This statement has been written by West Papuan independence leader Benny Wenda following the reports that up to 84 West Papuans were arrested and tortured yesterday for supporting West Papua joining the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG).
I am making this urgent message to the international community to please look towards the situation in West Papua.
Yesterday all over West Papua and in some Indonesia cities, the people of West Papua peacefully demonstrated and asked the leaders of our fellow Melanesian countries to welcome us into the Melanesian and greater Pacific family, within the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG.) We have put our trust in the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) to represent us in the MSG.
Though my people were only demonstrating peacefully, it has been reported that 84 West Papuans, including youths were arrested and some were tortured by the Indonesian authorities. As Melanesians we want to peacefully express our right to come back into the Melanesian family by joining the MSG but we almost every time my people do this, we are arrested and tortured.
Events such as yesterday show to the world and especially our Melanesian leaders that the Melanesian people of West Papua do want to join the Melanesian Spearhead Group through the ULMWP.
These events also show that this is exactly what the Indonesian government does not want.
Why else would they allow for scores of West Papuans getting arrested and some getting tortured, just for asking to come back to the Melanesian family?
The Indonesian government has been trying hard to lobby the leaders of the Melanesian countries and tell them not to support Melanesian West Papuans joining the Melanesian Spearhead Group through our own organisation (the ULMWP). They have been trying hard to tell these Melanesian leaders to support Indonesia itself to join the Melanesian Spearhead Group so as to “represent” West Papuans from there.
However, the truth is being revealed. Thousands of West Papuans have come out on the streets supporting the ULMWP representing us within our Melanesian family of the MSG. We have not seen any demonstrations by West Papuans calling for Indonesia to represent us at the MSG because we want to be represented by ourselves, not our colonial rulers.
I urge the world to look towards this real situation my people are facing as we continue to demonstrate and ask our fellow Melanesian leaders to please accept us back into our rightful place in the Melanesian family, with open arms.
My people will demonstrate all over West Papua again today on 21st May to call once again for MSG membership. Please turn your eyes towards my people and keep them in your hearts and prayers as they risk their lives to express their desires to be free Melanesian people.
I am also holding a demonstration with the Free West Papua Campaign outside the Indonesian Embassy in London on Saturday 23rd May, showing that West Papuans want to join the Melanesian Spearhead Group and calling on the Indonesian government to stop the oppression and illegal occupation of West Papua.
The demonstration will be held from 12:00 to 14:00 outside the Indonesian Embassy at 38, Grosvenor Square. Please join me as we stand together and say
“Stop the oppression! Bring West Papua back to the Melanesian family! Free West Papua!”
Thank you very much
West Papua independence leader
Spokesperson for the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP).
Information on those arrested in West Papua
Of the 84 West Papuans arrested by the Indonesian authorities yesterday, it is believed that 74 were arrested in Manokwari, 3 in Biak and 6 in Sentani. The names and details of those arrested in Manokwari are currently unknown.
In Biak, those arrested were: The Head of the Biak People’s Regional Parliament -Mananwir Apolos Sroyer, the Head of the Biak West Papua National Committee-Yuianus Mandowen and a Coordinator of the Federated Republic of West Papua- Dorteus Bonsapia.
In Sentani, the names and details are as follows: Edo Pahabol (15), Yunani Balyo (25), Maris Tabuni (21), Ade Paragaye (18), Jasa Balyo (26) and Edison Yare (23).
It is believed that up to all 84 Papuans are still behind bars and many of them are being interrogated and possibly tortured by the Indonesian authorities. We will continue to post update the news as the situation changes.
Please help to increase pressure and call for the Papuans’ release by contacting the Indonesian authorities in Manokwari, Biak and Sentani (Jayapura). You can find the contact details of how to contact the Indonesian authorities here.
For any media relates inquiries. You can contact the Office of Benny Wenda on +44 7411 053953 or though e-mail via [email protected]
Thank you very much