The following media statement has been released by the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) mid the upcoming Pacific Islands Forum (PIF).
ULMWP appeals to PIF to support West Papua
On behalf of the people of West Papua, ULMWP would like to welcome the inauguration of the 48th Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting in Samoa.
As an Observer-Member of the sub-regional Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG), we send our best wishes and prayers with you all and pray for the good and righteous leadership of our leaders in the PIF in addressing some of the most critical issues we face as a region, particularly the worsening crisis in West Papua and global climate change.
On the unity of the Pacific and the Pacific Islands Forum, ULMWP Spokesperson Benny Wenda states “Our Blue Pacific is our Mother and Home to us all. Rather than dividing our nations it has always connected us as one Pacific Island people. We are large the Ocean States.”
ULMWP is very encouraged that the ongoing regional crisis in West Papua is once again on the agenda of the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting. On behalf of the people of West Papua, ULMWP humbly calls upon the PIF and all Pacific Islands leaders to help facilitate a discussion in which leaders can discuss and highlight the ongoing crisis and struggle for self-determination in West Papua where the slow-motion genocide against Pacific Islanders is only getting worse amid a rapidly deteriorating human rights situation.
ULMWP would especially like to notify all elements of the PIF about the West Papuan People’s Petition, collected between May and July 2017 which calls for: A Special Representative to investigate the human rights situation in West Papua; – West Papua’s return to the Decolonisation Committee agenda and West Papua’s right to self‐determination – denied in 1969 – being respected through an Internationally Supervised Vote (in accordance with UN General Assembly Resolutions 1514 and 1541 (XV)).
Speaking on the significance of the petition, ULMWP Spokesperson Benny Wenda stated: “We appeal to all leaders of the Pacific Islands Forum to listen to the voices of the West Papuan people. This year, the people of West Papua have made our hopes, desires and aspirations known through the West Papuan People’s Petition. This incredible petition, handed over to the United Nations in August represents the blood and bones of our people. It shows firm evidence of the will of the West Papuan people, firm evidence that we demand that our fundamental right to self-determination be exercised through an Internationally Supervised Vote. The people of West Papua have risked their lives for signing this petition and have been arrested, tortured and imprisoned just for doing so. The West Papuan people have not signed their names in vain but have signed it so that the PIF, the United Nations and the world will listen to our voices as an urgent plea for help.”
The West Papuan People’s Petition was also supported by a Global Solidarity Petition signed by over 150,000 people, including countless Pacific Islanders, concerned about the worsening situation in West Papua. Yesterday in Kiunga, Papua New Guinea where thousands of West Papuan refugees have fled, there was a peace march to call upon the Pacific Islands Forum to support West Papuan self-determination. Another demonstration was also held today in Apia, Samoa to call for the same.
On behalf of the people of West Papua, ULMWP hereby calls upon all members of the Pacific Islands Forum to help raise the plight of the West Papuan people and our calls for self-determination expressed in the West Papuan People’s Petition, at the United Nations General Assembly.
It is essential that the United Nations revisit the gross abuse of international law that violated West Papua’s fundamental right to self-determination. The 1969 “Act of Free Choice” known to the people of West Papua as the Act of NO Choice involved just 1,026 people handpicked by the Indonesian government and forced under threat of violence to vote for integration with Indonesia. This is the root cause of the human rights crisis in West Papua and it is up to all members of the United Nations to push for a review of this fraudulent and illegal process that has to this day resulted in the brutal legacy of colonialism and genocide in West Papua.
We the people of West Papua are forever grateful to our Pacific Islands family members for consistently supporting us, especially through the incredible and historic work of the Pacific Coalition on West Papua (PCWP), whose members all made powerful and incredibly important statements about West Papua at last year’s United Nations General Assembly. As West Papua is one of the most crucial regional issues facing the Pacific, it is the duty of all members of the PIF to address this issue head on and take immediate action to help resolve the longest running conflict in the Pacific through self-determination. ULMWP is confident that as regional leaders of the Pacific, the PCWP and PIF will continue to highlight West Papua as the fundamental regional issue it is.
Every day, West Papuan people are being oppressed in our own ancestral land. Day by day, month by month, year by year, we are becoming a minority in our own Pacific Island and more and more of continue to be killed. These are among the crucial concerns ULMWP seeks to bring to the PIF’s attention and to renew PIF’s commitment in supporting the people of West Papua. Your support is vital for our very existence as a people. If the systematic slow-motion genocide being imposed against Pacific Islanders in West Papua is not stopped, in the next few decades we will become extinct as a people.
As leaders are aware, we the people of West Papua are still waiting for the PIF promise of a Fact-Finding Mission to West Papua in order to investigate such ongoing human rights violations in West Papua.
ULMWP Spokesperson Benny Wenda states: “To the leaders of the PIF, the people of West Papua place our hope in your hands and we want to demonstrate that help must come from our own Pacific Islands family; from the leaders of our Pacific Region. After more than 50 years of unabated killings, torture, rape and systematic genocide, we are not safe with Indonesia. We cannot appeal to the perpetrators for help. We desperately need the genuine compassion, support and action of our Pacific Islands family to allow us to be safe like other Pacific Islander people.”
ULMWP is fully grateful for the incredible solidarity from across the Pacific for West Papua’s self-determination, including from governments, individuals, NGOs, churches and others. Every individual can make a difference in our region and continue to support us as fellow Pacific Islanders. This Leaders Meeting is a very significant moment in West Papua’s history as it is now up to our Pacific leaders to make the key decision to help West Papua be safe within our Pacific Islands family and in doing so, reach a new level.
Therefore, ULMWP also fully endorses the submission of the Pacific Network on Globalisation (PANG) to the Pacific Islands Forum on West Papua, which reads as follows:
(a) Action a regional Fact-Finding Team commissioned to conduct a Human Rights Assessment in West Papua to verify the ongoing gross human rights violations. The regional Fact-Finding Team must be independent and should include members from Civil Society Organisations in the Pacific.
(b) Support the call by Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Republic of Marshall Islands, Tuvalu, Nauru, Palau and Tonga, expressed at the United Nations General Assembly in September, 2016, for a UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression to visit West Papua to get an objective and independent view of the situation in the region.
(c) Support a Pacific Islands led resolution at the UNGA to support an international supervised referendum.
Commenting on the crucial importance of PIF’s support for West Papua, ULMWP Spokesperson Benny Wenda states “We the people of West Papua appeal to all the people of the Pacific, all our Pacific Islander family members. We know that you will not let your family suffer alone. We Pacific Islanders have a brave spirit and are united in our stand against climate change and environmental destruction. We must also stand united in our commitment to defend our land and protect our people from colonialism and human rights violations. We must stand together as one in a united voice for the restoration of West Papua’s fundamental right to self-determination.”
He went onto say: “We the people of West Papua are fully confident that our Pacific family will continue to stand side by side us. We desperately need your help. The prayers of the people of West Papua are always with you and we pray for your leadership, compassion and the spirit of true and urgent Pacific solidarity.”
On behalf of the people of West Papua, ULMWP would like to wish all components of the PIF a successful, fruitful and blessed Leaders Meeting. May God bless the Pacific Islands Forum and all the people of the Pacific.
Wa wa wa.
For more information on the situation in West Papua, please visit www.ulmwp.org.
Spokesperson for the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP)