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Vanuatu could be alone on West Papua bid at UN

August 20, 2018
Vanuatu could be alone on West Papua bid at UN
3:13 pm today

Vanuatu’s government could be alone among regional administrations in its bid to have West Papua inscribed on the United Nations de-colonisation list.

Vanuatu prime minister Charlot Salwai speaks at the UN General Assembly. Photo: UNGA

The Charlot Salwai-led government plans to submit a draft resolution to the Pacific Islands Forum, calling for Indonesian-ruled Papua to be inscribed on the list at next year’s UN General Assembly.
The intention was conveyed at this month’s meeting of Pacific Forum foreign ministers in Apia.
Despite claims in Vanuatu, however, that other Pacific governments had indicated they would back the draft, no other countries committed support in Apia.
Vanuatu’s announcement of its intention to table the draft was met with demur by Papua New Guinea, Australia and Fiji, while other countries did not make a comment.
Mr Salwai said he would take the draft resolution to Nauru where Pacific Forum leaders hold their annual summit next month.


Police in Ternate violently break up protest commemorating New York Agreement

August 17, 2018

Suara Papua – August 15, 2018

Arnold Belau, Jayapura — A peaceful action that was to be held by the Indonesian People’s Front for West Papua (FRI-WP) in Ternate, North Maluku, was forcibly broken up by local police on August 15.

Action coordinator Rudhy Pravda told Suara Papua that the action by 22 protesters was to be held to commemorate 56 years since signing of the New York Agreement on August 15, 1962.

Rudhy explained that the FRI-WP had followed the legal guidelines by submitting a notification with Ternate district police (Polres) three days prior to the action. Police responded however with a written rejection on the grounds that the action conflicted with the sovereignty of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia (NKRI).

"We said that we would still hold the action no matter what the consequences. Given the situation we held the action but with the position that we would accept bear the risk from Ternate Polres. Prior to the action being broken up we held negotiations with police, there were several FRI-PW members who had were interrogated by four plain-clothed intelligence officers while they were waiting for protesters to arrive. They tried to intimidate them saying that they were not allowed to hold action and if they insisted on protesting they must be prepared to accept the risk including saying ‘if you want to die please go ahead’", Rudhy explained.

Rudhy said that the information on plans to block and break up the rally was obtained from protesters attending an earlier rally at the same location. He said that that they wanted to negotiate with police but were instead threatened and intimidated.

Then before they had even unpacked campaign materials for the action, they were surrounded by plain-clothed intelligence officers and uniformed police who prohibited them from holding the protest no matter what, without being willing to negotiate their legal rights.

"I was pushed and shoved including a female demonstrator who was also pushed and shoved and they tried to use violence. The female action coordinator she was pulled and grabbed by intelligence officers. Although we were determined to continue with the action they out-numbered us so in the end we weren’t able to hold the action", said Rudhy.

Field coordinator Gamaria Mansur meanwhile said that in addition to breaking up the action, police also confiscated and tore up protest materials such as banners, placards and propaganda.

She added that earlier there had been an argument between protesters and police. "Police intimidated protesters with threats, [saying] ‘do you want to die’, and calling us traitors and the like. I was also pulled and grabbed, then after I shouted I was finally let go", she explained.

When sought for confirmation on the incident, FRI-WP chairperson Surya Anta said that he strongly condemns the violent actions by police in Ternate.

"We strongly condemn it. The police’s actions in prohibiting and breaking up the action violate Indonesia’s own laws and regulations on freedom of expression", he asserted.

As of submitting this report for publication, Ternate police chief Assistance Superintendent Azhari Juanda, who was contacted by Suara Papua through his official Facebook account, has yet to responded.


Following the launch of the Trikora military operation which was aimed at harassing and forcing the Dutch out of Netherlands New Guinea in 1961-62 and under the threat that Indonesia would move from armed infiltrations to a large-scale military attack, US sponsored negotiations led to the signing of the New York Agreement on August 15, 1962 in which the Netherlands agreed to hand over administration of Western New Guinea to Indonesia pending a UN administered plebiscite. Seven years later under the newly installed Suharto dictatorship, the treaty led to the so-call "Act of Free Choice" in 1969 in which 1025 hand-picked Papuans "voted" at gun-point for the territory remain part of Indonesia.

