Papua Press Agency

Free West Papua Documents and Information Updates

Gen. Mathias Wenda: Thank you to All Melanesian Leaders

General WPRA Mathias Wenda, from Remote Jungles of New Guinea, hereby would like to thank all leaders of Melanesia States: The Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, the Prime Minister of Solomon Islands, the Prime Minister of Vanuatu, the Prime Minister of Fiji and the Leader of Kanak peoples for their full support for West Papua, and for accepting West Papua as an observer at the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) in Honiara, Solomon Islands.

This wise decision, despite pressures and intimidation by the those interested in colonizing and exploiting the wealthy natural resources of West Papua, disregarding the existence and the fate of the peoples of West Papua, and undermining the importance of our natural environment as our home and the forests as our houses.

We Melanesian leaders are heading towards maturity and full of wisdom as our ancestors were, making decisions based on what is right and what is not good; not based on majority and minority, what is correct and incorrect, what is economically beneficial and what is supporting our personal ambitions and wealth.

This is a historic decision, that all Melanesians from Timor Leste to Fiji will always remember for ever and ever. All Melanesian generations to come will always commemorate this momentum as the coming back of a lost identity and a so long forgotten entity into a united and one Melanesia-hood.

The future generations will reflect upon the wisdom of today’s leaders of Melanesia, and all history teachers and anthropologists will note that this momentum is the momentum for a united Melanesia, one Melanesia that has the capacity to decide her future and her destiny; that the era of colonialism end neo colonialism is over. This is the golden era of the Melanesian people, to plan and gain our better future.

What I have been fighting for so far is not just for a Free and Independent West Papua, but so that this freedom and independence of West Papua will bring the freedom and independence across all Melanesian peoples and nation-states.

I wish all Melanesian leaders “God Bless you!” I wish ULMWP “God Bless You!” I wish all of us, “God Bless Melanesia!”

Gen. Mathias Wenda: Thank you to All Melanesian Leaders was originally published on United Liberation Movement

Filed under: Letters, , , ,

West Papua Revolutionary Army (WPRA) Hereby Congratulates ULMWP for Its Successful Lobby

West Papua Revolutionary Army (WPRA) hereby Congratulates ULMWP for Its successful Lobby that resulted in West Papua or ULMWP being given an Observer Status at the Melanesia Spearhead Group (MSG) in Honiara, Solomon Islands.

The WPRA would like to thank all you all Melanesian Leaders who are full of wisdom and courage, despite so much pressures and intimidation coming from big powers in the world, military states and many interests-states who would like to keep West Papua as their safe kitchen under Indonesian colonial power.

In particular, Gen. WPRA Mathias Wenda with his Secretary-General Lt. Gen. WPRA Amunggut Tabi would like to thank the Government of Papuan New Guinea, the Government of Fiji, the Government of Vanuatu, the Government of Solomon Islands and the Leaders of the Kanak peoples for their full support.

All Papuans in West Papua today has been accepted as Melanesian family in official declaration by Independent Nation-States in the South Pacific.

General Wenda in particular thanked Mr. Benny Wenda and Mr. Octo Motte for their leadership and courage, for their hard work that resulted in West Papua being accepted as an observer at the MSG.

West Papua Revolutionary Army (WPRA) Hereby Congratulates ULMWP for Its Successful Lobby was originally published on United Liberation Movement

Filed under: Letters, , , , ,

ULMWP’s Ambassador did not meet Prime Minister

Posted: Tuesday, June 23, 2015 12:00 am

By Jonas Cullwick | dailypost.vu

The United Liberation Movement of West Papua (ULMWP)’s Ambassador to the MSG Secretariat, Amatus Douw, left Port Vila Sunday morning bound for Honiara Solomon Islands after being unsuccessful in his quest to meet with Vanuatu’s Prime Minister, Sato Kilman.

Douw arrived in Port Vila last Thursday with an intention to meet the Prime Minister to present him with a petition signed by 150,000 people in West Papua seeking the Vanuatu leader’s support for ULMWP’s application on behalf of the West Papuan people to become a full member of the Melanesian Spearhead Group.

On Friday morning the ULMWP representative met with the Deputy Prime Minister, Moana Carcasses, and showed him the petition. The former Prime Minister is a staunch supporter of the West Papua independence cause, and Douw said he was pleased to hear the DPM emphasize his continuing support for West Papua during their meeting.

