Protesters say Papua already independent, call for international recognition

Java Post – November 18, 2011
West Papuan protesters in Panai call for independence (Tabloid Wani)
West Papuan protesters in Panai call for independence (Tabloid Wani)

Manokwari – Shouts of “Papuan is independent” enlivened a peaceful protest action at the West Papua Provincial House of Representatives (DPRPB) on Thursday November 17.

Thousands of protesters took to the street and marched from Jl. Pahlawan Sanggeng to Jl. Yos Sudarso and then to Jl. Merdeka before eventually conveying their demands on the grounds of the DPRPB.

Action coordinator Drs Abraham Ramar said the protest was held to request attention from both the Indonesian government as well as the international community and to point out that Papua has been independent since the Third Papuan People’s Congress that was held on October 19, which declared the Federation of West Papua and Forkorus Yoboisembut (chair of the Papuan Customary Council, DAP) as president and Edison Waromi (president of the West Papua National Authority) as prime minister.

“This demonstration is calling for support from the international community. Papua has been independent since October 19, 2011 and all that remains now is recognition from other countries as one of the principle requirements for [a new] country. Pacific countries in particular will soon recognise us, also the United States”, Ramar told journalists at the end of the protest action.

The protesters gathered at the Papua Traditional Council (DAP) offices then moved off at 10.30am, some on foot and others on motorbikes. Also taking part were a number of public figures such as former Regional Representatives Council (DPD) member Ferdinanda Ibo-Yatipai and church leader Pastor M.L. Wanma.

A number of banners and pamphlets embellished the protest action with messages such as “Stop Dialog, Referendum Yes”, “Indonesia must be held liable for gross human rights violations post the October 19 2011 Third Papuan Congress”, “We the nation of black-skinned and curly-haired Papuans want to be independent” and the “The Papuan struggle was finalised on October 19, 2011”.

The protesters also brought photographs of US President Barack Obama and welcomed his arrival in Bali to attend the ASEAN Summit. “Welcome Barak Obama in Indonesia”, read one of the banners. Photographs of Forkorus Yoboisembut and Edison Waromi also adorned the demonstration.

The protesters, who continued to shout “Papua is Independent”, were received by DPRPB deputy speaker Robby Nauw along with several other legislators such as Obed Ayok, Efendi Simanjutak and Amelia Simorangkir. Scores of police officers meanwhile watched over the action.

M.L. Wanma (who is also the governor of the West Papua National Authority, WPNA), Markus Yenu (Manokwari WPNA Governor) and Ferdinanda Ibo-Yatipai (who is also the chairperson of Papua Women’s Solidarity) took turns in giving speeches. Wanma said that Papua does not want independence, because it is already independent. He also touched on plans to establish a US marine base of 2,500 personnel in Australia.

Mama Ibo (Ibo-Yatipai) meanwhile focused on the shooting of Papuans by security forces at the Third Papuan People’s Congress in Jayapura.

Ramar said the Papuan people do not need to hold a dialogue with the Indonesian government because all that remains now is recognition of Papua’s independence by other countries.

Ramar also took the opportunity to read out a statement comprising two main pointes: First that that we, the people of the Papuan nation resolve to firmly reject all offers forced on the people of the Papuan nation by the Indonesian government, including increasing special autonomy funds or dialogue. Second, that we the people of the Papuan nation urge the government of the Republic of Indonesia to issue an “acknowledgement” of the Papuan nation’s independence that was declared on October 19.

The statement was then handed over to Robby Nauw and Manokwari regency Regional House of Representatives (DPRD) Commission A Chairperson Yusak Iryo.

The results of the Third Papuan People’s Congress on the profile and attributes of the state were also read out: that it is called the Federation of West Papua, the state symbol is the Mambruk bird (crown pigeon), the state flag is the Morning Star, the national anthem is “Hai Tanah ku Papua” (Oh My Land Papua), the head of state is the president, the head of the government is the prime minister, with a judiciary and legislature, the country will be divided into regions headed by a governor, the currency will be the West Papua Golden, the national languages English, Fidjing and Bislama with an recognition of local dialects, and the territorial boarders cover an area of 160,000 square kilometres from 128 degrees 45 minutes to 141 degrees 48 minutes east longitude and between 1 degree 19 minutes north latitude and 10 degrees 45 minutes south latitude.

Robby Nauw stated that the DPRPB could only accept the protesters’ wishes and convey them to the central government, but does not have the authority to respond to them. “The DPRD cannot not accept [your] aspirations. The House can only forward them to the Indonesian government”, said Nauw, adding that the wishes conveyed by the protesters represent and extraordinary struggle.

After continuing for around an hour the peaceful action was closed with a prayer. The protesters then disbanded in an orderly fashion. (lm)


The original Java Post article spelt the names Forkorus Yoboisembut and Edison Waromi as Foskorus Yaboisembut and Edison Waramoi.

[Ribuan Massa Teriakkan Papua Merdeka – Jawa Pos. Jum’at, 18 November 2011. Translated by James Balowski.]