[Abridged translation by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was "Polisi Bubarkan Aksi FRI-West Papua di Ternate".]


Indigenous Community Protests Against Aerospace Project in North Biak

August 16, 2018


August, 15, 2018

Indigenous Community Protests Against Aerospace Project in North Biak

The National Aeronautics and Space Agency (LAPAN) will build a space station in Saukobye Village, North Biak District, approximately 40 km away from the island’ s major city of Biak Town. LAPAN has estimated the use of 1,000,000 square meters (100 hectares) of customary land for the project. The project site is located at the northern coast of Biak, with direct access to the Pacific ocean. The legal foundation for the development of the space port is stipulated in the articles 44 to 50 of Indonesian Law No. 21 of 2013 about space travel. A draft master plan document for the establishment of the space facility suggests the finalization of the master plan until 2017. A feasibility study in 2016 should identify appropriate locations for the establishment of a space research center and a space port until 2017. The Government has planned to launch rockets to deliver satellites into orbit.

On 15 th of April 2018, the ‘Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation’ (JPIC) Desk of the ‘Evangelical Church in Papua’ (GKI-TP) traveled to Biak after local community members had shared information regarding a meeting between indigenous community members, four army Generals, representatives of the Indonesian police and the local GKI Presbytery. The meeting took place in Andei Village and was organized in relation to the development of the LAPAN space port. During the meeting, the head of the GKI presbytery in North Biak, Rev. Abrauw, on behalf of Saukobye community expressed concerns regarding the government project. Rev. Abrauw is at the same time a customary land rights owner in Suakobye.

He explained that the indigenous community demanded the return of customary land because an earthquake and a tsunami in 1996 had forced the Sukobye people to relocate the village and lead to the decrease of fertile land for gardening. He criticized that the land area would be too small for the space port and stated that LAPAN had failed to inform the villagers about the dangers and benefits of the project. Thereupon, a former military member named Lukas Krobo tried to attack Rev. Abrauw. The attack was prevented by police officers

and villagers. The army generals asked the communities to sign an agreement for the release of customary land for the establishment of the space port.

Issues of Concern

The local communities have expressed the following concerns with regard to the establishment of the LAPAN space port in Saukobye:

1. The available land area (100 ha) is not large enough for a space port. Other estimations suggest a land size seven times larger than the land which is currently available, so more customary land may have to be released

2. The results of a survey conducted by a LAPAN and China Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC) survey team expressed concerns regarding the security situation at the site. General precautions suggest a security parameter of at least 5 km to settlements. Currently, many settlements are less than one km away from the LAPAN owned land, so villagers must be displaced or re-located from their ancestral land.

3. On 22 August 2002, (after 22 years) indigenous community leaders found a document on the release of customary land and a land certificate. From this document, residents found out that in 1980, community leaders originally approved only 15 hectares of land. However the land certificate states a total area of 100 hectares.


The first meeting between representatives of the Government, LAPAN, the military and villagers of the villages Andei and Warbon already took place 1980, after LAPAN had conducted a land survey. During the meeting, the former sub-district chief Alimudin Sabe tried to convinced customary land rights holders to give up ancestral land with a total size of 100 hectares for the space project. Both, the sub-district Chief and LAPAN did neither explain about the purpose of the project nor about the benefits and threats for communities nearby. At that time, the community members suggested a price of one billion Rupiah to LAPAN. The chief of the sub-district military command, Seargent Kamsi, considered the suggested compensation payment as an attempt to block the implementation of the government project and accused the community members of supporting the Free West Papua Organization (OPM) – an allegation which could have resulted in violent military raids during the so-called ‘New Order’ period under military dictator Suharto. Feeling threatened by these allegations, the indigenous clans Abrauw and Rumanderi finally agreed to release their ancestral land for the project.

