APSN Banner

Markus Haluk's call for ULMWP 9th anniversary

Markus Haluk Papua Blog - December 9, 2023

On December 6, 2023, the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) celebrated its 9th anniversary.

ULMWP is the coordinating body of all organizations fighting for the independence of West Papua from Indonesian occupation (1963-present). The following article explains why the ULMWP was established, what it has done since 2014, the challenges it faces, and what it hopes to do in the future.

The Saralana declaration and the birth of ULMWP

The formation of the ULMWP was the result of a joint declaration by key representatives of the West Papuan struggle at Saralana, Port Vila Vanuatu, on December 6, 2014 (https://tpnpbnews.wordpress.com/2016/06/09/saralana-declaration-on-west-papua-2014/)

Three factors drove its establishment:

1. The process of consolidation and reconciliation among Papuan freedom fighters during 2012-2014, spearheaded by Kris Dogopia, Sem Awom, et al.

2. The insistence of the Indonesian government through its President at the time, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY), who hoped for a clear interlocutor who could represent all factions of the Papuan independence struggle. In his conversation with Papua New Guinea (PNG) Prime Minister Peter O'Neill during the APEC meeting in Bali in 2013, President SBY told Prime Minister O'Neill: "Administratively, (West) Papuans have Indonesian ID cards and passports but as a nation, they are part of you. So you please help me unite them."

3. The urgency and hope of the international community, especially the leaders of the South Pacific forum Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG). They have called for West Papuans to unite in a common platform in order to then apply for MSG membership. This was affirmed at MSG meetings in Noumea, New Caledonia in 2013 and in Port Moresby, PNG in June 2014.

ULMWP, West Papua representative body

Broadly speaking, there are three groups of main actors in the West Papuan struggle. They are:

1). West Papuans with Indonesian citizenship,

2). West Papuan diaspora who live abroad,

3). West Papuans who reject Indonesian citizenship and fight by taking up arms.

These three groups are incorporated in three different resistance organizations, namely NFRPB (Federal State of the Republic of West Papua), PNWP (West Papua National Parliament) and WPNCL (West Papua National Coalition for Liberation).

West Papuans welcomed the birth of ULMWP it as the most beautiful Christmas gift. Open statements and letters of support to the ULMWP leadership poured in from everywhere. But at the same time, a series of challenges came.

ULMWP faces many obstacles

From within: Forkorus Yaboisembut, President of the NFRPB faction rejected the ULMWP. Seeing the potential for division, Edison Waromi as Prime Minister of the NFRPB managed to maintain the ULMWP as a coordinating forum for West Papuan Unity.

From the outside: The Indonesian government has been trying to destroy and degrade the ULMWP in every way possible. The most common method used is to silence and criminalize the ULMWP's nonviolent actions.

Likewise, abroad, the Indonesian government has worked hard to discredit the ULMWP's diplomacy. For example, at the MSG leaders' meeting in Vanuatu last August, the Indonesian delegation insisted on rejecting the ULMWP's presence, even if only as an observer.

As a middle ground, the MSG leaders then decided to postpone accepting the ULMWP's full membership. On the other hand, they urged the Indonesian government to grant access to the UN High Commission on Human Rights to visit West Papua within ten months.

From August 22 to September 3, 2023, the second ULMWP Summit took place in Port Vila Vanuatu. Although fraught with tension, the meeting was peaceful. The ULMWP Constitution 2023 was ratified and the new ULMWP leadership for the period 2023-2028 and its work program were established (https://markushalukpapua.blogspot.com/2023/09/west-papuan-leadership-now-centred-in.html).

Unfortunately two months later, trouble struck again: The PNWP (West Papua National Parliament) defied the previously agreed decision in Port Vila. They rejected the legitimate leadership of the ULMWP by unilaterally appointing, in a congress on behalf of the ULMWP: Benny Wenda as President of the Provisional Government and Edison Waromi as its Prime Minister. A serious rift has developed between West Papuan leaders (https://en.jubi.id/ulmwp-suspends-key-members-benny-wenda-and-buchtar-tabuni-sparking-leadership-dispute/).

ULMWP, West Papua's hope for independence

Aware of this precarious situation, on December 6, 2023, at the ULMWP's 9th anniversary service in Jayapura, Markus Haluk, executive secretary of the ULMWP, made several calls:

1) ULMWP must be maintained as a coordinating forum for national unity for all West Papuans.

2) Good coordination and communication is needed between the ULMWP's internal organization and founding organizations, solidarity groups, NGOs, church leaders, academics, students, traditional and religious leaders in West Papua.

3) Continuous coordination and consolidation with West Papuan support groups in Indonesia, especially the Indonesian People's Front for West Papua (FRI-WP), academics, students and NGOs in Jakarta.

4) Intensive coordination with various parties at the Melanesian Regional level, the Pacific and the international community in order to support ULMWP's struggle for the Right to Self-Determination of West Papua.

5) Moral support and active participation in supporting the legitimate leadership of ULMWP 2023-2028.

Markus invites all parties to selflessly support ULMWP for the survival of the West Papuan nation:

"Do not ask what we can get from ULMWP but ask ourselves: what can we give and do through ULMWP to save the remaining West Papuans before they are annihilated by the Indonesian Colonial regime?"

Source: https://markushalukpapua.blogspot.com/2023/12/markus-haluks-call-for-ulmwps-9th.htm