77 West Papuan people arrested in Merauke – There is No Freedom of Expression in occupied West Papua

Yesterday in Merauke, West Papua it is reported that at least 77 people, including men, women and children were arrested by the Indonesian police simply for attending a peaceful prayer ceremony in which the Almaso sector of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) was opened. It is believed that local leader Mama Pangkresia Yeem and 4 others remain in detention.

How can the Indonesian police continue to arrest innocent children? Where is Indonesia’s so called “democracy” in West Papua?

The Indonesian police reportedly forcibly stripped West Papuan people of their clothes, “searched them head to toe” and interrogated them. They also insulted them with abusive language, before confiscating clothes, flags and banners calling for self-determination and freedom.

I ask again, why are the Indonesian police scared of clothes, flags and banners?

Only the day before at another KNPB gathering in Timika, the exact same thing happened as it was raided by the Indonesian military and police with several people arrested. Local KNPB leader Yanto Awerkion remains in detention under charges of “treason”.

In West Papua we always express our desires to be free with peace and love yet we always have our Freedom of Expression violently crushed and suppressed by the Indonesian military. The world needs to know now that there is NO Freedom of Expression in occupied West Papua. There is only a hidden genocide in which over 500,000 people (over 1 in 4 people) have been killed.

In perhaps 20 years, the Indonesian genocide of the West Papuan people will be complete and we will disappear and become totally extinct as a people That is why with all my heart I am desperately appealing for help. We really need solidarity at all levels including at governmental levels. My people are crying every day and night. Every single West Papuan knows someone who has been killed by the Indonesian military or police and every single West Papuan continues to hear about new murderous atrocities. We desperately need you to be the voice of the voiceless people of West Papua.

For 50 years we have been suffering.
For 50 years we have been arrested.
For 50 years we have been imprisoned.
For 50 years we have been tortured.
For 50 years we have been raped.
For 50 years we have been killed.

As you read these words, this is all happening right now in West Papua. We are having our fundamental human rights including our right to self-determination systematically and consistently violated and abused by the Indonesian government, the Indonesian military and the Indonesian police. We are still struggling for our very fundamental human rights. Please don’t let us suffer any longer. We desperately need YOUR help.

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the Global Petition for West Papua.

Together, we will Free West Papua.

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