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Urgent UN and Pacific Islands Forum intervention needed to prevent more massacres in West Papua

ULMWP Chair - September 24, 2019

Twenty-nineteen is becoming the worst year in nearly six decades of illegal Indonesian occupation. Massacres and violence are being carried out as a direct result of the additional 16,000 Indonesian troops deployed since August. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights must visit West Papua now, and the Pacific Islands Forum must help secure this.

This year marks a new phase of Indonesian State brutality against the people of West Papua. Indonesia has aimed for the total elimination our peaceful struggle for self-determination, and is imprisoning and killing our children, high school teenagers and university students to do it.

At the beginning of the uprising on August 15, a seven-year old child was arrested by Indonesian police. On September 3, a West Papuan woman, Sister Mandabayan, was arrested for transporting small home-made Morning Star flags, forced to leave her one- and three-year-old children behind. Last week, a one-year old baby and a ten year old Papuan boy were killed by the Indonesian State. Yesterday in Wamena, Indonesian occupation forces fired into a crowd of high school students who were protesting yet another act of colonial racism directed against them by an Indonesian teacher. In Jayapura, students occupying the University of Cendrawasih were killed by the Indonesian military, police and intelligence services, backed up by Indonesian nationalist militias.

In Nduga, dozens of children and infants have died during Indonesian military operations that have displaced around 40,000 Papuans. Parts of Nduga have become ghost towns, with schools empty, churches burned and the Papuan people forced into the jungle. Hundreds of children remain in makeshift schools far from their homes, unsure if their villages will even still exist when they return. Indonesia is criminalising, attacking and killing the children of West Papua in order to maintain its brutal occupation of our land.

This year, West Papua is becoming the next East Timor. The 1991 Santa Cruz Massacre is being repeated in our land right now. The 16,000 additional Indonesian troops deployed to my home land are not their to protect my people – they are there to use violence, harassment and intimidation to maintain Indonesian control over the territory. West Papuans are risking their lives just to utter the words 'referendum', 'self-determination' and 'independence', words of freedom.

This is the time for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to visit West Papua, in line with the Pacific Islands Forum communique released on August 16 this year. I'm calling on President Widodo to allow the UN High Commissioner in. The time for this visit it now: no more delays. The crisis is taking place as you read this.

I send my deepest sympathies to the families who suffered losses yesterday, and across the past month and year. My people back home, you are showing great courage and sacrifice for the cause of justice and peace. The ULMWP is working tirelessly night and day with Pacific and Melanesian leaders, particularly the government of Vanuatu, to bring our struggle to the world's attention, and we are making great progress. Our victory will come; justice will prevail. Let us unite to fight peacefully for freedom and liberation for all, including the many West Papuan generations to come.

God bless you all.

Benny Wenda
United Liberation Movement for West Papua

Source: https://www.ulmwp.org/ulmwp-chair-urgent-united-nations-and-pacific-islands-forum-intervention-needed-to-prevent-more-massacres-in-west-papua