‘Win back Papuan independence and restore Papua’s dignity’

Metro TV News – March 25, 2013
Papuan protesters in Makassar call for SBY's resignation - March 23, 2013 (Zona Damai)
Papuan protesters in Makassar call for SBY's resignation - March 23, 2013 (Zona Damai)

MI/Rommy Pujianto/ip, Makassar – Student Solidarity Concern for the Papuan People (SMPRP) along with advocacy and human rights groups held a protest action in front of the Mandala Monument Commemorating the Liberation of West Irian on Jl. Jenderal Sudirman in the South Sulawesi provincial capital of Makassar on Monday March 25.

They were demanding that President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Vice President Boediono (SBY-Boediono) resign from their posts.

The action, which was coordinated by Thomas C., used characteristic Papuan attributes and put up a white banner with the message, “Win back Papuan independence and restore Papua’s dignity”.

The protesters also took turns giving speeches and read out a statement by the group, in which they largely focused on the humanitarian crimes that have been taking place since 1963 up until the administration of President Yudhoyono. The government has given Papua the status of special autonomy, but this has had no benefit for the Papuan people the group said.

“They are still backward. The [government’s] existing policies only create conflict and result in fatalities”, said Thomas in a speech.

The Papuan student’s demands were divided into eight points, namely do not turn Papua in to a political issue, withdraw the military and national police from the Land of Papua, end the violence in Papua, Yudhoyono is responsible for the widespread killing of the Papuan people, end special autonomy for Papua, and the government must be held accountable for the gross human rights violations in Papua, the exploitation of its natural resources and the problems of capitalism and capitalisation in Papua.

Based on these demands, before ending the action the Papuan students expressed their feelings of disappointed with the Yudhoyono administration. “If SBY-Boediono do not resign, then Papua will be independent. That’s the choice”, said Tomas in closing. (Lina Herlina)

[Mahasiswa Tuntut SBY-Boediono Mundur atau Papua Merdeka – Metrotvnews.com. Senin, 25 Maret 2013. Slightly abridged translation by James Balowski.]