Benny Wenda: West Papuans should welcome outcome of ULMWP summit

In the names of our ancestors, in the names of all communities of beings, in the name of Yahweh, in the names of all those who have gone in this struggle, and in the names of those to come.

I would like to thank all ULMWP leaders, including Edison Waromi, Buchtar Tabuni and all Executive Members, and welcome the outcome of the ULMWP summit held in Port Vila, Vanuatu. The summit was a victory for democracy and unity among West Papuan leaders and organisations.

My thanks also go to the people of West Papua for their strong support for the ULMWP, from 2014 until today. We express our deepest gratitude to the people and governments of all Melanesian countries, the West Papua Council of Churches, Pacific Council of Churches, and our solidarity groups around the world, who continue to support West Papua’s full membership of the MSG, alongside our broader struggle to realize the right to self-determination for West Papua.

As agreed at the summit, the ULMWP remains committed to our three agenda items: A) full membership of the MSG, B) a UN High Commissioner for Human Rights visit to West Papua, and C) a resolution on West Papua at the UN General Assembly. It is vital that we remain focused on our political and diplomatic roadmap, through which West Papua will become a free, independent and fully sovereign country.

I urge calm and continued support from all West Papuans for the ULMWP. Everyone must rally behind the ULMWP, which represents all West Papuans, support our agreed agenda, and push for the referendum we have long been denied. Fulfilling our right to self-determination through an internationally-mediated referendum remains the only path to a peaceful solution in West Papua. 

I will build on my work as Interim President of the West Papua Provisional Government to now represent West Papuans as ULMWP Foreign Minister, leading the international movement. We are all united within the ULMWP. The Provisional Government is an important structure for international and domestic political campaigning that will support the ULMWP leadership according to our constitution. No matter which of the ULMWP’s three constituent factions is currently in power under our rotational leadership structure, our constitution must continue to be our guiding light. The principles and rules it lays down were established by the ULMWP Legislative Council, and all ULMWP leaders are subject to it. 

We, the West Papuan people, through the ULMWP, thank all Melanesian leaders and welcome the 2023 MSG Leaders’ Summit Communique. We hope that the MSG Chair will engage Indonesia as a matter of urgency. As an Associate Member of the MSG, Indonesia must honour this call. To continue to refuse access to the UN puts Indonesia in breach of the will of the entire African, Caribbean and Pacific regions. 

The events of the past months have shown how desperately the people of West Papua need international intervention. Children tortured, mothers killed, unarmed protestors shot dead in cold blood – Indonesia is illegally occupying our land and is committing state terrorism against the people of West Papua. Melanesian blood runs in the streets of cities like Wamena and Jayapura, and in villages across Intan Jaya, Nduga, Maybrat and Puncak. 

Thank you also to all Vanuatu politicians, chiefs, the Vanuatu Free West Papua Association, and ordinary people, who welcomed the ULMWP as we conducted our summit. Vanuatu has long looked after West Papua as a Good Samaritan, and remains our closest and strongest friend. West Papua will not be safe until we are reunited with our Melanesian family in the MSG. Vanuatu will not be free until all Melanesia, including West Papua and Kanaky are free.

Benny Wenda
West Papua Independence Leader
ULMWP Executive