Traditional Papuan war dance rocks UN office in Jakarta

Source – April 28, 2004
Papuan National Student’s Front protest in Jakarta (tuantanahpapuanews)
Papuan National Student’s Front protest in Jakarta (tuantanahpapuanews)

Alisa P., Jakarta – Scores of activists from the Papuan National Student’s Front (Front Nasional Mahasiswa Papua, FNMP) held a demonstration at the United Nations offices in Jakarta on Tuesday 27. The action which included Papuan traditional dances became more and more lively especially since a number of the participants wore traditional Papuan dress including penis sheaths and other traditional attire.

During the action they carried banners with messages demanding an investigation in to the Abipura village case which represents the worst human rights violation in West Papua. In a statement which was handed out to journalists, FNMP also called for an immediate end to martial law in Aceh and an end to the planned division of Papua [into three smaller provinces]. In addition to this they also demanded an immediate resolution to the Aceh and Papua question though democratic means, that is though a referendum.

The leader of the FNMP action, Charles Imbir, said that the action was also calling for a commitment from the UN on [resolving] human rights problems in Aceh, Indonesia and Papua in particular. As well as this we also wish to state that we support Acehnese and Papuan national liberation through a democratic means, through a referendum. Imbir added that FMNP also opposes presidential candidates from the military.

Also present at the action was the chairperson of the People’s Democratic Party (PRD), Ari Arianto, who said in a speech that it is time for the democratic forces to give their support to the Papuan and Acehnese people’s struggles and that it will only be a united government of the poor will have the courage to give the people of Aceh and Papua the chance to hold a referendum. Arianto’s speech received a warm response from participants.

The action was tightly guarded by police and members of the TNI (armed forces) could also be seen. After giving speeches and holding a Papuan war dance in front of the UN offices the participants disbanded.

[Translated by James Balowski.]