The ULMWP told the Daily Post Saturday evening he had been unsuccessful in his wish to meet the Prime Minister. But he said he had presented a copy of the petition with the signatures of 150,000 of West Papua people to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Serge Vohor, who would pass it on to the Prime Minister.

In December 2014, a meeting of the leaders of the three main political groups of indigenous Papuans was held in Port Vila organized by the Vanuatu West Papua Committee with the backing of the Vanuatu Government and the Pacific Council of Churches. The meeting formed the ULMWP which then lodged an application for full membership of the MSG on behalf of West Papua. This application followed the previous Leaders’ Summit that rejected an application for full membership for reasons that the application came from a minority of the groups in West Papua.

A vote on the application from ULMWP is expected to be taken at the MSG Leaders’ Summit in the Solomon Islands capital, Honiara, this week, where the heads of the governments of the member countries – Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, and the President of FLNKS of New Caledonia will be meeting in their biennial gathering.

Jonas Cullwick, a former General Manager of VBTC is now a Senior Journalist with the Daily Post. Contact: jonas@dailypost.vu. Cell # 678 5460922

ULMWP’s Ambassador did not meet Prime Minister was originally published on West Papua

Filed under: Articles, , ,

Melanesian solidarity can resist Indonesian pressure

Press Release May 13, , Melanesian solidarity can resist Indonesian pressure.
Melanesian solidarity can resist Indonesian pressure

Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s visit to Papua New Guinea this week represents Jakarta’s latest heavy-handed attempt to pressure members of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) into not supporting West Papua’s application for membership.

The diplomatic importance of the meeting cannot be overstated with a critical MSG meeting upcoming on 21 May. At that meeting Foreign Ministers from member states are due to discuss West Papua’s membership request submitted by the ULMWP on 5 February 2015. However, the 20th MSG Leaders’ Meeting in July is the only body charged with being able to make a final decision on any membership application.

The ULMWP anticipates that Indonesian President Widodo is travelling to Port Moresby to try and drive a wedge between Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and fellow members of the MSG. Indonesia, which is an observer member of the MSG, is opposed to West Papuan membership of the sub-regional organisation. In February, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi visited Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Fiji in another attempt to suppress support for West Papua.

In advance of President Widodo’s visit to Papua New Guinea, ULMWP spokesman Benny Wenda stated:

“From one Melanesian to another, I thank Prime Minister O’Neill for his recent expression of support for the West Papuan people and to speak out on our behalf. Papua New Guinea has always been our big brother in Melanesia and across the Pacific.”

President Widodo’s trip comes hot on the heels of his visit to West Papua last week, which involved deployment of more than 6,000 security personnel.

The ULMWP urges Prime Minister O’Neill to stress to President Widodo that the Human Rights situation in West Papua remains grave. Hundreds were arrested during peaceful demonstrations on 1 May in West Papua illustrating that the systematic clampdown on freedom of expression remains.

The ULMWP particularly stresses the need for justice for the murder of four unarmed schoolboys and two men in Nabire, December 2014, who were gunned down reportedly by soldiers from 753 Battalion Arga Vira Tama (AVT) Nabire. Despite compelling evidence, an investigation by the Indonesian Commission on Human Rights has failed to identify the perpetrators.

Commenting on the atrocity, Mr. Wenda said:

“President Widodo of Indonesia has still not fulfilled his promise made during his December visit to West Papua to bring to justice the Nabire killers. His lack of action undermines his latest visit to West Papua. While the killers go free and he surrounds himself with a heavy military presence during his visit, we Papuans are still mourning the Nabire victims.”

The ULMWP will remind all MSG member countries that West Papua has fulfilled its obligations to provide a united voice for West Papua by forming the umbrella coordinating body of the ULMWP in December 2014. The ULMWP supports and reaffirms the MSG Leaders Communique of 2013 which,

“endorsed that the MSG fully supports the inalienable rights of the people of West Papua towards self-determination as provided for under the preamble of the MSG constitution.”

Melanesian solidarity can resist Indonesian pressure was originally published on West Papua

Filed under: Articles

To Whom it may concern, 1 May 2015

This morning I have sent this email to several major news outlets across the world to raise awareness of the plight faced by West Papuans.
Please feel free to copy and send also as together we have a louder voice.

To Whom it may concern.
(I’m very concerned)

I find that recently I am seeing more and more on social media relating to atrocities being carried out in West Papua by the Indonesian Military and Police against people supporting their right to a peaceful campaign of Freedom for West Papua. However I am seeing nothing on major news outlets condemning the actions of the Indonesian oppressors and raising awareness of these atrocities.

