West Papuan independence leader Benny Wenda has released this statement to counter calls by the Indonesian parliament to ask British Prime Minister David Cameron to close the Free West Papua Campaign office in the United Kingdom.
The full statement can be read below
If the Indonesian President wants the Free West Papua Campaign office in the United Kingdom to close then he needs to let West Papua go free; only then will we close the office.
In the last few days, there have been reports that the Indonesian parliament has called upon the Indonesian President, Joko Widodo to demand that British Prime Minister David Cameron close the Free West Papua Campaign office in Oxford. (The Prime Minister has gone on a state visit to Indonesia.)
A member of the Commission of the Indonesian House of Representatives, Ahmad Zainuddin wanted a “firm stance be taken because the Free West Papua movement has official representatives in the UK in the city of Oxford”.
He said “Free West Papua representatives have already been long in the UK. Why does the UK let them make a representation? This is the political problem of other countries. Jokowi (Joko Widodo) must ask that to PM Cameron and reiterate about the Indonesian State”. He added that “if necessary” the President should “Urge Cameron to close the Free West Papua representative office in the UK, because London was supposed to understand, respect and support the sovereignty of the Indonesian state”.
Deputy Chairman of the House of Representatives, Fadli Zon also said on the “Papua problem” that “Britain must reject the establishment of Free West Papua representatives there.”
In response to these comments, I want to send a strong message to the Indonesian President and his government:
Let my people go free and then I will close the Free West Papua Campaign office and go home
We opened this office with overwhelming support from my people with the aim of educating the world about West Papua’s struggle for independence and increasing our ever growing support. The office will be closed when West Papua is finally free but until that day we will continue to use it as an international platform for the Campaign.
The threats of the Indonesian government are nothing new to us. In 2013 the former Indonesian President along with many other Indonesian officials personally demanded that the British government close our office.
I am always very grateful to the British government for upholding the principles of democracy by allowing our office to remain open; not bowing down to outside threats. I met Prime Minister David Cameron in 2009 and he showed support for West Papuan self-determination and described the situation in West Papua as “terrible”.
I hope he will remember his words of support for the West Papuan people and use his time in meeting the Indonesian President wisely to call upon him to grant West Papuans self-determination and raise genuine human rights concerns in West Papua.
We West Papuans will continue to struggle for our fundamental rights to self-determination and independence against the ongoing Melanesian genocide and illegal occupation of the country. If the Indonesian President wants us to close the Free West Papua Campaign office then he should understand why it was set up and help to fulfil its purpose. My people have a clear objective which is the only solution for West Papua: Full freedom and Independence.
We will close this office but only West Papua is finally free and independent.
West Papuan independence leader
Spokesperson for the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP)