Skip to content

News fro Papua: KNPB wants Obama to support Papuan aspirations; rebellions charge rejected by defence team

March 19, 2010

Bintang Papua, 18 March 2010
Abridged in translation by TAPOL

The KNPB (National Committee of West Papua) organised a rally in Jayapura, in anticipation of the visit to Indonesia of President Barack Obama which has been postponed to June. The rally marched to several government buildings and called on the provincial legislative assembly, the DPRP, to help them go to Jakarta in order to meet the American president. If that didn’t happen, they warned that they would occupy the DPRP building. The KNPB said that President Obama should take responsibility for the failure to secure basic human rights for the Papuan people.

The Indonesian government has failed to resolve the Papuan issue and the Papuans have failed to enjoy their independence since 1962 because their homeland was seized by Indonesia and then granted special autonomy in an attempt to silence them.

‘We shall continue to demand independence from NKRI (the Unitary Republic of Indonesia) because we yearn for peace and security in our homeland,’ they said.

According to the KNPB, one item that should be discussed with President Obama is dialogue between Papua and Indonesia. The demonstrators carried a number of banners calling for the release of all political prisoners, a review of the 1969 Act of Free Choice and the closure of Freeport as well as the withdrawal of the military from Papua.

‘We want to ask President Obama to press Indonesia to hold a referendum in Papua on their right to self-determination,’ they said.

A number of members of the DPRP came out to meet the demonstrators. The deputy chairman of the DPRP, Yunus Wenda promised to inform the US president about the aspirations of the Papuan people.

After these meetings, the demonstrators encountered a group of Papuans flying red-and-white flags who were held back by police and Brimob troops in two armoured vehicles. The security forces eventually allowed the demonstrators to enter the forecourt of the DPRP.

Prior to their rally at the DPRP, the demonstrators had gathered outside Cenderawasih University and set up a barrier there. During their ‘long march’, they were confronted by troops and police led by district police chief Yafet Karafir, with whom they held a dialogue. Having accepted that the demonstrators were not being ‘anarchistic’, they were driven to the DPRP building by truck

Assistant rector of the university, Paulus L. Holmers said that demonstrators should be banned from gathering in front of the university which has on many occasions been used as a meeting point for rallies. ‘We have sent many letters trying to prevent this from happening but it has continued to happen,’ he said. ‘Many students have been involved,’ he said. As most of those demonstrating were from the university, he called on them to behave well and avoid any ‘anarchistic’ activities.

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: