Tony Firman – Calls for West Papuan self-determination were prominent during a demonstration in front of the offices of PT Freeport Indonesia in the Kuningan area of South Jakarta on Thursday March 29.
The action was held by around 70 or so protesters from the Papuan Student Alliance (AMP) and the Indonesian People’s Front for West Papua (FRI-WP) who held the demonstration to demand the closure of the Freeport copper and gold mine in Papua.
FRI-WP spokesperson Surya Anta said that the international community must take a position on the forced incorporation of West Papua into the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia (NKRI).
“Since May 1, 1963 until now, West Papua’s was removed from Holland’s decolonisation list without the West Papuan people knowledge”, said Surya.
Surya also accused Freeport of being an entry point for the colonisation of West Papua on the grounds that the first work contract between Freeport and Indonesia was signed in 1967.
Meanwhile the Act of Free Choice (Pepera) which resulted in the incorporation of West Papua into the NKRI was held in 1969. Surya said that the Pepera was manipulated and undemocratic.
Dorlince Iyowau, a resident of Timika who took part in the action, added that Freeport’s presence in Papua has not brought prosperity or peace to the West Papuan people.
“Violence against the people and damage to the environment by waste tailings discarded into the Ajkwa River is a concrete form of Freeport’s colonial presence”, said Dorlince.
In a press release received by Tirto, the FRI-WP and the AMP made nine demands, three of which were the closure of PT Freeport, the withdrawal of the TNI (Indonesian military) and Polri (National Police) from Papua and self-determination for the people of Papua.
The release also stated that based on a report by the Papuan Institute for Human Rights Studies and Advocacy (Elsham) in 2002, numerous cases of violence have been committed by security forces in Papua.
The report notes that thousands of people have died, scores have disappeared and hundreds more have been arrested and tortured. In addition to this, it also notes places of worship that have been burnt down, villages and other locations that have been destroyed, many of which have yet to be properly documented.
The demonstrators began leaving the Freeport offices at around 3.15 pm. Similar actions are planned to take place simultaneously on April 7 in several different cities including Yogyakarta and Semarang (Central Java), Bandung (West Java), Surabaya and Malang (East Java), Makassar (South Sulawesi), Palu (Central Sulawesi), Ternate (North Maluku) and Papua itself.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was Demo di Kantor Freeport Juga Serukan Penentuan Nasib West Papua.]