regency, Papua Province.

Based on what residents told Gobai during his recent visit to the Pomako area of Mimika, the siltation was allegedly caused by the tailings of PT Freeport Indonesia.

He said boat drivers expressed difficulty when taking passengers to the Manasari or Fanamo Village in Far East Mimika District via the river to Agimuga District.

“Because there is siltation in the Kamora River and other rivers around the Far East Mimika District, from Manasari to the Agimuga River Estuary,” John Gobai told Jubi on Thursday, August 18, 2022.

Gobai said there were differences between the past and present conditions due to alleged siltation caused by a lot of sediment in the rivers.

“This siltation hampers the route of boats along the river, which is always used by people in Far East Mimika and people heading to Agimuga. According to information from residents, the sediment is suspected to be from PT Freeport Indonesia’s tailings disposal,” he said.

Gobai further asked the Papua Forestry and Environmental Agency to form an independent team to investigate the issue, particularly because the river suspected of silting up provided transportation access to Asmat Regency.

Transportation access in Mimika, Gobai said, is more river and sea routes than land routes, and more water transportation than land transportation because the number of rivers in M
imika Regency is very large. “Likewise in Asmat Regency. This situation will greatly disrupt the lives of the people of Mimika and Asmat, who are inseparable from rivers, sago, and canoes,” he said. (*)

Writer: News DeskEditor: News Desk

Papua conflict remains after 77 years of Indonesia’s independence: Papua Peace Network

August 16, 2022

Papua conflict remains after 77 years of Indonesia’s independence: Papua Peace Network

Papua Conflict – News Desk 16 August 2022

Jayapura, Jubi – Indonesia will celebrate its 77th Independence Day on Wednesday, August 17, 2022. The Papua Peace Network (JDP) believes that today, even after 77 years, the Indonesian government has not been able to resolve the Papua conflict, resulting in prolonged armed conflict in Papua.

The JDP urges the Indonesian government to make a humanitarian pause as a precursor to holding a peace talk. JDP said armed conflicts continue to occur in Nduga, Intan Jaya, Dogiyai, Deiyai, Paniai, Yahukimo, Tolikara, Puncak, and Bintang Mountains.

JDP spokesperson Yan Cristian Warinussy said that armed conflicts between the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB) and the Indonesian Military (TNI) and Police had made civilians targets or victims.

“The civilians I am referring to include indigenous Papuans in the conflict area, as well as medical workers, teachers, workers in road construction or telecommunications tower, traders, and motorcycle taxi drivers. There are also victims among the warring parties, both from the security forces and TPNPB,” Warinussy told Jubi via WhatsApp message on Sunday, August 14, 2022.

Warinussy criticized that various cases of human rights violations were not handled properly so that the motives behind such incidents were never revealed while the perpetrators were not held accountable. The warring parties tend to accuse each other.

“What happens is throwing statements at each other and playing victim. This includes the shooting of the Papua Intelligence head and the recent death of mobile brigade member Diego Rumaropen in Jayawijaya Regency,” said Warinussy.

JDP noted that the Papua conflict, which has lasted for approximately 50 years, was also encouraged by the practice of illegal firearms and ammunition trade, some of which involving members of the TNI and police. This practice has brought hundreds of manufactured and assembled firearms to Papua, which is later owned by the TPNPB armed group.

Warinussy said that the TNI and police had started a softer step by approaching village officials and community leaders in conflict areas. However, lately, these parties approached by the security forces have allegedly become targets of violence by the TPNPB.

“It is not even uncommon for members of the TNI and police who are trying to make social contact with the people to end up becoming targets of the TPNPB. Such situations have repeatedly occurred and continue to occur in Papua,” he said.

In welcoming the 77th Independence Day of Indonesia, the Papua Peace Network called for a humanitarian pause as a first step in starting a peaceful dialogue between the conflicting parties.

“President Joko Widodo can immediately take important steps to resolve and end the armed conflict in Papua right now. Every day the number of victims keeps increasing including the civilians,” he said.

Warinussy said his party believed that violence would never end the conflict. “We want the armed conflict in Papua to end right now, in order to provide peace for all Papuans and Indonesians who live and work on this land,” he said. (*)

Writer: News DeskEditor: News Desk

Make the pulpit free to protest the New York Agreement, 5 people were arrested by the police

August 15, 2022

Make the pulpit free to protest the New York Agreement, 5 people were arrested by the police

Freedom of Expression in Papua – News Desk
August 15, 2022


Director of LBH Papua, Emanuel Gobay (far left) while accompanying five participants from the pulpit freely protesting the New York Agreement during a police questioning at the Jayapura Police Headquarters, Monday (15/8/2022). – Doc. LBH Papua

Jayapura, Jubi – Five activists from Kunume Numbay who held a free pulpit in Jayapura City to protest the signing of the 1962 New York Agreement were arrested by police, Monday (15/8/2022). Until this news was revealed, the five people were still being questioned by the police at the Jayapura City Police Headquarters.

