When it comes to West Papua, who are the real liars?


Last week I was wrongly accused by the Head of the Indonesian Police, Badrodin Haiti of organising an attack of Indonesian policemen in West Papua. I was also threatened by Sutiyoso, the Head of the Indonesian Intelligence Agency (BIN) that they would use ‘other methods’ if I ‘refused to cooperate’ with them. Following these warnings, I published a Press Release rejecting the ridiculous accusation and questioning what sorts of secret “other methods” the Indonesian Intelligence Agency would use to try and stop me.

Badrodin Haiti,Head of Indo police
Head of the Indonesian Police, Badrodin Haiti

Following the publication of this Press Release, the Head of the Indonesian Police has at last shamefully admitted that I am not responsible for the attack of Indonesian policemen in West Papua. In fact, he claimed that he had ‘never mentioned the name of Benny Wenda’, despite the fact that CNN reported the exact time and place where he accused me. (On 28th December 2015, at the House of the Governor of East Nusa Tenggara in Kupang, the Police Chief said of the police shooting in Sinak “It is still done by the same group, namely Benny Wenda’s group,“).

Now the world can see that when confronted with the truth and with facts, the Indonesian police cannot defend their stance on West Papua. If the Head of the Indonesian Police blame me for this attack in Sinak then he is an outright liar. Why did he accuse me for something I did not do and then later claim he never mentioned my name?

If the Head of the Indonesian Police is allowed to lie like this in public, what are the other hundreds of police officers in West Papua allowed to get away with? We West Papuans continue to witness the brutal murder of our people at the hands of the Indonesian police and military, just because we stand up for our rights to self-determination and Independence. The Human Rights Commission Komnas HAM found that in 2015 more than 700 West Papuans were been persecuted through being arrested, beaten, and tortured. How many Indonesian officers were brought to justice for the human rights abuses against these more than 700 West Papuans?

Once again I question, why is it that after more than one year the Indonesian authorities are still unable to find any perpetrators of the massacre of West Papuan schoolchildren in Paniai, yet within 24 hours they immediately placed the blame on myself for deaths of Indonesian policemen?

The Head of the Indonesian Intelligence Agency, Sutiyoso also responded to my Press Release and suggested once again that dark methods were going to be implemented against me. When questioned by CNN about what other methods would be used if the ‘soft approach’ fails, he laughed and said ‘you already know’.

Head of the Indonesian Intelligence, Sutiyoso

I know that the Indonesian Intelligence and the Indonesian Security Forces are responsible for the assassination and murder of many West Papuan leaders.

So is the Head of the Indonesian Intelligence confirming that he is going to try and kill me too?

I am not scared of any methods the Indonesian intelligence will use against me. They cannot stop me campaigning for my people’s fundamental right to self-determination and Independence. My life is for this struggle and I will continue to campaign for my people’s freedom until West Papua is finally Independent.

I feel that the Head of the Indonesian Intelligence, Sutiyoso is very childish and behaving in a very ignorant and immature manner. He should be ashamed of laughing and making light of the situation in occupied West Papua where over 500,000 innocent West Papuans have been killed by the Indonesian Security Forces.

Indoensian military in West Papua
Indonesian troops marching through the streets of West Papua in front of local children

In fact the Indonesian military has just announced that it plans to fill the Headquarters of its new Military Command in West Papua with 5000 Indonesian soldiers. West Papua is the most militarised zone in the South Pacific with about 50,000 Indonesian soldiers already stationed in West Papua. Last year The Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, Peter O’Neill called on Indonesia to fulfil the promise of its former president to reduce troops stationed in West Papua.

What kind of promise is this if more troops keep coming and 5000 more are now expected to fill up the new military command?

Therefore I question,

When it comes to West Papua who are the real liars?

Neither the Indonesian Police, the Indonesian Intelligence, nor the Indonesian government can hide from the truth about West Papua.

West Papua was supposed to be a free Melanesian nation but is now under illegal Indonesian occupation, and has been ever since the illegal Act of No Choice in 1969.
Rather than being a free and fair Independence referendum for all West Papuans as promised by the United Nations, the Act of No Choice involved just 1,026 handpicked West Papuans forced to vote for integration with Indonesia. They were told that if they did not vote for Indonesia, their lounges would be torn out and they would be killed.

Therefore my people still have the right to our UN promised Independence referendum and no Indonesian government will ever be democratic in the eyes of the world until they let the people of West Papua to freely determine their own future in an Independence referendum.

West Papuans demonstrating for freedom

We West Papuans are not animals to be butchered by the Indonesian security forces. We are human beings and proud to be Melanesian West Papuans. We will keep up our struggle until our motherland of West Papua is finally free and Independent for us and for our children and grandchildren.

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