Asia Pacific Report
The pro-independence United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) has declared a boycott of the Indonesian elections next month and has called on Papuans to “not bow down to the system or constitution of your Indonesian occupier”.
The movement’s president Benny Wenda and prime minister Edison Waromi have announced in a joint statement rejecting the republic’s national ballot scheduled for February 14 that: “West Papuans do not need Indonesia’s elections — [our] people have already voted.”
They were referring to the first ULMWP congress held within West Papua last November in which delegates directly elected their president and prime minister.
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“You also have your own constitution, cabinet, Green State Vision, military wing, and government structure,” the statement said.
“We are reclaiming the sovereignty that was stolen from us in 1963.”
At the ULMWP congress, more than 5000 Papuans from the seven customary regions and representing all political formations gathered in the capital Jayapura to decide on their future.
“With this historic event we demonstrated to the world that we are ready for independence,” said the joint statement.
Necessary conditions met
According to the 1933 Montevideo Convention, four necessary conditions are required for statehood — territory, government, a people, and international recognition.
“As a government-in-waiting, the ULMWP is fulfilling these requirements,” the statement said.
“As we continue to mourn the death of Governor Lukas Enembe — just as we have been mourning the mass displacement and killing of Papuans over the last five years — we ask all West Papuans to honour his memory by refusing participation in the system that killed him.
“Governor Lukas was killed by Indonesia because he was a firm defender of West Papuan culture and national identity.
“He rejected the colonial ‘Special Autonomy’ law, which was imposed in 2001 in a failed attempt to suppress our national ambitions.
“But the time for bowing to the will of the colonial master is over. Did West Papuan votes for Jokowi [current President Joko Widodo] stop Indonesia from stealing our resources and killing our people?
“Indonesia’s illegal rule over our mountains, forests, and sacred places must be rejected in the strongest possible terms.”
‘Respect mourning’ call
The statement urged all people living in West Papua, including Indonesian transmigrants, to respect the mourning of the former governor and his legacy.
“West Papuans are a peaceful people – we have welcomed Indonesian migrants with open arms, and one day you will live among your Melanesian cousins in a free West Papua.
“But there must be no provocations of the West Papuan landowners while we are grieving [for] the governor.”
The statement also appealed to the Indonesian government seeking “your support for Palestinian sovereignty to be honoured within your own borders”.
“The preamble to the Indonesian constitution calls for colonialism to be ‘erased from the earth’. But in West Papua, as in East Timor, you are a coloniser and a génocidaire [genocidal].
“The only way to be truthful to your constitution is to allow West Papua to finally exercise its right to self-determination. A free West Papua will be a good and peaceful neighbour, and Indonesia will no longer be a human rights pariah.
Issue no longer isolated
Wenda and Waromi said West Papua was no longer an isolated issue.
“We sit alongside our occupier as a member of the MSG [Melanesian Spearhead Group], and nearly half the world has now demanded that Indonesia allow a visit by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
“Now is the time to consolidate our progress: support the congress resolutions and the clear threefold agenda of the ULMWP, and refuse Indonesian rule by boycotting the upcoming elections.”