Further meetings between the government and military representatives followed. On 21 August 2002, the villagers of Warbon were invited to meeting which was facilitated by the Chief Commander of Biak XVII / Trikora Military Command (DANREM). During the meeting, the Warbon community through a spokesperson delivered a statement and requested a clear explanation about the benefits and threats of the project. The community asked why LAPAN continued to approach their community through the military, which would limit the land owners in their freedom to freely decide in the negotiation process about the land. In addition, the indigenous people of Warbon requested the Government to return 100 hectares of land to their community because the negotiation process ignored customary rights did not take place in accordance with the principles of a free, prior, informed consent (FPIC). The community leaders of Saukobye Village continued to voice their claims during visits by LAPAN representatives. On Saturday, March 15, 2014, villagers blocked the road during a visit by the head of LAPAN Biak because the army had started to clear land at the LAPAN project site in preparation of a visit by the General Director of LAPAN on March 19, 2014. Indigenous delegates again delivered a statement rejecting the planned development of the spaceport, because the acquisition of their customary land disrespected FPIC principles. They were forced to sell the land far below its value. On 19 July 1980, the former government secretary Dolf Faidiban had given a compensation payment of 15 million rupiahs (approximately 1.000 Euros) for the land. The community leaders requested a direct meeting with former customary leaders, witnesses of the past agreement in 1980 and LAPAN representatives to re-negotiate the terms for the release of the community’s customary land.

( Source; North Biak Presbytery and Reaserach Center of The National Aeronautics and Space Agency LAPAN)

The Location of LAPAN in North Biak
The Area near Pacific Ocean

wp Papuans hold simulations rallies in Java and Bali protesting ‘illegal’ New York Agreement

August 16, 2018

Papuans hold simulations rallies in Java and Bali protesting ‘illegal’ New York Agreement

Suara Papua – August 15, 2018

Bastian Tebai, Semarang — The Papuan Student Alliance (AMP) and the Indonesian People’s Front for West Papua (FRI-WP) have called on all Papuan students through their city committees in Java and Bali to declare that the 1962 New York Agreement was illegal.

The AMP and FRI-WP said that the agreement, which was signed on August 15, 1962 and used as the basis for the 1968 "Act of Free Choice" (Pepera), was illegal because it did not involve a single representative from the Papuan people.

On Wednesday August 15, the AMP and FRI-WP commemorated the agreement in their respective cities.

Demonstrations were held by AMP committees in Makassar (South Sulawesi), Malang (East Java), Yogyakarta (Central Java), Jakarta and the satellite city of Tangerang, Semarang (Central Java), Surabaya (East Java) and Bandung (West Java). In Bali, Solo (Central Java) and Bogor (West Java), the AMP commemorated the agreement with public discussions.

The peaceful AMP demonstration in Yogyakarta today was blocked by police and reactionary mass organisations (ormas). Likewise during a peaceful demonstration in Surabaya the front gates to the Papuan Kamasan Dormitory was vandalised by an ormas and Surabaya police.

During the simulations protests today, the AMP called on the regime of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and Vice President Jusuf Kalla, the Dutch government, the United States and the United Nations to, first, give the right to self-determination to the nation of Papua as a democratic solution that must be implemented.

Second, acknowledge and affirm that the New York Agreement was legally and morally invalid because it did not involve a single representative of the Papuan people.

Third, they called for the withdrawal of all organic and non-organic TNI (Indonesian military) and Polri (Indonesian police) from the land of Papua.

Forth, the demanded the closure of the Freeport gold-and-copper mine, the LNG Tangguh gas field operated by BP, the MNC Group LNG plant, the Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate (MIFEE) in Merauke and other multi-national company projects in West Papua which continue to be the masterminds behind humanitarian crimes in the land of Papua.

Fifth, that the UN take responsibility for and be actively involved in a manner that is just and democratic, in a process of self-determination, the straightening out of history and resolving the human rights violations against the Papuan nation.


Following the launch of the Trikora military operation which was aimed at harassing and forcing the Dutch out of Netherlands New Guinea in 1961-62 and under the threat that Indonesia would move from armed infiltrations to a large-scale military attack, US sponsored negotiations led to the signing of the New York Agreement on August 15, 1962 in which the Netherlands agreed to hand over administration of Western New Guinea to Indonesia pending a UN administered plebiscite. Seven years later under the newly installed Suharto dictatorship, the treaty led to the so-call "Act of Free Choice" in 1969 in which 1025 hand-picked Papuans "voted" at gun-point for the territory remain part of Indonesia.

[Abridged translation by James Balowski. The second part of the article contained an explanation of the New York Agreement and "Act of Free Choice". The original title of the article was "15 Agustus: AMP dan FRI WP Sebut New York Agreement Ilegal".]