The Director of the Legal Aid Institute or LBH Papua, Emanuel Gobay, stated that the five people arrested by the police held a free pulpit on Jalan Lembah Bahari, Dok V Atas, Jayapura City. The five people are Kunume Numbay Deputy Chairman Jimmy Boroway, Kunume Numbay Secretary Regina Wenda, Brus Sangkek, Roy Haluk and Mina Tabuni.

Kunume Numbay plans to hold a free pulpit at the location at around 10.00 WP, to protest the signing of the 1962 New York Agreement. The New York Agreement is an agreement to transfer power over the Land of Papua from the Netherlands to Indonesia. The agreement, which was signed on August 15, 1962, was made without involving the Indigenous Papuans.

Gobay stated that when 14 Kunume Numbay activists arrived at the free pulpit location at 10.00 WP, the location was already guarded by the police. At around 10.25 WP, the police dispersed the free pulpit, and arrested five Kunume Numbay activists.

“The crowd gathered and played Mambesak songs. When they were about to open the pamphlet for display, [the pamphlet] was immediately seized by the police. Subsequently, the police arrested five people and took them to the Jayapura Police Headquarters," Gobay told Jubi via the WhatsApp messaging service, Monday.

Until this news was revealed, the five people were still being questioned by the police. "[We] hope that the Jayapura Police Chief and his staff can release the 5 people [who organized] the free pulpit," he said.

Gobay questioned the police’s move to disband the free pulpit, because the free pulpit is a form of expression guaranteed by Law Number 9 of 1998 concerning Freedom to Express Opinions in Public. Moreover, according to Gobay, the free pulpit activity has no impact on traffic jams. (*)

FROM FB posting on AWPA page
#URGEN Numbay, 15 Agustus 2022. Dalam rangka menolak New York Agreement 1962. Kunume Numbay mengadakan aksi repuh story yang di ikuti masa aksi sebanyak 14 oran… See more

#URGEN Numbay, 15th Aug 2022 In order to reject the New York Agreement 1962. Kunume Numbay held a story-breaking action followed by a period of 14 people in front of the Bahari Valley road Dok V upper.

There has been an arrest and arrest of 5 members of Kunume Numbay by the Indonesian Republic Police. (Jayapura City Police) on Monday, August 15, 2022 at 10:30 am wpb.

The names of those arrested are:
1. Mr.Jimmy Boroway (Deputy Chief Kunume Numbay)
2. Mrs. Reaggy Wenda (Secretary)
3. brus sangkek (Member)
4. Boy Wenda (Member)
5. Mina Tabuni (Member)

Presently 5 detained Kunume Numbay members are at Jayapura City Police Station.

Advocate please…
Thank you..



2) Interim President: Mourning the 60th anniversary of the New York Agreement
August 15, 2022 in News, Statement

Today, August 15th, marks sixty years since West Papua was betrayed. On this day in 1962, my people’s future was snatched from us by men in New York, without a single West Papuan present.

The New York Agreement was a secret deal signed by three colonial powers, the United States, Indonesia, and the Netherlands. It produced the Indonesian invasion of 1963, the start of our occupation and the beginning of our anguish. But the deal also contained a stipulation for a UN referendum, in which the people of West Papua would decide our own destiny. A fair referendum never arrived: the 1969 Act of No Choice was a sham, with just over 1000 people intimidated into staying with Indonesia. West Papuans are still waiting to fulfill our right to self-determination, six decades later.

Today we mourn our betrayal, and the hundreds of thousands of West Papuans killed, tortured, and imprisoned under Indonesian occupation. But we must also commit ourselves to strengthening our struggle for liberation. On behalf of the Provisional Government, I am calling on all West Papuans – in the cities, in exile, in the refugee camps, or fighting in the bush – to refuse to celebrate Indonesian Independence day on August 17th. Do not raise their flag. We have our own flag, our own Independence Day, which we are ready to celebrate when our sovereignty is finally delivered.

To the world, I say: help us right the great wrong of 1962 and achieve our independence. With our Provisional Government, our Cabinet offices, our Ministers and our army, we are ready to take charge of our own affairs. To Indonesia, I say: you must allow the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights into West Papua, to show the world what you are doing to my people.

August 15th, 1962, will always be a day of sorrow for us West Papuans. It is very painful to think of all the indigenous Melanesian people who lost their lives under Indonesian rule. But we will never accept occupation: I am calling on my people not to take part in Indonesia’s independence celebrations. We are instead mourning the killing and displacement of West Papuans in Nduga, Oksibil, Maybrat and elsewhere.

