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President Jokowi treating West Papua as holiday home in midst of human rights crisis

United Liberation Movement for West Papua Statement - October 29, 2019

President Jokowi has made another trip to West Papua, treating it as a holiday home whilst the Indonesian military kill and torture us like animals.

In 2014, during Jokowi's first election, I told BBC Indonesia that, 'president to president, there is never any change'. Jokowi's entire presidency has shown the truth of this.

Just after Indonesia gained membership of the UN Human Rights Council, President Widodo gave his inaugural speech. The President made no mention of human rights, no mention of West Papua. Under his watch, West Papua has seen one of its biggest uprisings ever, becoming an international issue – and the President has nothing to say about it. The world can see that the Indonesian elites have no commitment to human rights or to addressing the root causes of the problem in West Papua. There is no humanity in the Indonesian system of governance: it is rotten to the core.

Indonesia was clear that its application to the HRC was made in an attempt to try and stop the West Papua issue from reaching the Council. At the same time, investigative journalists and others revealed that Indonesia has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars spreading hoaxes on Facebook and other social media. Just this week, Indonesia announced a new $200 million chequebook diplomacy fund to try and stop our progress.

We are in a battle of truth against lies. Of justice against injustice. Of David against Goliath. Every move Indonesia makes to stop the progress of the people of West Papua only brings us closer to our liberation.

These are the moves of a desperate opponent, an opponent who is losing politically, morally, diplomatically and legally. All Indonesia has now is propaganda, repression and bribes.

The UN was founded on the principles of human rights – freedom from torture, harassment and intimidation. All 47 members of the UN's Human Rights Council have a moral duty and responsibility to protect everyone from state-sponsored abuse – you cannot hide from this issue. The UN Charter itself required 'universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all'. In West Papua today, massacres, illegitimate arrests and public torture are carried out every day by the Indonesian state.

Just this month, Indonesian police and military have been going to every village in West Papua, forcing people to pledge allegiance to the Indonesian flag and coercing West Papuans into accepting Indonesia's bogus 'development' programs. Police even went to the village I grew up in, bringing the heads of the district and forcing them at gunpoint to accept new colonial 'development' projects. Indonesia's membership of the Council is based on flagrant hypocrisy. Now Indonesia is on the HRC, the world has a responsibility to act to stop these state-sponsored and state-mandated abuses.

We now have a situation where a member of the UN HRC has been actively blocking the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights from visiting a territory under its rule. A situation where a member of the Council is actively blocking international diplomats from even visiting its occupied territory. If Indonesia wants to be taken seriously as a member of the Council, it must immediately allow the High Commissioner unrestricted access to West Papua to see the reality on the ground. What is Indonesia trying to hide?

We reiterate our just and reasonable demands to the Indonesian President that the people of West Papua be allowed to hold a free and fair referendum on independence, that Indonesia withdraw its troops from West Papua, remove press restrictions in our land, allow the UN High Commissioner to visit, and release all political prisoners immediately. The seven political prisoners who have been kidnapped by the Indonesian occupation forces and dumped in East Kalimantan must be immediately returned to West Papua where they can be monitored and supported by their family and legal counsel.

The further the ULMWP and the people of West Papua take our struggle, the more our opponent reacts in a desperate attempt to defame, sideline and crush us. Indonesia is on the wrong side of history – no amount of repression and lies can stop justice from taking its course. Jokowi, stop using occupied West Papua as a holiday home in the middle of a genocide. We want our freedom, and a referendum on independence. History will judge you, as it has judged your predecessors who committed genocide in East Timor.

Benny Wenda
Chair, ULMWP

Source: https://www.ulmwp.org/benny-wenda-president-jokowi-treating-west-papua-as-holiday-home-in-midst-of-human-rights-crisis