I see daily on the BBC news of similar but ‘one off’ police killings (such as today’s Angola story) and nothing on the continued and devastating attack on the lives and liberties of the West Papuans who are routinely killed or sentenced to 20 years in prison for Treason for standing up for their right to peaceful demonstrations, like we enjoy.

I would be very interested in hearing what you think is occurring in West Papua and why there are no articles on this subject. Only through raising awareness of this matter can we hope that things will change for the people of West Papua.

I look forward to your response.

Regards
Robert D’Hooghe

To Whom it may concern, 1 May 2015 was originally published on West Papua

Filed under: Letters, , ,

West Papua activist Benny Wenda leaves Papua New Guinea after ‘visa issue’, government says

Source: abc.net.au, By Liam Fox

Updated yesterday at 3:21pm
Benny Wenda Photo: West Papuan independence leader Benny Wenda. (AFP)

Papua New Guinea’s government says a prominent West Papuan activist has been flown out of the country because he was travelling without a visa.

Benny Wenda, spokesman for the United Liberation Movement for West Papua, was detained by immigration officials when he arrived in Port Moresby on Tuesday.

He had flown from the United Kingdom and had planned to visit PNG before heading to Vanuatu for a meeting of the Melanesian Spearhead Group.

“Now I’m deported,” Mr Wenda said before being taken to the international terminal at Port Moresby’s airport.

“That means I leave this country, but my spirit and the struggle, I will leave it with the people of PNG today.”

The office of Papua New Guinea’s prime minister Peter O’Neill said Mr Wenda had arrived in the country without a visa.

A spokesman for Mr O’Neill said the West Papuan independence leader was not being deported, but he was “not permitted to enter the country”.

“It’s not a political issue, it’s a visa issue,” he said.

The prime minister intervened in the case on Wednesday.

Mr Wenda, who had been released into the care of friends, flew out of PNG on Thursday afternoon.

Last month Mr O’Neill said he would start speaking out about human rights abuses in the Indonesian province of West Papua.

“I think, as a country, time has come for us to speak about the oppression of our people there,” he said.

Some observers have wondered whether Mr Wenda’s forced departure from PNG represents a backdown by Mr O’Neill.

West Papua activist Benny Wenda leaves Papua New Guinea after ‘visa issue’, government says was originally published on West Papua

Filed under: Articles, , , ,

PNG Prime Minister speaks up on West Papua

9 February 2015 11:01AM, http://www.lowyinterpreter.org

Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister Peter O’Neill did something remarkable last Thursday. In a wide-ranging policy speech at a leadership summit in Port Moresby, he acknowledged the oppression of the people of West Papua. It was the first time an incumbent prime minister of Papua New Guinea has spoken directly about the rights of West Papuans in a public forum:

Papua New Guinea today is a respected regional leader. After 40 years of undisturbed democracy, we are in a unique position to lead mature discussions on issues affecting our people in the region.

Our leading role in encouraging Fiji to return to a democratically elected government and voicing our concerns about the plight of our people in New Caledonia are examples of our growing influence. We have also participated in the restoration of democracy and law and order in countries like Vanuatu and Solomon Islands.

But sometimes we forgot our family, our brothers and sisters, especially those in West Papua.

I think as a country the time has come for us to speak about oppression our people. Pictures of brutality of our people appear daily on social media and yet we take no notice. We have the moral obligation to speak for those who are not allowed to talk. We must be the eyes for those who are blindfolded. Again, Papua New Guinea, as a regional leader, we must lead these discussions with our friends in a mature and engaging manner.

O’Neill was careful not to refer to independence or greater autonomy for West Papua. He also made no reference to the latest attempt by West Papuan independence groups to seek membership of the Melanesian Spearhead Group. But significantly, he referred to West Papuans as ‘family’, ‘brothers and sisters’ and ‘our people.’ This is not quite the same as questioning the sovereignty of Indonesia over West Papua but is a radical departure from previous language. It is notable that in the year that Papua New Guinea celebrates 40 years of independence from colonial rule, the Prime Minister of the most populous Melanesian state has sought to identify with Melanesian populations which are not yet independent – in New Caledonia and in West Papua.

Interestingly, O’Neill indicated he was concerned about the pictures of brutality appearing on social media. If his decision to speak out now was even in part inspired by the images of human rights abuses posted by supporters of West Papua on Facebook and Twitter, this is a breakthrough moment for the influence of activists who use social media for political advocacy in Papua New Guinea. Indeed, those who post pictures on social media of brutality that women experience in Papua New Guinea will hope the Prime Minister may be paying attention to them too.