We will keep fighting until there is self-determination, a fair and internationally mediated referendum, until we win independence. Our time will come.

Benny Wenda
Interim President
ULMWP Provisional Government

Yamin Kogoya: West Papua’s colonial fate – UN ‘New York Agreement’

August 14, 2022

Yamin Kogoya: West Papua’s colonial fate – UN ‘New York Agreement’

By APR editor – August 15, 2022

COMMENTARY: By Yamin Kogoya

West Papua … The only appropriate and adequate justice left for Papuans is to be given back their sovereignty. Image: Free West Papua/Twitter

Sixty years ago today — on 15 August 1962 — the fate of a newly born nation-state West Papua was stolen by men in New York. The infamous event is known as “The New Agreement”, a deal between the Netherlands and Indonesia over West Papua’s sovereignty.

A different fate had been intended for the people of West Papua in early 1961 when they elected their national Council from whom the Dutch were asking guidance for the transfer of administration back to Papuan hands.

Shockingly, the threat of colonialism came from America several months later when a journalist advocating liberty denounced a secret Washington proposal to betray America’s Pacific War ally Papua to an Asian colonial power.

The “special” nature of the US proposal had the opposite intent than that of the international law. The International Trusteeship System, Chapter XII of the United Nations Charter is meant protect a people’s right of independence and have the UN prepare annual reports about their welfare and progress towards independence for each territory the United Nations has become responsible for, including those invaded and subjugated by UN troops.

West Papua is both.

Instead of protection and annual reports, the United Nations by omission of duty is enabling Indonesian impunity for military campaigns of terror and administrative suspension of all human rights.

West Papuans have suffered hundreds of thousands of extrajudicial deaths, disappearances and looting of many hundreds of billions of dollars throughout the UN appointed administration by Indonesia.

Weekly stories of horror hidden from international news media by an ongoing Indonesian declaration that Papua is a quarantine zone requiring special permission for NGOs and journalists to enter.The Council’s response was to present to the Dutch a flag and manifesto of independence asking all the peoples of West Papua to unite as one people under their new Morning Star flag.

On 1 December 1961, the Dutch raised the Morning Star flag, and for more than 60 years the people have united as one raising their Morning Star flag.

But declassified American records reveal horrific deceptions. A group inside the White House had begun secret negotiations with the Republic of Indonesia around a proposal for an illegal use of the International Trusteeship System, or to quote the US, “a special United Nations trusteeship of West New Guinea” that irrespective of Papua’s objections would then ask Indonesia to assume control.

Fiscal and geopolitical deceptions
Every principle written into the UN’s charter, the Rules of Procedure of the Trusteeship Council, and even Indonesia’s own New York Agreement have been violated by the ongoing Indonesian conduct, international mining and United Nations omission of lawful conduct.

These events proceeded against the backdrop of a global movement calling for decolonialisation that rippled across Asia, Africa and the Pacific, with the West and the Communist bloc supporting or opposing one another to gain influence in these movements.

The newly independent nation of Indonesia, which had been under Dutch rule for more than 300 years, declared independence on 17 August 1945. Sukarno was the man of this era, leading the outburst of a long-awaited human desire for freedom and equality.

In the same era, wars broke out in Korea and Vietnam; the world endured the Cuban missile crisis as forces of the West and the Communist bloc continued to clash and reshape the destiny of these new nation-states.

Leading up to the final recognition of their new republic in December 1949, Indonesians experienced another brutal, protracted war with the Dutch. The Netherlands side wanted to reclaim their past colonial glory, and the Indonesian side wanted to removed Dutch occupation and authority from their nation.

Indonesia’s founding fathers, Sukarno and Suharto, were significant men of their era, with ambitions to match — ambitions that led to the massacre of millions of alleged Indonesian Chinese communists in the mid-1960s; the same ambition that placed the Papuan people on the path they are on now, carved by blood, tears, trauma, war, killing, rape, exploitation, betrayal, and being cheated at every turn by the world’s highest institutions.

Many nations around the world had to face difficult choices, with emerging leaders of all types avoiding the cause of their own imagined nation-state. This was a most turbulent era of development and globalisation.

Arguably, most conflicts around the world today stem from unresolved grievances brought about by this turbulence and divisive historical events.

West Papua’s extended conflicts for the last 60 years are a direct result of being mishandled by Western forces who sought to take Papua’s independence for themselves.

As of today, Indonesians (and those unaware of West Papua’s legal status under international law) think that this is a domestic issue, a narrative which Jakarta elites insist on propagandising to the world.

