Papuans in Yogyakarta call for referendum, independence from Indonesia

Okezone – December 1, 2011
Papuans demand referendum, government recognition of OPM - December 1, 2011 (Okezone)
Papuans demand referendum, government recognition of OPM - December 1, 2011 (Okezone)

Prabowo, Yogyakarta – Students and people from Papua in the Central Java city of Yogyakarta commemorated 50 years of the Free Papua Organisation (OPM) in front of the Papua dormitory on Jl. Kusumanegara, Umbulharjo.

They called on the Indonesian government to acknowledge West Papua Independence day on December 1.

“The aspirations of our sisters and brothers in Papua are that they want independence. The government could substantiate this by holding a referendum for the West Papuan people”, said Papuan student activist Martinus on Thursday December 1.

Martinus explained that the Papuan people’s demands are for the restoration of their dignity, self-respect and ideology that has been stolen by the Indonesian government since 1961.

“The Papuan people don’t want the cheap kinds of things offered by the NKRI (the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia) government such as the implementation of special autonomy in Papuan, peace negotiations, national dialogue or whatever else they like to call it”, he explained.

“What the Papuan people want is a dignified dialogue between the Papuan people and the Indonesian government for the purpose of restoring the dignity and self-respect of the Papuan people”, he said.

Martinus also called on the Indonesian government to withdraw the organic and non-organic military personnel that are still in Papua. They also demanded an end to all forms of violence against the Papuan people.

In addition to the demands made on the Indonesian government, they also said the United Nations must take responsibility for restoring Papuan independence. Martinus asserted that legal instruments such the Perpera 1961, which gave birth to the 1969 UN sponsored referendum on West Papua’s integration with Indonesia, were in fact an insult to the rights of the Papuan people to determine their own future.

Although the action only continued for around an hour, police and intelligence personnel from the TNI (Indonesian military) were spread around the area where the demonstration was being held. After holding the protest in front of the dormitory, the students continued the action inside.

Police and TNI personnel wearing civilian clothing were prohibited from entering the dormitory and only journalists will special identity cards were allowed to enter.

Although situation started to become tense the chief of the Yogyakarta municipal police, Senior Commissioner Mustaqim held a dialogue and in the end the Papuan students promised they would not do anything to disrupt security outside of the dormitory.

Inside the dormitory, although the Papuan students did not fly the Morning Star flag, the symbol of the OPM, they did wear OPM symbols such as head bands. Some even wore Papuan traditional clothing (penis gourds) complete with bows and arrows.

In press release distributed by the students, it asserted that the participants of the demonstration no longer want Papua to be part of NKRI, but want independence instead. (kem)

[Warga Papua Minta Pemerintah Akui Harlah OPM – Okezone. Kamis, 1 Desember 2011. Translated by James Balowski.]