KNPB free speech forum in Jayapura rejects New York Agreement and racism

Suara Papua – August 15, 2023
KNPB free speech form at Zakeus field in Abepura, Jayapura – August 15, 2023 (WhatsApp)

Jayapura – After a peaceful action in Sentani was forcibly broken up by police on the morning of August 15, demonstrators from the Jayapura West Papua National Committee (KNPB) decided to hold a free speech forum at the Zakeus field in Pandang Bulan, Abepura, Jayapura, Papua,

The free speech forum heard political speeches from KNPB activists and representatives of several movement organisations, and ended with the reading out of a statement.

KNPB Papua General Chairperson Agus Kossay said that today marks the commemoration of racism month as well as the 1962 New York Agreement, which was legally flawed and adversely affected the nation of Papua.

The New York Agreement between Indonesian and the Netherlands, which became the basis for the annexation of Papua through the 1969 UN sponsored referendum on West Papua's integration with Indonesia known as Pepera, was illegal and ridden with manipulation, said Kossay, because there was no representation by the Papuan people as the legal and political subjects of the agreement.

The month of racism refers to an incident on August 16, 2019 in which racist slurs were directed at Papuan students in the East Java city of Surabaya that triggered angry protests and rioting in several Papuan cities.

"At the time they saw us, the Papuan people, as still being stupid, backward, and in the end we were not involved in the New York Agreement. The consequence of this, to this day, is that the Papuan nation's future has been sacrificed. Indonesia incorporated the land of Papua based on this agreement and continuously to this day there has been numerous human rights violations bordering on genocide", he said.

And at this action today, Kossay stressed, "The Papuan nation has repeatedly asked Indonesia to find a peaceful solution. The KNPB always offers a peaceful solution, a referendum for Papua".

"Indonesia, if it claims to be a democratic country, yes, it must prove this by opening up the greatest possible space for a referendum to take place in the land of Papua. That is certainly what the KNPB is ready to demonstrate", he said in a loud voice.

Kossay also emphasised that Indonesia is obliged to hold international law in the highest regard as a member of the United Nations which has ratified international conventions. "So, Indonesia cannot close democratic space through barbaric and disrespectful means such as this", he highlighted.

The KNPB, according to Kossay, does not fight with arms, but only with megaphones, flags, peaceful resistance and pamphlets.

"Only with this, the means for the KNPB to be a media for the Papua nation. And we proved this today even though our peaceful action was blocked by the security forces with repression and acts of violence and disbanded forcibly", he said.

In the statement read out at the end of the forum, the KNPB sent an urgent message to the United States, the Netherlands and the UN to immediately review the contents of the New York Agreement.

"Immediately review the agreement that destroyed the Papuan nation in the interests of a group greedy for Papua's gold wealth", he said.

The Papuan people's statement

At this moment, the central KNPB along with 32 regional branches in the land of Papua wish to convey a statement by the Papuan people to the governments of Indonesia, the Netherlands, the US and the UN.

1. The Dutch royal government was directly responsible for the political rights of the Papuan nation which was declared on December 1, 1961 during the period of the Dutch New Guinea administration.

2. The Indonesian government was directly responsible for the Trikora operation on December 19, 1961 which had injured the political rights of the Papuan nation that had been recognised by the Dutch as the ruler of the Dutch New Guinea-West Papua region under the mandate of the UN Charter Article 73 on Providing Independence to Colonised Territories, and Chapter XII Article 75-80 on the International Trusteeship System that was already being pursued by the Dutch government.

3. That the Indonesian government immediately released all the Papua independence political prisoners throughout the territory of West Papua because the arrests and imprisonment of Papua independence activists today is because of the past mistakes in the process of self-determination for the Papuan nation which did not proceed in accordance with the stipulations and principles of international law.

4. That the Indonesian government, the Netherlands and the UN need to review the New York Agreement that was signed on August 15, 1962, if the resolution is a conflict resolution to resolve the status of West Papua, because to this day the Papuan people have never accepted the results of the 1969 Pepera and still claim December 1, 1961 to be Papua's Independence Day.

5. That the Indonesian government occupied the West Papua region on the basis of the New York Agreement, so the Indonesian government has an obligation to recognise the Nieuw Guinea Raad (the New Guinea Council) as the subject of the region in accordance with the provisions of the New York Agreement.

6. That the 1969 Pepera was not in accordance the stipulations of the New York Agreement, so the Papuan people explicitly reject and claim that Indonesia's sovereignty over Papua based on UN Resolution 2504 is legally flawed.

7. With regard to the six points above, the KNPB urges the Indonesia government, the Dutch government and the UN to review the 1969 Pepera process which was unjust and undemocratic.

8. The month of August is a historically bitter one for the Papuan nation, so that on this day, August 15, 2023, we declare the month of August as the month of racism for the Papuan nation.

KNPB field coordinator Kris Yelemaken meanwhile said that similar peaceful actions have been held at several points in the city and regency of Jayapura, even though in the end they were forcibly broken up by police.

It has also been reported that in regions all across the land of Papua actions have been held to mark the New York Agreement and against racism.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Protes New York Agreement dan Rasisme, Begini Pernyataan KNPB".]