Benny Wenda is Chairman of ULMWP, an umbrella civil resistance organisation that united the independence movement in West Papua.
He is also interim President of Provisional Government of Republic of West Papua.
This writer talked with him on the Indonesian military crackdown.
The escalation in Indonesian military build – up complete with personnel and lethal armed combat hardware in West Papua raises eyebrows.
We see the ‘security approach’ again as Indonesia struggles to measure up to the international society’s expectations on the way forward to resolve the West Papua issue.
Insanity. Albert Einstein defined it. Indonesia keeps repeating the same steps, script, vocabulary, approach, and expects the West Papua Conflict to go away.
MSG has a formula for West Papua. And, Kanaky. It is unlikely to relent, but escalate the diplomatic options on the table for both.
This is to enable the decolonisation process to be finalised according to international best – practice.
A. The standard script is:
(1) Diplomatic options on the roadmap for West Papua to take independence from Indonesia has successfully kicked in.
MSG is considering all options available to upgrading the ULMWP membership of MSG to full member.
MSG Leaders Summit will take place this month, June.
(2) The United Liberation Movement for West Papua Or ULMWP is targeted.
In recent weeks, Indonesia was among 14 other countries who blocked the UN General Assembly protocol that will have the effect of stopping human rights abuses or atrocities involving those 15 countries.
According to the first pillar of R2P, the state has the responsibility to protect its populations from mass atrocities and ethnic cleansing, and according to the second pillar the international community has the responsibility to help states fulfill their responsibility.
Indonesia therefore successfully avoided scrutiny, and accountability for its part in human rights attrocities in different regions of the vast archipelago that forms the Republic of Indonesia.
(3) However, it proved to be a reality check.
The UN’s Responsibility To Protect Doctrine or R2P Doctrine was the measurement by which countries in the international system were defined on their human rights record.
And, it shows one thing. Indonesia for decades failed to address the independence movement in its eastern – most province, former Dutch colony, of West Papua.
(4) In recent years, the internationalisation of the West Papua issue has:
* paid off with the diplomatic option for UN General Assembly more likely in which to pass a resolution on the status of West Papua as a UN Non Self Governing Trust Territory.
West Papua was on the list but removed in the aftermath of Indonesian invasion of the Dutch colony, and in the intervening years since then claimed sovereignty over the region as an integral part of the Republic of Indonesia.
* The colonial context of the West Papua Conflict or Masalah Papua validates the argument that the independence struggle is an international issue, ‘frozen conflict’.
And, the UN is challenged to bring the independence issue to a conclusion through international best – practice.
East Timor. Aceh. And, West Papua. The referendum. It is the only solution.
Aceh differs because of a number of reasons causing the separatism issue. West Papua on the other hand is the next East Timor because of the colonial context driving the West Papua Conflict, Masalah Papua.
It happened in East Timor in 1999. The UN General Assembly passed a resolution for a referendum to be held to decide the status of West Papua.
This means a referendum will indicate if Papuans choose to be either part of Indonesia, or separate from Indonesia and become independent.
* The possibility of Indonesia losing West Papua has prompted it to label the independence movement as terrorist.
Here, we check the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations.
It defines terrorism as “the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives” (28 C.F.R. Section 0.85).
Due to its colonial context, the US State Department defined the independence movement as an interest group, or civil resistance organisation demanding independence.
It is not a terrorist group. Read the official US State Department position on West Papua. Here:
(1) Indonesian security have targeted Papuan nationalists fighting for self rule.
Erik Walela, secretary of the ULMWP Department of Political Affairs, is in hiding, and two of his relatives – Abi (32) and Anno (31) – were arrested by the Indonesian police on June 1.
(2) Victor Yeimo, spokesperson of the KNPB, has already been arrested.
It means all ULMWP leaders inside West Papua are now at risk after Indonesia has tried to stigmatise the independence movement as ‘terrorist’.
The head of Indonesia’s National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) has stated that it considers the entire liberation movement, including anyone associated Chairman of ULMWP Benny Wenda, to be terrorists.
(3) Anyone who stands up to go fight or protest injustice in West Papua is now in danger.
(4) Indonesia is cutting off the internet to conceal its crack-down and military operations, continue to the long tradition of concealing information from the world by banning international journalists, and spreading propaganda.
The only way anyone can access the internet inside is by standing near a military, police, or government building.
(5) indigenous Papuans have been degraded by bring labelled as ‘separatists’, ‘armed criminal groups’, and in 2019, ‘monkeys’.
Now, the label of ‘terrorists’. This is nothing but more discrimination against the entire world – view of the people of West Papua.
And, the struggle to uphold and demand their basic right to self-determination.
(6) ULMWP has made comprehensive progress in terms of its diplomacy to pursue peaceful means to put the case for self rule from Indonesia.
The diplomatic option is on the table. And, leaders in the region would appreciate the hard yards already gained in the Pacific.
Here, leaders from Melanesia, Polynesia, and Micronesia, have put Indonesia on notice over the West Papua issue.
(7) It would be wrong for Indonesia given its status as an influential member in the international system to misuse the issue of terrorism to crush the indigenous Papuans and their aspirations for self – rule.
And, their fight is in order. It is an inalienable right, right erges omnes, fundamental struggle, for the liberation of their land from illegal occupation and colonisation by Indonesia.
(😎 Over 21,000 troops have been deployed in less than three years, up until last month when ‘Satan’s forces’ who were implicated in genocide in East Timor arrived in West Papua.
Densus 88, trained by the West, are also targeting the people of West Papua.
These military operations are being carried out on the direct orders of the President, Joko Widodo, and the Head of the Indonesian Parliament.
The increased presence of soldiers is normal in a war zone.
It has caused indigenous Papuan people to be traumatised, and they are scared to go to their gardens, to hunt or fish. Everywhere they turn there are military posts and bases.
(9) The world has ignored, and did not take heed of West Papua’s freedom call for far too long.
And, yet the world will be a better place with West Papua free.
(10) Humanity is seeing all these happening to the people of West Papua and stands by as if nothing happened.
But, one thing clear. The West Papua issue cannot be wished away. Read, the analysis by List Institute. Here: https://www.lowyinstitute.org/…/west-papua-issues-wont…
The ‘call to action’ for MSG Leaders who meet this month is simple.
* It is time to grant full membership for West Papua in the sub political grouping of Melanesian countries.
* MSG action is validated, and subsumed under the UN protocol on Responsibility To Protect or R2P Doctrine.
May God Bless West Papua.
(Photo caption: United Liberation Movement for West Papua or ULMWP – it is the umbrella civil resistance organisation that united pro – indepencence groups inside West Papua, and outside in the diaspora, to put the case for West Papua independence from Indonesia; Benny Wenda – he is Chairman of ULMWP, and also Interim President of the Provisional Government or Constituent Assembly that has formally developed diplomatic ties to MSG and PIF for leverage at UN General Assembly to reinstate West Papua as a Non Self Governing UN Trust Territory; NCD Governor Powes Parkop – among PNG politicians who want West Papua issue to be resolved diplomatically with PNG playing a bigger role; West Papua – self government was granted in 1961 by the Dutch, 54 years on, still trailing behind, no freedom; PNG civil society – already part of the liberation war to free West Papua)