O’Neill’s remarks will be a blow to Jakarta (see here for comments from Indonesia’s Human Rights Commissioner). Indonesia has been working hard to court Melanesian states and has attended Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) meetings as an observer as part of efforts to dissuade the MSG from admitting the West Papuan independence movement as a member. The then Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was the guest of honour at Fiji’s Pacific Islands Development Forum meeting in Fiji last year, demonstrating the importance Indonesia attaches to influencing Melanesian countries.

Although the PNG Government has long carefully managed its relationship with Indonesia and avoided public statements on West Papua, there is much support in the PNG community and among a number of MPs for the West Papuan independence movement. Papua New Guinea’s capacity to drive international action on a human rights issues is unproven, but O’Neill will now come under domestic pressure to follow through on his statement. The decision by Indonesia’s Foreign Ministry to establish a special working group to ‘handle developments and issues relating to Papua’ might offer a window for closer engagement with Papua New Guinea on human rights issues.

O’Neill’s remarks will have surprised others in the region. O’Neill has been at odds with with Fiji’s Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama over a range of issues, including Fiji’s desire to reform regional diplomatic architecture. O’Neill’s statement on West Papuan human rights may now leave Fiji as an outlier within the Melanesia Spearhead Group; Vanuatu and Solomon Islands are supporters of West Papuan independence but Bainimarama has been reluctant to endorse West Papuan demands. At a time when Fiji’s government is seeking to reclaim regional leadership at the expense of Papua New Guinea’s ambitions, this will unnerve Fiji.

The move also wrong-foots Canberra. It would be naïve to imagine Canberra can comfortably stay neutral on this issue. Australia wants a stable relationship between its two nearest neighbours and therefore has an interest in averting tensions over West Papua. The Australian Government’s position in relation to West Papuan lobbying efforts has always been that it supports the sovereignty of Indonesia over the provinces of Papua and West Papua, a position shared by the Papua New Guinea Government.

Australia has also been supportive of Papua New Guinea assuming a more significant regional leadership role, consistent with the size of its population, its economy and its potential for growth. Papua New Guinea is a country of some 7 million people and its economy, the largest of the Pacific Island countries, is forecast to grow by 15% in 2015, more than any other country in the world. Canberra can hardly complain if Peter O’Neill has determined that PNG will stand a better chance of recognition as a regional leader if he stands up for the rights of West Papuans. But in so doing, he has changed regional dynamics in the Pacific, probably made them even more difficult for Australia to attempt to manage and may even add to pressure on Australia to act.

Papua New Guinea will host the Pacific Islands Forum leaders’ summit this year. The Forum has avoided recognition of West Papua issues in its official pronouncements but discussion this year could be quite different if PNG, this year’s chair, campaigns for it.

PNG Prime Minister speaks up on West Papua was originally published on West Papua

Filed under: Articles, Issues, , , ,

O’Niell Speaks Out on West Papua

Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister Peter O’Neill did something remarkable last Thursday. In a wide-ranging policy speech at a leadership summit in Port Moresby, he acknowledged the oppression of the people of West Papua. It was the first time an incumbent prime minister of Papua New Guinea has spoken directly about the rights of West Papuans in a public forum:

Papua New Guinea today is a respected regional leader. After 40 years of undisturbed democracy, we are in a unique position to lead mature discussions on issues affecting our people in the region.

Our leading role in encouraging Fiji to return to a democratically elected government and voicing our concerns about the plight of our people in New Caledonia are examples of our growing influence. We have also participated in the restoration of democracy and law and order in countries like Vanuatu and Solomon Islands.

But sometimes we forgot our family, our brothers and sisters, especially those in West Papua.

I think as a country the time has come for us to speak about oppression our people. Pictures of brutality of our people appear daily on social media and yet we take no notice. We have the moral obligation to speak for those who are not allowed to talk. We must be the eyes for those who are blindfolded. Again, Papua New Guinea, as a regional leader, we must lead these discussions with our friends in a mature and engaging manner.

O’Neill was careful not to refer to independence or greater autonomy for West Papua. He also made no reference to the latest attempt by West Papuan independence groups to seek membership of the Melanesian Spearhead Group. But significantly, he referred to West Papuans as ‘family’, ‘brothers and sisters’ and ‘our people.’ This is not quite the same as questioning the sovereignty of Indonesia over West Papua but is a radical departure from previous language. It is notable that in the year that Papua New Guinea celebrates 40 years of independence from colonial rule, the Prime Minister of the most populous Melanesian state has sought to identify with Melanesian populations which are not yet independent – in New Caledonia and in West Papua.