The truth is that West Papua remains an unresolved issue with international implications. More specifically, the UN still has the responsibility to correct their sixty-year-old mistake.

The UN breached its own charter
At least in principle, all 111 articles of the UN Charter are aimed at promoting peace, dignity, and equality. One of the key elements of the charter (in relation to decolonisation) is its declaration that colonial territories would be considered non-self-governing territories. The United Nations’ responsibility was to provide a “full measure of self-government” to those nations colonised by foreign powers. West Papua’s story as a new nation began within these international frameworks.

West Papua was already listed under the UN’s decolonisation system as a non-self-governing territory before 1962 and the Dutch were preparing Papuans for full independence in accordance with the UN charter guidelines. The public has been deceived by trivialising this agreement and downplaying it as simply two powers — Netherlands and Indonesia — fighting over West Papuan territory.

The UN, as a caretaker of this trust, had a responsibility to provide a measure for Papuans to achieve independence. The UN instead handed (abandoned) this trust to Indonesia, who then abused that international trust by invading West Papua in May 1963. This scandalous historical error has brought unprecedented cataclysm to Papuans to date.

The Indonesian perspective
Most Indonesians have been fooled by their government to think that West Papua’s fate was decided during a referendum, known as “Pepera” or “Act of Free Choice” in 1969, which Papuans now refer to as the “Act of No Choice”. Indonesians assume that Indonesian occupancy is good for West Papua, but this is not true: they are unaware that Indonesia is illegally occupying West Papua and their government is in breach of many international laws.

It seems that the Western powers have no issue turning a blind eye when one of their endorsed global players are breaking their laws.

During the period of July to September 1969, the Act of Free Choice was carried out by the Indonesian government. The UN was there but did not act or speak against it. This referendum was one of the items stipulated in the New York Agreement seven years earlier.

About 2025 Papuan elders among the one million Papuans who were handpicked at gunpoint and forced to say “yes” to remain with Indonesia. The UN acted as a bystander, unwilling to interfere with the tyranny taking place before them.

What we seem to forget is the fact that before the referendum in 1969, Indonesia had already launched a large-scale martial and administrative operation throughout West Papua, instilling fear and setting the stage for the rubber stamp referendum to proceed.

What happened in 1969 was a tragedy and a farce of human autonomy. The UN and international community betrayed West Papua on the world’s stage.

The New York Agreement
Andrew Johnson and Julian King, Australian researchers who specialised in this case, have argued that West Papua is still a non-self-governing territory, and that Indonesia has no legal or moral right to claim sovereignty over West Papua. These researchers insist that West Papua is still a non-self-governing territory, and Indonesia is only there temporarily as an administrator — they have no legal basis to introduce any law or policy towards West Papua.

In their ground-breaking seminal work West Papua Exposed: An Abandoned Non-Self-Governing or Trust Territory, Johnson and King conclude that:


No Papuan was invited or included during the agreement. This act itself speaks volumes – the complete denial of Papuans’ intrinsic worth as human beings to have any input into their fate is the basis for all kinds of violence, abuse, torture and mistreatment towards Papuan people.

This is the first violation and the most egregious because the Indonesian government’s draconian policies towards Papuans have consistently exhibited and reinforced this prejudiced behaviour over the past 60 years. Indonesians do not treat Papuans as equal human beings, therefore, what Papuans think, desire and feel doesn’t matter.

It was the right move for the UN to accept West Papua as a Trust Territory. However, the UN abandoned this sacred trust to Indonesia a year later, even though Indonesia’s behaviour prior to, during, and after this agreement had already been in breach of many UN charters and principles.

For example, Chapters 11 (XI), 12 (XII), and 13 (XIII) of the UN Charter governing decolonisationand Papua’s right to self-determination, as specified in the New York Agreement’s Articles 18 (XVII), 19 (XIX), 20 (XX), 21 (XXI), and 22 (XXII) have not been followed.

Additionally, the UN’s failure to uphold its principles and its silence on its disastrous mistake constitutes a serious breach of international law.

Secret documents
Declassified documents from the United States, Australia, and the United Nations reveal irrefutable evidence of what went wrong behind the scenes prior to, during, and after the Netherlands-Indonesia agreement.

The idea of exploiting the UN Trusteeship system to transfer the sovereignty of West Papua to Indonesia was already proposed in 1959 by the US embassy in Jakarta.

Now-declassified document titled “A proposal for Settlement of the West New Guinea Dispute”, dated on May 26, 1959, stated:


In the US minds, the formula was exploiting the UN’s mechanisms to give West Papua sovereignty to Indonesia.