Herman Wainggai – West Papua Documentary

August 13, 2018


WITH SATURDAY MORNING SHORTS SELECTIONS 10:30AM — Encounter the struggle, suffering, and injustice in West Papua through the eyes of Nobel Peace Prize nominee, Herman Wainggai – a former political prisoner and escapee living in exile. His visceral and emotional experiences convey the brutal realities of the hidden genocide currently taking place in West Papua. Recalling his early childhood, his prison time, and his dramatic escape from the West Papuan border, relive the journey Herman has taken to freedom. Filled with faith, determination, tragedy, and resilience, Herman’s eye-opening narrative reveals to the world a genocide masked by deception, and silenced by oppression.


Herman Wainggai – Promoting Human Rights in the Pacific West Papuan Struggle for ‘Self-determination’ and ‘Human Rights’

August 13, 2018

The Seventeenth Annual University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law International Human & Peoples’ Rights Law Program – Human Rights on the Hill – in collaboration with the Hawaii Institute for Human Rights and the Four Freedoms Forum will take place from July 23 – 27, 2018.

By Herman Wainggai, Former Political Prisoner, Leader of Nonviolent Struggle in West Papua. And West Papua Representative to the United Nations.


Thank you so much for the invitation and for giving me the opportunity to address you today on a very important issue and one that is very personal to me – “Promoting Human Rights in the Pacific”. I’m going to talk about Human Rights in the Pacific; particularly in my part of the Pacific, the Melanesian region, more so the issues we West Papuans are facing today with the government of Indonesia and how Human Rights violations in West Papua is being ignored by the Indonesian government and the International community. I will also a few suggestions to this issue. It is a very complex issue, but I will try and summarize it.

Introduction to the Pacific (excluding New Zealand and Australia)

The Pacific Islands is made up of three ethnic groups: Polynesians – who are occupying the majority of the Islands in central Pacific from Hawaii to Easter Island all the way down to New Zealand in the South. The Micronesians who live on the smaller Islands in Northern and western Pacific such as Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau, Kiribati etc. And then the Melanesians who occupy the Islands such as Fiji, Solomon Islands, New Caledonia, Vanuatu and the New Guinea Islands. I come from the Western part of the New Guinea Island known to us as West Papua.

European Colonialism in the Pacific

Between the 1600s and 1800s, European powers arrived on our shores with weapons and declared our Islands as part of their empires. They forced our people to accept their laws, punished those who refused and forced our people to accept their ideologies. Britain colonized the Melanesian countries of Vanuatu, Fiji and the Solomon Islands. France colonized parts of Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Tahiti, and Wallis. The Island of New Guinea itself was divided up by these Europeans. The Eastern part of the Island was under Britain and was later administered by Australia till its independence in 1975. The northern part was briefly under the control of Germany. The Western Part, our homeland, was visited by the Portuguese, the Spaniards, and then it became part of the Netherlands in 1898 and remained the colonial power of West Papua until the late 1960s.

No one asked these Europeans to come! We didn’t invite them to come and rule our people and impose their laws on us, they just did because they thought they were far superior and powerful.

And then the Second World War came. All colonized people, including our people, fought against the Japanese and supported the Allied Forces – that was Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands, and the United States. Many of them, including thousands of innocent people, died in a war that had nothing to do with us! When the Japanese forces were defeated, world powers came together and signed Human Rights Agreements giving us hope that this colonial rule would end and we would gain our freedom and live free as our ancestors were! But our people throughout the Pacific never prepared for what was coming.

Four decades after the Second World War, Britain gave up its colonies in the Pacific. The Islands of Fiji became an independent state in 1970. Papua New Guinea became an independent nation in 1975 from Australia. The Solomon Islands became independent in 1978, and Vanuatu followed in 1980. Other Micronesian and Polynesian Islands also gained their independence about the same time period. France, however, refused to give up its colonies and the indigenous people, the Kanaks, of New Caledonia and Tahiti began fighting back. These freedom fighters were violently shut down by French forces, but their voice of ‘self-determination’ continues to ring out today!

West Papua and the Neo-colonial Power Indonesia

I want to focus on my homeland, West Papua, where Human Rights abuses are rampant and are often ignored by the international community!