Interestingly, O’Neill indicated he was concerned about the pictures of brutality appearing on social media. If his decision to speak out now was even in part inspired by the images of human rights abuses posted by supporters of West Papua on Facebook and Twitter, this is a breakthrough moment for the influence of activists who use social media for political advocacy in Papua New Guinea. Indeed, those who post pictures on social media of brutality that women experience in Papua New Guinea will hope the Prime Minister may be paying attention to them too.

O’Neill’s remarks will be a blow to Jakarta (see here for comments from Indonesia’s Human Rights Commissioner). Indonesia has been working hard to court Melanesian states and has attended Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) meetings as an observer as part of efforts to dissuade the MSG from admitting the West Papuan independence movement as a member. The then Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was the guest of honour at Fiji’s Pacific Islands Development Forum meeting in Fiji last year, demonstrating the importance Indonesia attaches to influencing Melanesian countries.

Although the PNG Government has long carefully managed its relationship with Indonesia and avoided public statements on West Papua, there is much support in the PNG community and among a number of MPs for the West Papuan independence movement. Papua New Guinea’s capacity to drive international action on a human rights issues is unproven, but O’Neill will now come under domestic pressure to follow through on his statement. The decision by Indonesia’s Foreign Ministry to establish a special working group to ‘handle developments and issues relating to Papua’ might offer a window for closer engagement with Papua New Guinea on human rights issues.

O’Neill’s remarks will have surprised others in the region. O’Neill has been at odds with with Fiji’s Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama over a range of issues, including Fiji’s desire to reform regional diplomatic architecture. O’Neill’s statement on West Papuan human rights may now leave Fiji as an outlier within the Melanesia Spearhead Group; Vanuatu and Solomon Islands are supporters of West Papuan independence but Bainimarama has been reluctant to endorse West Papuan demands. At a time when Fiji’s government is seeking to reclaim regional leadership at the expense of Papua New Guinea’s ambitions, this will unnerve Fiji.

The move also wrong-foots Canberra. It would be naïve to imagine Canberra can comfortably stay neutral on this issue. Australia wants a stable relationship between its two nearest neighbours and therefore has an interest in averting tensions over West Papua. The Australian Government’s position in relation to West Papuan lobbying efforts has always been that it supports the sovereignty of Indonesia over the provinces of Papua and West Papua, a position shared by the Papua New Guinea Government.

Australia has also been supportive of Papua New Guinea assuming a more significant regional leadership role, consistent with the size of its population, its economy and its potential for growth. Papua New Guinea is a country of some 7 million people and its economy, the largest of the Pacific Island countries, is forecast to grow by 15% in 2015, more than any other country in the world. Canberra can hardly complain if Peter O’Neill has determined that PNG will stand a better chance of recognition as a regional leader if he stands up for the rights of West Papuans. But in so doing, he has changed regional dynamics in the Pacific, probably made them even more difficult for Australia to attempt to manage and may even add to pressure on Australia to act.

Papua New Guinea will host the Pacific Islands Forum leaders’ summit this year. The Forum has avoided recognition of West Papua issues in its official pronouncements but discussion this year could be quite different if PNG, this year’s chair, campaigns for it.

This article was first published by the Lowy Interpreter 

O’Niell Speaks Out on West Papua was originally published on West Papua

Filed under: Articles, , ,

West Papuan Meetings Barricaded, Indonesia Indicates War, Vanuatu Adamant

Image: Del Abcede/PMC
West Papua Media’s Nick Chesterfield … training for “safe witness” journalism.

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Pacific Media Watch, December 4, 2014

The Chiefs’ Nakamal in Port Vila, Vanuatu – the scene of closed-door meetings.

The West Papuan reconciliation and unification conference being hosted in Port Vila for the different separatist groups from West Papua has gone into stealth mode as the delegates have barricaded themselves in the Chiefs’ Nakamal to deliberate and make recommendations for a way forward.

No member of the local media or public have been allowed entry into the Nakamal.

These restrictions are a precautionary measure to avoid Indonesian spies infiltrating the meetings.

The various groups represented in the closed-door meetings are here to find common grounds on which they can be allowed member status into the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG), a regional body that supports the interests of Melanesians.