A year later on 3 March 1961, the US embassy wrote:


According to King and Johnson, the 1962 New York Agreement story has been a deception for 60 years; the agreement was not drafted after the Indonesian invasion in 1962. The agreement was proposed by an American lawyer in May 1959, modified in 1960, proposed to Indonesia in March 1961, and executed in 1962.

West Papua is not sold or traded under the Agreement. It is an agreement between UN members to share the responsibility for the welfare of West Papuan people (trusteeship), and it asks the UN to be the “administrator” (occupying force) in 1962. When the United Nations backed the agreement, Pakistani troops were appointed to administer West Papua in 1962, followed by Indonesian troops in 1963.

As it turns out, armies of secret dealers in UN uniforms were behind the scenes setting agendas, proposing solutions, and implementing them without consequences.

It appears then that the New York Agreement itself, the terms of reference upon which the UN General Assembly voted on the agreement, the UN’s role from 1962 to 1963, the final Act of Free Choice in 1969, and the UN General Assembly vote on the Act of Free Choice’s outcome were all facades — a treacherous performance fit for a tragic drama.

A carefully orchestrated plan was devised to sacrifice West Papua to Indonesia by manipulating the UN’s system by the United States — the leader of the free democratic world and the tyrant flexing its vast military power.

The fight to reclaim stolen sovereignty lives on
Papua played an important role in reshaping geopolitical arrangements between the West and the communist bloc, and it will continue to do so if this issue remains unresolved.

The future in which West Papua will play a critical role has arrived. The US and its allies will have to face China or any other power or ideological forces that are challenging the liberal world order.

The responses, criticisms, or reactions arising from nations around the world — whether it be on the issues of covid-19, the Ukraine war, Taiwan, Solomon Islands-China security deals, or any other global issue — suggest that the grand narrative of the West as the saviour of mankind pushed by the US is being questioned and rejected.

Another new grand narrative is now emerging, and that is China.

West Papua at a crossroads
What role will West Papua play in the current geopolitical tussle between the West and China is impossible to predict. This is something that must be dealt with by regional and international communities. West Papua’s issues do not dominate the headlines like Ukraine, Solomon Islands, or Taiwan, but they have their own significance in reshaping regional and global geopolitical arrangements.

The world of Papuans 60 years ago was different from now. More than half of a country abused, tortured and mistreated under Indonesia occupation is driving Papuans to become a minority in their own homeland. It has also strengthened their will to live and fight, and most Papuan youth are equipped with knowledge of the crimes against their people and what they can do to bring about justice and facilitate change.

Papuan resistance groups are increasingly becoming anti-Western, believing that the West is exploiting them while supplying arms to the Indonesian military. West Papuan students across Indonesia often wear revolutionary hats or t-shirts displaying socialist and communist revolutionary leaders such as Fidel Castro, Lenin, Che Guevara, and Ho-Chi Mi — they are well-versed in Leftist literatures.

The attitude of the general population in West Papua is also changing. Where previous generations have had a strong connection with the West due to shared experiences of World War II and influence by Western missionaries, young people are now questioning everything about the current state of affairs and asking why they are in this predicament.

Papua’s governor also praised Russia for its generous sponsorship of Papuans to study in the country. The Governor is currently building Russian and Papuan museums to strengthen this relationship and honour Russian anthropologist Nicholai Nicholaievich Mikluho Maklai, who advocated for the rights of New Guinea People 150 years ago.

The West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB)
The armed wing of the Free Papua Movement (OPM), the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB), has also been changing its armed resistance strategy against Indonesian occupation.

They are shooting and killing anyone they consider a traitor or an invader, an attitude never seen before. It is dangerous because of not only their drastic approach, but the retaliation from heavily armed Indonesian security forces, who are aggressively shooting, burning, rampaging, and bombing anyone they consider to be OPM.

The TPNPB and Indonesian security forces have been at war for many years, and Jakarta has responded with heavy handed security measures by sending thousands of soldiers to hunt down the alleged perpetrators.

Recently, this has intensified, resulting in the displacement of thousands of Indigenous Papuans.

West Papua civilians could be subjected to an unprecedented mass atrocity if (or when) this situation escalates. According to a report published by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, structural factors behind conflict in the region are showing signs of events that could trigger mass atrocities against civilians.

As reported by the UCA News, Gadjah Mada University researchers in Yogyakarta reported 348 violent acts in Papua between 2010 and March of this year. There were at least 464 deaths, including 320 civilians, and 1654 injuries, mostly civilians.

There are far more human tragedies unfolding in West Papua each day than what this figure represents. Unfortunately, Jakarta has blocked independent journalists from entering the region, making it difficult to verify these claims.

International voices for human rights investigation
In March 2022, UN experts from the Office of the Human Rights High Commissioner published a report highlighting serious violations and abuses against Papuans.

