Benny Wenda condemns Indonesia’s plans for West Papua

Recently the Indonesian government has announced various plans in attempts to suppress the West Papuan people and the international solidarity movement supporting us.

Last week it was announced that 1200 Indonesian personnel including 670 personnel from the Indonesian military and police will launch an “expedition” to West Papua in order to “map the natural resources and human resources as well as existing problems in West Papua.”

Benny Wenda quote on genocide

We West Papuans are not resources to be mapped and exploited by the Indonesian government. Our natural resources themselves belong to the West Papuan people and the Indonesian government has no right to map or exploit them either.
West Papua belongs to the people of West Papua, not Indonesia.

As for “existing problems”, the illegal occupation of West Papua, the genocide of the West Papuan people and the theft and destruction of our natural world cannot be solved by the Indonesian military. In fact, they are being actively caused by the Indonesian military who have consistently been the most brutal perpetrators in West Papua.

I always declare that in West Papua the Indonesian military are not sent to protect us but to kill us.

This so called expedition is merely showing that the Indonesian government is not interested in the wellbeing of the West Papuan people but only interested in counting up their profits and counting up how they can continue to profit from the ongoing occupation of the West Papuan people and our ancestral lands.

With over 500,000 indigenous West Papuans having been killed, it comes as no surprise to my people that Indonesia was recently condemned in Human Rights Watch’s annual report and was dropped in Reporters without Borders Press Freedom Index. As a result of Indonesia’s continued barring of foreign journalists to West Papua, Indonesia is now ranked the 138th about out of 180 countries in the Press Freedom Index.
Indonesian military marching though the streets of Port Numbay
Not only is the Indonesian government sending soldiers to count up their profits, but there is also increasing evidence that the Indonesian government is actively trying to suppress West Papuans overseas and the Free West Papua solidarity movement overseas.

Last month, ABC Australia found evidence that the Indonesian government is using the notorious hacking software “FinFisher” in Australia; software which has been condemned by Amnesty International as being used by human rights abusing regimes to target peaceful activists. ABC also obtained a leaked Indonesian Intelligence report, listing Free West Papua activists and stating its aims as to “supress and divide the movement”.

In fact last week a member of the Indonesian parliament, Tantowi Yahya openly called for “cyber war” against the West Papuan struggle and International Solidarity movement. Worried about the growing momentum from around the world in supporting the West Papua solidarity movement, he went onto say “Sympathy and support from some of the countries that are concerned about West Papua’s freedom is real in front of us.”

On behalf of my people I fully condemn any plans of the Indonesian government to illegally spy and hack West Papuans and try to “supress and divide our movement”.
And what kind of democracy calls for “cyber war” and targets peaceful activists, even supporters living abroad?

The International solidarity for West Papua is growing every day and we will not be stopped. We will not be intimidated by the threats of the Indonesian government.

Indonesia does not need worry about the growing momentum behind our international campaign for freedom because West Papua is a different country to Indonesia.
We West Papuans are Melanesian not Indonesian and we have a right to be free and reunite with our Melanesian family.

Act-Of-Free-Choice (2)
West Papuans demonstrating before the Act of NO Choice in 1969

One day we will be good neighbours with Indonesia but this cannot happen while we are being caged and tortured by the Indonesian authorities. Let West Papua go free and then of course we will be good neighbours with Indonesia but for now we will continue to peacefully struggle to be free from illegal occupation and colonialism.

The world is finding out about the secret genocide and illegal occupation of West Papua and whatever the Indonesian government says and whatever they do, they cannot hide the truth from the eyes of the world. They cannot hide the fact that in 1969 Indonesia illegally annexed West Papua without the consent of the West Papuan people. Indonesia call’s this illegal annexation, the Act of Free Choice but we West Papuans call it the Act of NO Choice.

If the Indonesian government is confident that they have a right to occupy West Papua then history needs to be revisited, let my people have the Independence referendum we never had and then the world will see the right of the West Papuan people to be Independent and free.
No matter how hard the Indonesian government tries, they cannot hide from the truth. We West Papuans DO have the right to self-determination and one day we are sure that we will finally be free.

Benny Wenda
West Papuan Independence Leader
Spokesperson for the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP)