KNPB calls on OPM, Jakarta to halt armed conflict in Papua, pursue path of peace

Suara Papua – January 22, 2022
Indonesian soldiers on patrol in Yahukimo district – Undated (Sinpo)

Jayapura – The West Papua National Committee (KNPB) has declared that it rejects the violent approach which continues to be applied by Indonesia in the land of Papua.

"We have been consistent in the demand to resolve the political conflict in Papua peacefully. We reject a violent approach which has already claimed many victims since [Papua] was annexed [by Indonesia] in 1962. We are aware that weapons will not resolve the Papua problem", said KNPB spokesperson Ones Suhuniap in a press release dated January 21.

The KNPB is therefore asking the Free Papua Movement-West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB OPM) and the Indonesian government to halt the armed conflict. "Immediately open up peaceful democratic space for dialogue and to find a find a peaceful solution", the group said.

According to Suhuniap, the KNPB is asking Indonesia to stop sending troops to the land of Papua.

"We are asking Jakarta to withdraw the troops which have been dropped [in Papua] in huge numbers because this has impacted on humanitarian crimes since 1962. Immediately pursue a political  solution. Don't sacrifice people for the sake of the economic and political interests of the oligarchy in Jakarta. Members of the TNI [Indonesian military] and Polri [Indonesian police] are also human beings. Likewise the TPNPB are also human beings", the group said.

As an organisation, the KNPB rejects the use of arms as a solution.

"All KNPB members adhere to the KNPB's principles of struggling peacefully without violence. We need to remind all rouge individuals (oknum) and other parties to stop treating the KNPB as criminals. If there are such rogue individuals they must be held accountable for their actions. We will not tolerate it anymore", asserted Suhuniap.

Suhuniap believes that the bloody conflict which is continuing in the land of Papua is a consequence of Jakarta's reluctance to resolve the conflict peacefully.

"All the Papuan people want is their political right to be respected as a nation. So, right from the start the KNPB has demanded a referendum as a peaceful solution for the Papuan people. So far this has not happened, because Jakarta has intentionally cultivated and maintained crimes against humanity in the land of Papua", he explained.

Suhuniap continued, "Papua's problems are very clear. Indonesia and the world also understands this. Our political history and the current reality proves that the Papuan people have, are and will continue to be the victims. All of the scientific research proves this. So as human beings we need a peaceful solution".

In heading towards the peaceful solution that is yearned for, said Suhuniap, both parties need to speak at an respectable location. "And speak honestly and openly, then agree on a solution for the Papuan people."

Because of this, the KNPB as a media for the Papuan people is continuing to urge Jakarta and all other parties to pursue a peaceful solution.

KNPB Diplomatic Secretary Omikson Balingga meanwhile said that the lives of the Papuan people in Indonesia have been without hope because of the unfolding threat of violence over the last 60 years.

"The Papuan nation does not have any hope living with a colonial country. Aside from its people, the natural resources of the land of Papua also continue to be exhausted by Indonesia. The only solution is independence as a sovereign country", he said.

Earlier, KNPB General Chairperson Warpo Sampari Wetipo declared that the KNPB as a media of the West Papuan people has been consistent in its civilian mission in the cities.

"The KNPB will never retreat a single step. The KNPB has been constant in the agenda of self-determination which along with the Papuan people it has continued to struggle for", said Wetipo.

As long as the Papuan people are still not given the democratic space to determine their own future (self determination), he asserted that the KNPB will continue to exist throughout the land of Papua.

"To this day the struggle of the Papuan nation has been to demand political independence. This is no longer a secret. All of the Papuan people already know and understand our political history and what is best for the future".

Wetipo stated that Indonesia must understand that it has to stop using colonialist policies and actions against the Papuan people.

"The best solution is to immediately give the democratic right to the Papuan nation to determine their own future", he asserted.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Hentikan Konflik Bersenjata di Tanah Papua, KNPB: Tempuhlah Jalan Damai!".]