We thought of colonialism as a European thing. We associate the colonial control with European powers and ambitions, and we never thought that a colonial power would come out of Asia after Europeans left and become worse than their former colonial master, the Dutch. This Neocolonial power is the Republic of Indonesia.

After gaining independence from the Netherlands in 1949, the newly created Indonesian government invaded every little Island that used to be colonies of the Netherlands empire – killed those who resisted and imprisoned their leaders and it continues to this day. Like the French government, the government of Indonesian won’t let go of these areas without a fight! Anti-Indonesian movements within these little Islands were severely beaten and most of their leaders killed by the Indonesian government.

My political activism

I grew up in West Papua in the 1980s listening to my father and uncle about the history of our homeland and why we are part of Indonesia. I didn’t understand everything because I was very young but I began to understand things as I grew older. I realized that the education system of Indonesia was established to promote the Indonesian government while suppressing or ignoring everything about our people. I learned also Indonesia wanted West Papua and was willing to go to war with the Netherlands over it.

In 1969, the Indonesian government with the United Nations worked together to transfer West Papua from the Netherlands to Indonesia using a sham referendum called the “Act of Free Choice.” Prior to that election, Indonesia forces rounded up 1025 West Papuans, out of a million West Papuans at the time, and forced them to vote for the integration of West Papua and Indonesia. There was no “Act of Free Choice!” It was a sham! The UN observer quickly endorsed this sham election giving Indonesia total rights to our lands, our resources, and our people.

After the declaration of West Papua as part of Indonesia, which was at the time called ‘Irian Jaya,’ the indigenous West Papuan leaders launched an armed resistance that continues to this very day. This decade-long war is hurting our people. The Indonesian military often turned against innocent villages and punished them.

In 1987 a new movement was born – the Nonviolent Resistance Movement. The founder of that movement was my uncle, Dr. Thom Wainggai. He was my father’s younger brother. He studied Law in Japan, earned his Master’s Degree at the University of New York in Albany, and did his Doctorate studies at the Florida State University. He returned home with new ideas. He taught the people not to take up arms or weapons against Indonesia, but to fight against Indonesian occupation with “pen and paper!” He encouraged our people to debate Indonesia and force them to answer questions about International and Human Rights Laws and what they have done to our people. He made our people realize that they too have rights protected by international laws.

In 1988, I stood at the Mandala Stadium and watched my uncle and his supporters raised the West Papuan independence flag, sang West Papuan freedom song, and declared West Papua The Independent State of Western Melanesia. His argument is based on the fact that West Papuans are ethnically Melanesian who have no connection at all to Indonesia, and according to the Rome Agreement, Indonesia was to administer West Papua for only 25 years which ended in 1988.

He was brutally attacked and arrested and dragged into police cars and driven away. I watched these peaceful elders being abused and humiliated and I was so sad. He was later transferred to government prison in Jakarta. In 1996, we received words from Jakarta that our uncle passed away in prison, he was 55 years old. The day he died, the Media in Indonesia and the world referred to him as the “Nelson Mandela” of West Papua. He died as a freedom nonviolent leader of West Papua! From his own writings to his doctor about his feelings and his body, we found among his possessions, all pointed to one thing – poison. To this day, no one is charged with his death!

Seeing how they treated our people, how they abused my uncle in my eyes! I decided then that I will dedicate my life to this struggle.

I attended university studied law while actively protesting and arranging civil peaceful protests against Indonesia. I modeled my activism after my uncle’s philosophy of nonviolence! But, every time we gathered to protest, leaders like me were beaten and taken to prison where we endured physical and mental torture.

During one of our peaceful protests against Indonesian I helped organized, I was arrested. My father was also arrested that same day and brought to where I was. Together we spent 4 months sleeping on bare floors! Those were sad days of our lives. In court, our lawyer argued aggressively and saved us from long years in prison. We were sentenced to 9 months in prison. Counting the time we already spent in prison, they released us at the end of sentecing. Many of our activists spent years in prison, others died. My father and I were just were lucky to make it out alive!

Fearing that the Indonesian government might come after me again, I escaped to PNG where I lived for three years. Between 1996 and 1999, I continued to lobby for support from our Pacific Islands neighbors – especially the Melanesian leaders of the MSG and PIF. We organized ‘Nonviolent workshops’ near the PNG and West Papua border and our activists and leaders would sneak out of West Papua in the night and attend our training. They would then return to West Papua and continue bringing awareness to the people and put pressure on Indonesian government over our desire to hold a national referendum on West Papua.