In addition, Jakarta has not granted a request for a visit by the UN High Commissioner to the region made by the UN Human Rights Council.

Despite the Tuvalu resolution of the Pacific Island Forum in 2019 and another resolution from African Caribbean and Pacific nations requesting Jakarta for a UN visit, the request has not yet yielded results.

On August 3, ABC Radio Australia hosted Benny Wenda, the UK-based exiled West Papua independence leader, to discuss the current situation in his homeland.

According to Wenda, the plight of West Papua to determine its own fate is clouded by the current geopolitical intrigues between the West and China. The status of West Papua is an unresolved international issue that has been swept under the carpet.

Even though the 52nd Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) meeting of heads of state and government held in Suva, Fiji from 11 to 14 July 2022 left West Papua out of the forum’s agenda, Wenda expressed optimism that West Papua would not be forgotten at the next meeting.

Indonesia and West Papua at a crossroads again
Although West Papua has been buried deep within diplomacy for 60 years, it remains the most important issue affecting Jakarta’s relations with China and the US, as well as the way big powers deal with the independent Indigenous nation states across Oceania.

Above all, geopolitical war via chequebook diplomacy, media, or forming military and trade alliances and deals in the Pacific has become a real issue that we all must face.

The peaceful blue Pacific (Oceania), which Australia and New Zealand consider their “backyard” could become a new Middle East.

In response to this fear, the White House invited Pacific leaders to dinner later this year with Joe Biden.

At the outset, West Papua issues might seem insignificant, irrelevant, or forgotten to the world, but in reality, it is one of the most significant issues influencing how Jakarta’s engage with the world and how the world engages with Jakarta.

Once again, Jakarta is caught in the middle between great powers, and they do not have the same leverage to play the same games as their ancestors did so many years ago. Jakarta elites need to recognise that they stole something so precious that belonged to Papuan people, and this must be returned to the rightful owner.

The only appropriate and adequate justice left for Papuans is to be given back their sovereignty. This is the only way for Papua to heal and have decades of violence against them reconciled.

Yamin Kogoya is a West Papuan academic who has a Master of Applied Anthropology and Participatory Development from the Australian National University and who contributes to Asia Pacific Report. From the Lani tribe in the Papuan Highlands, he is currently living in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.


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wp 1) Prosecutor demands one year jail for Morning Star raisers

August 12, 2022

Prosecutor demands one year jail for Morning Star raisers

Alleged Treason Trial – News Desk 12 August 2022

Jayapura, Jubi TV– In the follow-up trial of the alleged treason at the Jayapura District Court on Thursday, August 11, 2022, Public Prosecutor Achmad Kobarubun demanded that the seven Morning Star flag raisers be sentenced to one year in prison respectively.

The seven people being tried were Melvin Yobe (29), Melvin Fernando Waine (25), Devio Tekege (23), Yosep Ernesto Matuan (19), Maksimus Simon Petrus You (18), Lukas Kitok Uropmabin (21), and Ambrosius Fransiskus Elopere (21). They raised the Morning Star at Cenderawasih Sports Center on December 1, 2021.

Even though Melvin Yobe and his friends raised the Morning Star peacefully and did not carry weapons, they were accused of treason nonetheless.

The public prosecutor also asked the Court that evidence in the form of a koteka (sheath), a noken (woven bag), two necklaces, four jeans, five shirts, and a jacket be returned to the rightful owners. Meanwhile, evidence in the form of three mobile phones, two cellphone chargers, a slingshot, two Morning Star flags, and a banner were asked to be destroyed. The defendants were also required to pay a court fee of Rp 5,000 each.

After listening to the prosecutor’s demands, chief judge RF Tampubolon said that Melvin Yobe and his friends could prepare their own defenses, or make such defenses through their legal advisors.

“The defendants have the right to submit their own handwritten defenses, or through legal counsel. It’s up to each one,” Tampubolon said to the defendants. (*)

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wp AWPA West Papua Update. No 5/ 2022

August 3, 2022

AWPA West Papua Update. No 5/ 2022

3 August 2022
There has been no improvement in the situation in West Papua . In fact, a new report “Don’t Abandon us: Preventing Mass Atrocities in Papua.” by the US Holocaust Memorial Museum , is warning that mass killings of civilians could occur in West Papua in the next year to 18 months if the current conditions continue to deteriorate to a worst-case scenario. Although large-scale violence against civilians is not occurring yet in Papua, early warning signs are visible and warrant attention, says the report…………

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Truth and Reconciliation Commission solution to resolve human rights violations in Papua

August 1, 2022

Truth and Reconciliation Commission solution to resolve human rights violations in Papua
Truth And Reconciliation Commission – News Desk 1 August 2022

Jayapura, Jubi – Head of the Cenderawasih University’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (KKR) Team Melkias Hetharia said that the formation of the KKR was the right solution to resolve human rights violations in Papua and build peace. This was conveyed by Hetharia in an online discussion held by the Alliance for Democracy for Papua on Friday, July 29, 2022.

