Papuans rally to gain international support

Papuans rally to gain international support

The Jakarta Post, 28 January 2010


Freedom is ours: A protester holds a poster that reads “Indonesia, be honest in recognizing the freedom of our West Papuan nation” during a rally demanding a referendum in Timika, Papua, on Wednesday. JP/Markus Makur





Around 1,500 Papuans in Mimika staged a rally Wednesday to support the registration of the International Parliamentarians for West Papua and the International Lawyers for West Papua at the European Union in Brussels the same day.

Rally coordinator Mario Pigei of the West Papua National Committee said his organization had been entrusted by the international committee to serve as a domestic coordinator for the movement.

The rally, which started at the Kemah Injili church and ended at the regency legislative council, aimed to gain support for its agenda from West Papuans.

“The international committee calls on the whole components of West Papua from Sorong to Samarai to be serious and to take part in the movement by showing support to the agenda,” said Mario, reading out a written statement during the rally.
“The agenda is very valuable for the identity of Papuans.”

In their speeches, rally participants demanded a referendum to decide the political status of Papua, arguing that the 1969 poll, known as Pepera, was not in line with the international law. They urged the United Nations to review the poll.

”Papuans are always accused of separatism. Many of us have been killed in the name of separatism,” Mario said.

He urged the European countries that provided funds for the implementation of special autonomy in Papua to stop disbursing the money, claiming 60 percent of the fund had been spent on military operations.

“Through the national committee for West Papua, Papuans urge the United Nations Security Council to unveil human rights violations in Papua committed during the military operations.”

He added that Papuans demanded a dialogue with the international community because they considered Indonesia to have failed to address basic problems in Papua.

“Human rights violations continue being committed in Papua with the killings of Papuan figures including Kelly Kwalik,” Mario said, referring to the leader of Free Papua Movement (OPM).

“The Indonesian government has to take responsibility for his death.”

He called on the Papuan police and military to withdraw their troops from the region and urged the international peace force to reveal those responsible for the latest shooting incident at mining firm PT Freeport Indonesia on Sunday, insisting the incident had not been committed by OPM.