Life in prison was horrible. We spent weeks and months in a dark room and over a long period of time the white parts of our eyes turned yellow! Food was terrible. We only knew it was daytime by listening to the birds and we knew it was Christmas time when we could hear the Christmas carols from outside the prison walls! We lost weight and suffered mental tortured. We slept on the bare floor with one candle to illuminate our room. There was a tiny window above our room. There was no water. No toilet. We did everything in that room. It was horrible!

My Escape

Sometime toward the end of 2005, after serving my full term, I was released. This time, I was thinking of what to do so I didn’t have to go through this again.
Shortly, I met with some of our fellow activists and leaders and talked about our next move. We realized that if we continue on, we would be dead like many other West Papuan leaders who went before us. It was time to escape.

We all agreed that it was to take our fight for ‘self-determination’ and expose the Human Rights abuses in West Papua to the international community.

So just before Christmas of 2005, we boarded a homemade canoe in the middle of the night as people were too busy celebrating, and escaped to Australia. We spent three days three nights in the Ocean until we arrived in Northern Australia. And here I am today.

Why am I telling you this?

I don’t want you to feel sorry for me, I want you to understand what I went through – my first-hand experience with a brutal colonial power Indonesia so that you know the truth about ‘Human Rights’ abuse that is going on there!
I watched the protests across this country today and thought about the kinds of crimes we were accused off, ours were nothing!

Every democratic society gives the rights of its citizen to express their frustration and disagreement even though they may be uncomfortable. Our crimes were mainly waving a “banned flag” – our West Papuan flag, and for calling for a national referendum on Indonesian occupation of our lands. The Indonesian government continues to violate our protected rights in the name of national security, which is simply bogus.
Many innocent people died because of these two crimes, which are not even crimes in the democratic countries of the world.

One of the questions I’m asked many times is – how is Indonesia abusing the West Papuans if they are there developing West Papua?

The answer is simple: Indonesian can build the tallest towers in the world and create jobs in West Papua while abusing the rights of indigenous West Papuans at the same time. What you see in Indonesian propaganda websites, videos, and promotions, are not what’s happening on the grounds in West Papua!

Here are the answers: since 1969, the Indonesian government has been using various means to suppress the rights of West Papuans. The Indonesian governments then and today recognized that if our people and other ethnic groups are given the freedoms and rights that are protected by International Laws, the world would know just how evil they are and would lead to our freedom from Indonesia. They decided to use all kinds of tactics to keep our indigenous population down!
First, they outlawed any symbols that may be seen as pro-West Papuan freedom. Under that law, the Morning Star flag of West Papua was permanently banned and waving it is amount to treason.

Secondly, they set up police and military posts all over West Papua – from Jayapura to Merauke. Then deployed tens of thousands of police and soldiers to these posts who are responsible for arresting, suppressing peaceful protests, kidnapping, incarceration, and execution of pro-Independence movement leaders.

Third, they spent hundreds of millions of dollars in the Pacific Islands, targeting Pacific regional organizations such as the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) and the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) to reject any support for West Papuan ‘self-determination.’ And they succeeded! Recently, Indonesia becomes an Associate Member of the only Melanesian organization in the world and funded the Pacific Islands Development Forum’s Climate Change programs. That money has silenced the support West Papuans had in the Pacific region, especially the Melanesian bloc.

Forth, Indonesia uses its diplomatic missions around the world as propaganda tools. These people are responsible for spreading lies and misinformation to fool the people around the world as to what is really going on in West Papua. For instance, recently, at the United Nations General Assembly meeting, following the remarks and calls by some Pacific Islands leaders for the UN to investigate human rights abuse in West Papua, the representative of Indonesia rejected the allegations calling them false! And accused these Pacific Islands leaders of interfering in internal affairs of Indonesia. The only hope is to lie and hope that the international community will believe them, and it’s working. This is appalling considering the homemade videos and reports that are coming out of West Papua every day that contradict their lies.