Hetharia said the Truth and Reconciliation Commission would be tasked with revealing the truth through investigations into human rights violations in Papua. An honest confession and a sincere apology from the perpetrator are much needed.

“That way, reconciliation will be made between victims and the state as an actor of violence. We hope to create a situation free of fear,” he said.

Hetharia said that to encourage the establishment of the KKR, several activities have been carried out such as seminars and focus group discussions in Papua and Jakarta.

According to Hetharia, members of the KKR must come from a neutral and professional background, consisting of academicians, human rights activists, as well as women activists. “They (KKR members) must be completely neutral. They cannot side with the victim or the perpetrator,” he said.

Hetharia said that in order to be able to carry out its duties, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission will be divided into four sub-commissions, namely the Truth Disclosure Sub-commission; Amnesty Sub-commission; Compensation, Restitution, and Rehabilitation Sub-commission; and most importantly, the Papuan History Clarification sub-commission.

Hetharia explained that the KKR would investigate human rights violations that occurred past 1963 for cases that the judiciary had not decided. Among the things that need to be investigated by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission are massacres, violence, torture, kidnapping, detention, murder, sexual violence, rape, and enforced disappearances on a small or large scale.

“In short, the cases investigated are as stated in Law No. 9/1999 on Human Rights and Law No. 26/2000 on Human Rights Courts,” he said. (*)

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2) Prison officer hits Papuan raising Morning Star flag
Attack On Prisoners – News Desk 1 August 2022

Jayapura, Jubi TV – Head of the Abepura Penitentiary Sulistyo Wibowo confirmed that one of his personnel had beaten one of the seven Morning Star raisers, namely Maksimus Simon Petrus You. As a result of being hit, Maksimus’ right eye temple was swollen and his lip was injured.

“It is true that a personnel beat the prisoner [Maksimus Petrus You],” said Sulistyo to Jubi via WhatsApp message on Saturday, July 30, 2022.

Sulistyo said that he was conducting an examination to ensure if the person concerned did this under the influence of alcoholic beverages. He stressed that if violations were found, strict action will be taken against the prison officer. “If we find violations done by an officer, we will take strict action against them according to the existing provisions,” he said.

According to information obtained by Jubi, the incident took place in the detention cell of the Abepura Penitentiary in Jayapura City on Friday between 6 and 7 p.m. local time. Maksimus Simon Petrus You was in a detention cell after returning from worship with other prisoners. While in detention, an officer suspected of being under the influence of alcoholic beverages entered the cell occupied by Maksimus You and Devion Tekege, then accused Maksimus You and Devion Tekege of smoking marijuana.

However, Maksimus You denied the accusations, saying they did not smoke marijuana and that the alleged officer just barged into their cells and beat him.

Meanwhile, the Papuan Law Enforcement and Human Rights Coalition, who is the legal advisor for the seven defendants who raised the Morning Star flag, was still trying to confirm the beating of their client, Maksimus You.

“I’ll make sure first,” said coordinator of the Papuan Law Enforcement and Human Rights Coalition Emanuel Gobay to Jubi. (*)

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Webinar: International Parliamentarians for West Papua: European and Pacific action on human rights abuses in West Papua

July 28, 2022

International Parliamentarians for West Papua: European and Pacific action on human rights abuses in West Papua


Event details

Register for this event

Date & time

Wednesday 03 August 2022


Molonglo Theatre and online via Zoom


The Chair of the IPWP, The Hon Alex Sobel MP (Labor Party, UK), Co-chair of the IPWP, The Hon Ralph Regenvanu (Opposition Leader, Vanuatu), Member of the IPWP, Mr Benny Wenda (President of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua).


Siobhan McDonnell

In 2019 the Leaders of the Pacific Island Forum, including Australia, called for the Office of the United Nations Human Rights Commission to conduct an independent investigation into the human rights situation in Indigenous West Papua. Since 2019 permission for this visit has not been granted by the Indonesian government. This seminar will focus on the European, Pacific and West Papuan efforts to progress international attention of human rights abuses that are taking place in West Papua, including the large-scale displacement of around 70-80,000 people.

The event will take place in person at the Molonglo Theatre, as well as online via Zoom. Register here for the Zoom link or use the button on the right hand side to register for the in person event.

