Melki Pangaribuan, Jakarta – Through an unpretentious press conference at the offices of the Legal Aid Foundation (LBH) in Jakarta on Thursday November 29, the Indonesian People’s Front for West Papua (FRI-West Papua) declared its support for self-determination for the people of Papua, which they refer to as the West Papuan nation.
The declaration was read out by FRI-West Papua spokesperson Surya Anta in front of journalists and scores of activists. The declaration was unique because it was articulated by the FRI-West Papua which is an alliance of activists who do not originate from Papua. The group is acting in solidarity with the Papuan people who they say have suffered racial discrimination for decades both in the land of Papua as well as outside Papua.
The declaration itself was quite long and included an explanation about what has been taking place in Papua, including, among other things, deception and deceit about Papua’s history, social discrimination, slow-motion genocide, arrests, torture, the jailing of the Papuan people and the theft of its natural wealth.
Also presented was an explanation on the need for the right to self-determination for the Papuan people. It was emphasised that West Papua is a nation that was formed based on a common language, territory, economic life and psychological change which is manifested in a common culture.
The declaration ended with a call to the people of Indonesia, the Indonesian government and the international community to give the Papuan people the right to self-determination.
“It is hypocritical if we or the Indonesian government supports Palestinian liberation but is silent on and ignores the colonialism that is taking place within the territory of Indonesia. Because of this therefore, there are no longer any grounds to deem that West Papua is part of Indonesia either under international law or politically”, said Surya in reading out the declaration.
The nine demands in the declaration in full are as follows:
First, to support the nation and people of West Papua in exercising their right to self-determination through the mechanism of a referendum. And the participation in this referendum will be determined by the people of West Papua through its political representatives in the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP).
Second, support the [full] membership of the ULMWP in the Melanesia Spearhead Group (MSG), the Pacific Island Forum (PIF) and to struggle for the membership of the ULMWP at the United Nations.
Three, as an inseparable condition, that [all] organic and non-organic military in West Papua be withdrawn in order that a referendum in West Papua can proceed peacefully, fairly and without intimidation.
Fourth, freedom of information, expression and association for the West Papuan nation must be guaranteed and be as broad as possible.
Fifth, opposing imperialist intervention in the process of the West Papuan democratic struggle.
Sixth, calling on the international community to build and consolidate solidarity with the struggle for the right to self-determination for the nation of West Papua.
Seventh, encouraging the people of Indonesia that reside in the land of West Papua to support the Papuan nation’s struggle for self-determination.
Eighth, rejecting the massive and systematic racial and political discrimination practiced by the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia (NKRI) the Indonesian military (TNI) and Indonesian police (Polri) against the nation of West Papua.
Ninth, free education, the expansion of schools and universities, free health-care and affordable mass public transport.
According to Surya, there are six civil society groups involved in the FRI-West Papua. They are the People’s Liberation Party (PPR), the Indonesian People’s Center of Struggle (PPRI), the Student Struggle Center for National Liberation (Pembebasan), the Indonesian Cultural Society Union (SeBUMI), the Socialist Study Circle (LSS) and the Solidarity Net Association. The majority of members are youth activists.
The group also plans to hold a rally on December 1 in Jakarta and several other cities in Java.
At the same time as the press conference was taking place, a protest action was held in front of the Jakarta LBH by scores of activists from the Indonesian Saviours Front (FPI) who made threats against and opposed the declaration.
[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the report was Deklarasi Dukung Papua Tentukan Nasib Sendiri Berisi 9 Poin. The full text of the declaration can be read at: http://www.asia-pacific-solidarity.net/southeastasia/westpapua/statements/2016/fri_supporttherighttoselfdete_291116.htm.]