Abepura State Prison, 21 July 2013
The political manoeuvres of the Republic of Indonesia in facing up to the Struggle of Papua for freedom, have intensified continuously since the III National Papuan Congress (NPC III) in Jayapura on 17-19 October 2011. One of the results of the NPC III was the Declaration of the Nation of Papua in the State of West Papua, which was read at the Congress by President Forkorus Yaboisembut, S.Pd. This Declaration was the highest legal foundation and on that was born the State of the Federal Republic of West Papua. This step was critical in the Struggle and something that had been delayed since the time of the II National Papuan Congress in the year 2000.
Prior to the major conference of the MRP together with indigenous community members on 9-10 June 2010, followed by the Papuan Peace Conference ( 5-7 July 2011) and then the NPC III, Indonesia had actually not regarded it as important to work together with nations in the Pacific region. However clearly that has all changed since the Declaration of Restoration of Sovereignty of West Papua at the NPC III in 2011 and particularly with the recent growing support from the wider Pacific community .Suddenly Indonesia is finding itself forced to pay attention to the growing international support for Papua in a way never seen before . A number of approaches have been undertaken by RI to respond to this increasingly ‘hot’ political climate and to at the same time and to the same end, develop partnerships with the Pacific nations during this immediate period.
The Australian Foreign Minister statements are but a repeat of statements by Indonesian Officials, prooving that he has been totally influenced by RI. In Papua we are constantly hearing Indonesian Officials saying that Papuans aren’t capable of running their own affairs. It’s the usual line for Indonesia. It’s interesting that very similar statements were made by RI of East Timor (now Timor Leste) before they had the opportunity to hold a referendum. But of course Indonesia’s statements have not been upheld by history as since Timor Leste celebrated independence in 1999 the world has seen that Timor Leste is quite capable of developing their own nation. Even the previous USA Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on her visit to Timor Leste in 2012 stated that Timor Leste provided a model for a new democratic state that was developing well. Indeed Timor Leste was a lesson for the State of Indonesia and they really don’t want to see West Papua also separate from RI. So expect them to use all methods possible to influence the other nations of the world and the UN in order to defend their hold on West Papua.
The intensity of Indonesia’s political manoeuvres was heightened even further following WNPCL’s submission of an application for membership to the MSG Secretariat on 29 April 2013.
Whilst support is increasing West Papua’s application for MSG membership, RI is at the same time intensifying its political games to work against that. The visit of the Indonesian Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Djoko Suyanto to Fiji on 3 June 2013 to meet with the Fijian Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama, was clearly intended to obstruct West Papua’s application for MSG membership.It was then that Djoko Suyanto invited members of the MSG Forum to visit Jakarta and West Papua. Then on 7-8 June 2013 RI sent a delegation to Australia including Nick Meset, Frans Albert Yoku, General Mulyana and General Leonard to lobby a number of parties to block any strengthening of support for the Struggle for the nation of Papua. RI’s visit to Fiji was successful to the extent that the decision regarding West Papua’s application for MSG membership was postponed in the MSG Forum on 16 June 2013 until after a visit to Jakarta and Papua by MSG member Foreign Ministers within this 6 months.
RI has been making a lot of effort these last months working on improving its relations with the PNG Government. In a state visit on 17 June 2013 to the Indonesian Palace in Bogor the PNG Prime Minister together with President SBY signed off on a bilateral working agreement. One of those matters agreed to was an agreement on extradition. This has caused significant protest from the Opposition Party in PNG lead by Belden Naamah, which absolutely rejects an extradition agreement being put into effect that will act against West Papuans fleeing for their lives to PNG due to consequences of their involvement in the Papuan Independence Struggle. The Manus Island Governor Powes Parkop has clarified that the extradition agreement will not be applied against those fleeing across the border to PNG due to their political activities. If the extradition agreement is to be implemented in that way such that West Papuan independence activists are given an exemption, then certainly this points to their being real support from the PNG Government towards the Independence Struggle of West Papua.
Are we going to see Papua sacrificed yet again as a result of those countries of the world that prioritize working in partnership with RI? Is not the saving of the ethnic West Papuan race that is now being annihilated by the colonial domination and resultant consequences of RI more important in principle and far more urgent? Surely the upholding of democracy, truth, honesty, justice, human rights and peace is more glorious than neglect of these values just for the sake of achieving ones political and economic interests.
Though many of us are presently incarcerated by RI as a consequence of the West Papuan Struggle for Independence, we will continue from behind iron bars to follow closely the above political dynamics and will continue our struggle for liberation without ceasing.