Please support ETAN’s fight for human rights and justice for #Indonesia #Timor, #WestPapua, Donate


For further information or to stay up to date with ETAN’s activities, visit etan

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West Papuan and Kanak liberation movements sign Memorandum of Understanding

July 27, 2022

West Papuan and Kanak liberation movements sign Memorandum of Understanding

July 25, 2022 in Press Release

The United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) and the Kanak and Socialist National Liberation Front (FLNKS) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), agreeing to mutually support each other’s independence struggles.

The Memorandum was signed on the WHEN in the WHERE by ULMWP Interim President Benny Wenda and Roch Wamytan, President of the New Caledonian (Kanak) Congress. It reaffirms the close bonds of solidarity and friendship between the Kanak and West Papua liberation movements. This historic step formalises the strong relationship that has long existed between the two groups, based on their common Melanesian identity and struggle against occupation.

The Memorandum sets out that both parties will support the other party’s independence in various domestic and international fora, including the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG). Interim President Wenda stated that its signing signalled the enduring importance of Melanesian solidarity, and invited all Melanesian and Pacific leaders to follow the FLNKS’ example and show that no Pacific nation is left behind in their fight for freedom.

On behalf of the ULMWP, Wenda has previously issued messages of solidarity and support for the FLNKS ahead of the first of the three referendums on independence held in Kanaky in November 2018. The most recent of these referendums, held in December 2021, was boycotted by pro-independence Indigenous Kanaks after the FLNKS’ request for its postponement due to rising Covid cases was denied.

Interim President Benny Wenda of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua said: “Like the Kanak leader Jean-Marie Tjibaou, all West Papuans dream of a Melanesia no longer divided by colonialism. As the founding father of Vanuatu, Walter Lini, said, ‘we will not be free until all Melanesians are free’. The Kanak struggle is the West Papuan struggle, and the West Papuan struggle is the Kanak struggle – we are occupied together, and we will be liberated together.”

Roch Wamytan, President of the New Caledonian Congress said: “”We have signed this accord because each of us are confronted by a process of decolonisation and emancipation. The people of Papua New Guinea with Indonesia and us with the French state. This process of decolonisation has not ended for us, it has been ruptured over time, to say the least.”

Contact: Interim President Benny Wenda (press)

Amnesty urges government to end cycle of violence in Papua following latest civilian deaths

July 25, 2022

Amnesty urges government to end cycle of violence in Papua following

latest civilian deaths – July 19, 2022

Dian Erika Nugraheny, Jakarta — Amnesty International Indonesia
Executive Director Usman Hamid is calling for an end to the cycle of
violence in Papua following the killing of 11 civilians in Nduga regency
on Saturday July 16.

"It’s time for the state to end the cycle of violence in Papua", said
Hamid in a press release on Monday July 18.

"Currently a human rights crisis is occurring in Papua where almost
every day violence occurs with casualties and perpetrators from various
groups", said Hamid.

The killing of the 11 civilians occurred in Nogolait Village, Kenyam
district, Nduga regency, Papua province. They were allegedly killed by
an armed criminal group (KKB).

Hamid said that various parties from Papua activist groups, academics
and students have urged the government to reevaluate the security
approach being applied in Papua.

"The policy, which for decades has been applied in Papua has not in fact
succeeded in ending human rights violations there and has instead caused
even more civilian causalities", said Hamid.

Aside from reevaluating the security approach, Hamid believes that the
government must correct its policies in Papua in their entirety.

"Starting from labeling them separatists and terrorists to centralistic
policies such as [creating] new autonomous regions (DOB) and the Special
Autonomy [Law on Papua] which was enacted without meaningful
participation by indigenous Papuans", said Hamid.

"The state must avoid escalating conflicts which end with casualties and
human rights violations, including reconsidering all policies which
could give rise to this situation", said Hamid.

Speaking separately, Presidential Staff Deputy Chief (KSP) Jaleswari
Pramodhawardani condemned the attack carried out by the KKB in Nduga.

"The government condemns it and shares in the sorrow of those injured
and killed as a consequence of the criminal actions committed by the
KKB", said Pramodhawardani in a press release on Saturday.

"The incident in Nduga regency is currently being handled by the police
and the perpetrators will be prosecuted", continued Pramodhawardani.

The victims who died are Yulius Watu, Hubertus Goti, Daeng Marannu,
Taufan Amir, Johan, Alex, Yuda Nurusingga, Nasjen, Mahmut Ismain and
Eliaser Baner.

Baner, one of those who died, was a priest. Their bodies have already
been evacuated to Timika, Mimika regency.

Meanwhile the two people who were injured were Sudirman and Hasdin.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was
"KKB Bantai 11 Warga Sipil di Nduga, Amnesty: Negara Harus Hentikan
Siklus Kekerasan".]