Finally, the Indonesian government bans international media from West Papua which should concern every freedom loving people around the world, particularly in the democratic world.
What is Indonesia trying to hide? Or the question should be what does North Korea and Indonesia has in common when it comes to human rights? Well, they are the same. They don’t want the truth to go out. Indonesia is a different kind of country when it comes to West Papua – its license to arrest, imprison peaceful protestors, and kill our leaders are all violations of international laws and they know that. Every time there is a peaceful protest, armed Indonesian police, and military break it up, and in most cases violently arrest peaceful people and lock them up.

Recently, a Spanish tourist found that out the hard way. He was visiting Jayapura, the capital city of West Papua. Outside his hotel was a peaceful protest calling for a “referendum” on West Papua. He didn’t know what was going on, so he wanted to find out. He went out and took pictures and then talked to protestors. Immediately, the Indonesian police arrested him and dragged him to the police station where he was interrogated until the next day. They copied all his documents and leaked them to the Internet and told him to leave West Papua and also informed him that all his information are now in the public domain. The visitor went home and spoke to the media about his experience.

This and countless other situations should make you ask – are these the actions of a democratic free country? But if you listen to the Indonesian representatives at the UN and around the world, they – with straight faces – deny any such things exist in West Papua. Even today where videos and pictures can be accessed anywhere in the world through social media, the Indonesian government still denies any human rights violation in West Papua. It is appalling!

It is a fact that the international acceptance of basic human rights is at odds with the suppression of these rights by military and police in West Papua who on the Indonesian Government’s payroll. Papuan local politicians are still fighting for their human rights, their social and economic developments, but more importantly their cultural survival and dignity. It is also a fact that University students engaging in peaceful protests today in West Papua are in danger of arrest and prison term.
But if you think about it, peaceful protest is one of the greatest gifts of democracy, but this is one thing the Indonesian government doesn’t tolerate. And it is a huge concern for us indigenous people!

Their courts are dominated by the military under a permanent state of emergency and the "military operations” still terrorize our people. They are willing to suppress any meaningful political movement by way of systematic intimidation. They try to stifle our growth and fight our growing political maturity, but they won’t.

But don’t be fooled! Here are the facts: Indonesia remains a fake democratic country runs by a repressive military regime. There are more innocent people Indonesian jails – including other ethnic groups – who are mostly peaceful protestors. Their crimes varied from participating in peaceful protests and waving of the banned West Papuan ‘Morning Star’ flag and protesting peacefully against Indonesian occupation of their homeland. These are things we don’t expect to find in a country that claims to be the 4th largest Democracy in the world.

Let me shift focus to the international community.

The world is more transparent today than ever before, but that transparency must also extend to all people regardless of color and ethnicity. The systematic oppression of our people cannot be ignored! While the International community is outraged by certain events in the world, particularly in the Middle East, it is important to note that these things have been happening in West Papua for decades and is continuing as I speak.

Just recently, media reports indicated that an Indonesian helicopter bombed innocent villages and murdered innocent people. Yet, there’s no emergency meeting at the UN Security Council or condemnation from the International community, and no punishment for the government of Indonesia – there’s nothing at all! Indonesia is again got away with murder.
This is not the first time Indonesia had committed such atrocities and the International community ignored it. They did in East Timor and in other Islands Indonesia illegally occupied. These are crimes against humanity and should be treated be addressed under international law. In East Timor, the UN only intervened when all the embarrassing videos and pictures kept coming out. Australia and New Zealand were forced to act under a UN Mandate. The action resulted in overwhelming support for an independent East Timor.

This is what we want to happen in West Papua, but it will take a willing International community to make it happen! But todate the International community is not interested; instead, the leading countries in our free world give millions of dollars to Indonesia to arm its military against innocent people!

I’ll end my talk with this.

Today, in the Pacific reigion, there are people who are still under the foreign colonial rule as I speak – more than seven decades since the end of World War 2. They are being denied their rights to ‘self-determination’ and many rights that are enjoyed by free countries such as this country, United States.
Like my people’s struggle for independence, the Melanesian people of New Caledonian and other ethnic groups are still under French rule and control. Their rights have been violently suppressed. One should ask – why are powerful countries that champion democracy still rejecting the rights of indigenous people to “self-determination?” In fact, the systematic oppression, terror, intimidation, rape, kidnapping, incarceration, poisoning and murder of indigenous Melanesians in West Papua are still going on. It never stops.