Indonesia, West Papua’s current colonizer, has been granted “observer” status in the MSG while West Papuans have so far been denied representation. The main speculation regarding this would be due to the fact that West Papua is not a sovereign state so it cannot be represented in an organization formed by Melanesian sovereign states.

There are several separatist factions claiming to fight for West Papua’s right to self-determination. This conference aims to bring these factions together to formulate a common ground on which they can move into the MSG as full-time members.

Meanwhile, Indonesia has threatened to cut all diplomatic ties to Vanuatu for meddling in its internal affairs. Radio New Zealand reported that Jakarta’s Acting Ambassador to Vanuatu, Imron Cotan has indicated that there could be war.

“Indonesia is ready to go to war in order to maintain Papua within our territory so we are indeed serious about Papua. Nobody I believe should take it lightly. Indonesia will be more than prepared to freeze anything if our sovereignty over Papua is questioned. That is definitely a no go in Indonesia.”

Vanuatu, however, is adamant with its stand to support West Papua. It has always been a staunch supporter of the “Free West Papua” movement and has championed the cause for self-determination for years.

Fr Walter Lini, the foremost father of this nation famously declared that “Vanuatu is not free until all Melanesia is free.”

It is with this attitude that Vanuatu will not give in to Indonesia’s threats, but will remain a strong supporter of West Papua. This support has gone as far as seemingly “meddling” in Indonesia’s internal affairs so that West Papuans’ voices can be heard in the MSG.

West Papuans are predominantly Melanesian. When their Dutch colonizers left in the 1950s to 1960s, West Papua was incorporated into Indonesia through a rigged vote called the “Act of free choice” in 1969. Ever since then, the West Papuans have faced increasing human rights abuses.

These abuses have been one of the reasons why Vanuatu will always support the West Papuans’ fight for self-determination.

West Papuan Meetings Barricaded, Indonesia Indicates War, Vanuatu Adamant was originally published on West Papua

Filed under: Articles, , ,

Radio New Zealand : International : News : Pacific : Indonesian intent critical in determining West Papua genocide

Radio New Zealand : International : News : Pacific : Indonesian intent critical in determining West Papua genocide.

Indonesian intent critical in determining West Papua genocide

Updated at 6:24 pm on 9 October 2013

An Australian academic says West Papuans have been subject to a slow-motion genocide and the United Nations should step in.

Jim Elmslie, of the University of Sydney’s Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, is the co-author of a just-released report titled ‘A Slow-Motion Genocide – Indonesian Rule in West Papua’.

Dr Elmslie says the report concludes the Indonesian Government has intentionally carried out genocidal policies for the past 50 years.

Under the United Nations Genocide Convention, the classification of an act as ‘genocide’ requires proven intent.

Amelia Langford asked Jim Elmslie about the findings of the report.

JIM ELMSLIE: We believe that a slow-motion genocide is and has been occurring in West Papua. It’s a very deep-seated and difficult problem for everybody involved, including Indonesia. And it’s a problem I think needs a lot more attention because it’s festering away, getting worse, and the Papuans are suffering quite badly now, or they have been for many decades.

AMELIA LANGFORD: What do you mean by ‘slow-motion genocide’?

JE: Well, it’s a term that was first used by a man called Clemens Runawery, who’s deceased now, who was a West Papuan who thought about what was happening to his country and his people, and he compared it with disasters like had happened in Rwanda, where a large number of people were killed quickly in a sort of turmoil, a catastrophic series of events. In West Papua, the situation has gone on for decades, and over that period, cumulatively, many thousands of people have died, but not in a short, sharp burst that many people tend to associate with the word ‘genocide’. So that’s why we’ve used that term, that it’s a process that’s unfolded over decades, but it’s a genocide in the sense that the killings fall within the definition of the UN convention on genocide.

AL: And tell me about the paper’s findings and what you set out to find or explore.

JE: Well, we set out to explore the whole issue of genocide, really, that many West Papuan people – leaders right down to the grassroots people – often describe what’s happened to them since the Indonesians took over the place as a genocide. And that word has a pretty specific meaning under the international convention. And there’s various acts that fall into the definition of ‘genocide’, including the intentional killing of members of a group or conflicting conditions that make life difficult. And most of those acts have been carried out there, people would agree they’ve been carried out. But then the other aspect of fulfilling the criteria of being called a genocide is there’s some element of intentional government policy or there’s intent – the word ‘intent’ is the critical word.

Jim Elmslie says parties to the Genocide Convention have a responsibility to look into genocide claims.

Filed under: Publication, , ,

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