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Thousands Across Papua Demand UN Step Up to Protect Papuans

March 26, 2012

West Papua Media Alerts
Monday, March 26, 2012

Thousands Across Papua Demand UN Step Up to Protect Papuans

Rallies held across West Papua, Indonesia, and Australia have drawn
tens of thousands of people on to the streets calling on UN
Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon to do more to protect West Papuans to
Indonesian state violence, and to allow them exercise their universal
human rights to self-determination.

Despite significant threats of violence prior to the rallies by
Indonesian security forces against peaceful unarmed protestors, the
mass mobilisations across West Papua significantly outnumbered
security forces and were peaceful. In some centres, the police only
sent a handful of undercover intelligence agents to monitor the

In Jayapura, over 5000 demonstrators marched from Taman Imbi and
joined with a long march of several thousand people. Security forces
blocked access to the centre of Jayapura with heavy weaponry, but the
rallies avoided provocation. Jayapura was reported to be a ghost town
as the rallies paralysed normal business and movement.

Speakers in Jayapura demanded that the UN Secretary-General listen to
the people of West Papua and tabled seven key demand on the UN.
Buchtar Tabuni, from the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) told the
crowd that the UN must take responsibility for its role in the sham
1969 Act of Free Choice handover of West Papua to Indonesia, actions
that violated international law.

“Ban Ki-Moon and SBY have to know the wishes of the sovereign
independence of Papua on the land itself. KNPB will mediate the West
Papuan people so they can determine their political choices through a
mechanism that is democratic, peaceful, dignified and final in
accordance with the principles and standards of international law”,
said Tabuni.


Herman Wainggai, a West Papuan the West Papuan independence advocate
based in the United States explained at the solidarity rally in
Melbourne, Australia, “Our troubles began in New York in 1962, and I
hope they will end there soon. We ask the United Nations to host talks
between the Indonesian Republic and the Federated Republic of West
Papua, just as the UN did between the Indonesians and the Dutch”

Ban Ki-Moon was visiting Indonesia to participate in The Jakarta
International Defence Dialogue, hosted by the Indonesian Ministry of
Defence on 21 March 2012, a move widely seen by human rights observers
as giving legitimacy to Indonesian militarist objectives over West
Papua and beyond.

West Papuan activists called on Mr Ban to use the opportunity to press
Indonesia on human rights in Papua and its consistent denial of basic
freedoms and rights to West Papuan people, including rights to life
and of freedom of expression, and freedom from arbitrary detention.

“We would like Mr Ban Ki-moon to attend to our defence while he’s in
Jakarta” said Herman Wainggai,

“The Universal Declaration of Human Rights establishes the right of
all individuals to freedom of opinion and expression and the right to
peaceful assembly and association. Also, Indonesia is a signatory to
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which
guarantees the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly
and Indonesia’s constitution also protects these rights,” Wainggai
told West Papua Media.

“So, it would be appropriate for the Secretary-General to negotiate
the release of all political prisoners in Indonesia while he is
visiting the new ‘Peacekeeping’ Centre in West Java,” said Wainggai.

Widespread Mass Actions

The rallies across Papua drew tens of thousands of people in total in
Wamena, Biak, Serui, Yapen, Sorong, Nabire, Jayapura and Fak-Fak.
Security forces engaged in their standard procedures of intimidation
and disruption at all rallies, but protesters maintained non-violence
discipline at each area.

On Yapen island, close to 6000 people in total held two long marches
to support the demands of the day, all under threat of arrest. Local
police had refused to issue a permit for the rallies to go ahead,
claiming the rallies would upset the security and integrity of
Indonesia. After a week of pamphleteering and socialising the rallies,
police had no choice but to allow the rally to go ahead. The rally
began in the village of Mantembu, where former political prisoner
Yawen Wayeni was brutally disembowelled and filmed by Brimob police in
a video leaked on Youtube in 2010.

Mantembu, Yapen Island

The same Brimob unit on Monday attempted to block the long march from
leaving Mantembu, using over 50 police to block the narrow road, and
attempted to seize all Morning Star flags. Negotiations ensued, led by
Reverend Jhon Pairire and FRWP Doberay Governor David Abon, who got
agreement from police for the rally to continue to Serui city. Police
continued to intimidate Papuans all day, but Morning Star flags still
appeared throughout the day despite Police.

Serui, Yapen Island

Manokwari saw more than 7000 people from across Papuan society and
resistance raise the Morning Star flag and conduct long marches all
over town after prayer, eventually settling down to listen to orations
from a wide range of speakers. Speakers called for the freeing of all
political prisoners in Papua in Indonesian prisons, including the
President and the Prime Minister of the Federal Republic of West
Papua. Brimob officers tried to seize the Morning Star flags early
unsuccessfully, but soon stood aback training their weapons on the
crowd, who studiously ignored the provocative intimidation according
to stringers for West Papua Media.


In Sorong, our stringers reported that almost 1000 people took to the
streets in a festive atmosphere. Organisers claimed that few security
forces turned up other than about ten plain clothes intelligence
agents. ”It is clear that this drastically changed the atmosphere, it
must be because of international pressure,” said our stringer by SMS.

On the West Coast in Fak-Fak, almost 1000 people took part in prayers
and listened to speeches in the main market square, with little
interference by security forces present.


In Jayapura, stringers for West Papua Media reported a wide range of
colourful, festive and dramatic demonstrations for Papuan aspirations,
including the release of almost 300 balloons painted with banned
Morning Star flags and the UN flag, which drifted across town and out
to sea. This tactic has been used repeatedly as a tactic for
distributed symbolic resistance in both Papua and Maluku for years.
Isolated gunfire was heard when the balloons passed over military
barracks, according to local sources, believed to be Indonesian
soldiers attempting to shoot down the balloons.

And in Wamena, in the Baliem Valley, a thousand people joined in a
rally and march to support the call for the UN to take action by
sending peacekeeping force to protect Papuan people against Indonesian
security forces. Stringers for West Papua Media report that few
security forces were in overt attendance, but there was an
understanding that troops were close by at all times The Baliem Valley
and West Papuan highland people have borne the brunt of Indonesian
violence since the occupation began, with sweeps against civilians by
the Australian funded Detachment 88 counter terrorism group and
Indonesian army still ongoing in Tingginambut, Mulia and the outer
areas of the Baliem Valley.


More demonstrations are planned in coming weeks.


Santon Tekege
Group Struggle Justice and Peace in West Papua
Jl. Yakonde Padangbulan Abepura Jayapura-PAPUA

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