I’m in constant communication with our political activists back home and what they’ve described to me are no different to the situation I saw before I left in 2006, and not so different from what many of our people experienced since the occupation of our land started. It is a painful thing to listen to the endless denials by Indonesian diplomats around the world.

In spite of what the Indonesian diplomats around the world say, Indonesia is not a democratic country and its evil actions never changed. From what I saw in my years of activism under the brutal dictatorship of Suharto and under the “Reformation Era” of 1999 till I escaped in 2006, nothing has changed! The military operations and targeting of innocent people continue up till today. Most of our peaceful protestors are being hunted down by the Indonesian secret police that are being deployed to West Papua every year, and most of them arrested and some killed.

You know, earlier this month, a Washington Post report reaffirms what I am talking about here. According to the news: An Amnesty International investigation released earlier this month said Indonesia’s police and military are responsible for at least 95 unlawful killings in Papua and West Papua provinces since 2010 (8 year period), including targeted slayings of activists.

Yet, Indonesian continues to lie to the world about the true nature of its brutality in West Papua. And while it is a tragedy to know that more people died fighting for their rights and the killers are walking freedom, I should also remind you that half a million West Papuans died in this struggle for self-determination according to a study from Yale University and the world is not doing anything about it.

The case of West Papua and our fight for self-determination will never be solved by military the number of military bases built or how many people the Indonesian military killed. It will never be solved by military action because more and more young people are now joining the struggle! They can kill us now and will face our next generation in the near future. The fight continues!
So are there solutions? Here are things I believe will help bring this conflict to an end:

First, the international community such as the United States, Britain, and Australia must stop funding Indonesia under the guise of ‘fighting terrorism.’ This so-called War Against Terrorism in Indonesia is used to hunt down unarmed West Papuans whose only crime is asking Indonesia to respects their rights, return their lands and restore their rights to self-government.

Secondly, the UN should send an investigative team to West Papua to investigate human rights violations and make recommendations to the relevant UN bodies. If it did in most international conflict, I don’t k now why West Papua should be excluded!

Thirdly, the United Nations must respect the rights of indigenous West Papuans to vote for self-determination. If Indonesian thinks that West Papuans are happy with their presence in West Papua, they must put the Indonesia/West Papuan issue up for a vote and let’s find out if people really wanted Indonesia.

Also, the Indonesian government must stop resettling Javanese or people of no West Papuan origin on West Papuan soil. West Papua is our homeland – our people lived on these lands going back generations and tens of thousands of years and this resettlement program is politically motivated and aimed at creating an indigenous minority in their own land; in their own home and it must be stopped!

Finally, the Indonesian government must accept journalists to visit West Papua to ensure that Indonesia is transparent when it comes to the issues of West Papuan Human Rights. The world cannot take the words of Indonesia as “truth” because we know what they are saying in public is not what is actually happening in West Papua. With that, thank you once again for inviting me to speak to you today! I appreciate it and thank you on behalf of the people of West Papua.

Thank you!

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Herman Wainggai: Why’s ‘Nonviolent protest’ is effective?

August 7, 2018

Indonesia is armed to the teeth and is looking for enemies to kill. If you show up to face them with anything; stick, knife, or gun, that can be seen as a weapon, you can be killed using "self-dense" of "domestic terrorism" as legal justifications.

But, if you show up at a protest with nothing but your voice, the Indonesian government, by virtue of International Human Rights law, cannot shoot you! By international law, they cannot shoot unarmed men – that would be "murder!" All they can do is arrest and jail protestors. They may put political prisoners through mental torture, but it is obvious that the unarmed protestor is the toughest protester to handle or to kill.

Indonesia would rather face armed West Papuans, not peaceful protestors! They just don’t know how to handle these peaceful people who are merely exercising their God-given right to express their views.

Since the introduction of "Nonviolent resistance," more and more political prisoners are being nabbed from the streets, often in the middle of protests and locked up. That’s all they can do!

We urge our young people to force Indonesia peacefully and force TNI to honor International Laws. This is why Indonesia doesn’t want the media to report from West Papua! Political assassination is common, but it is tough to kill someone who is protesting peacefully in the streets of Jayapura!

Work hard and let your voice be heard!

Protest against Indonesian imperialism and illegal occupation of West Papua!

Thank you!

Herman Wainggai

Leader of Nonviolent Struggle in West Papua