Pacific Scoop

Pacific will not be free until West Papua is ‘free from atrocities’, say activists

West Papuan protest

West Papuan independence supporters protest outside the Pacific Islands Forum opening in Auckland yesterday. Photo: Henry Yamo / PMC

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By By Henry Yamo

“Free West Papua” – the Pacific is not free until West Papua is free. This 42-year-old slogan of the indigenous people of West Papua has been reverberating for almost a week in Auckland as the Pacific Islands countries gathered to convene for the Pacific Islands Forum in New Zealand.

West Papuan human rights advocate Dr John Ondawame from the West Papua People’s Representative Office in Vanuatu, told Pacific Scoop: “Our call to the leaders of all Pacific countries is to support the West Papuan peoples’ call for peace talks between the government of Indonesia and the people of West Papua.”

He said Pacific leaders must remember that the Pacific will never be free unless West Papua is free from the current oppression and atrocities that have lasted for more than  four decades caused by the Indonesian government.
PIF 40 years logoDr Ondawame said their concerns were voiced particularly to the Melanesian block of countries – which West Papua is traditionally part of –  to call the Indonesian government to take decisive decision on the proposed peace talks and to push for a Forum fact finding mission report on the root causes of human rights abuse in West Papua.

“We are calling as Melanesian brothers, as Pacific brothers, for support. So we are very keen to meet with Vanuatu Prime Minister Sato Kilman who has indicated support for our call,” he said.

“We also want to lobby with the leaders from other Melanesian and Pacific countries to support Vanuatu when it raises the West Papua issue with other leaders.”

He said the freedom of West Papua was a Pacific issue that had received “embarrassingly little” attention from Pacific countries.

West Papuan cage protest

West Papuan protester Amatus Douw in an Indonesian "prison cage" in Auckland yesterday. Photo: Del Abcede / PMC

Dr Ondawame added that the United States, the United Kingdom and African states had made clear their position on the issue of West Papua, calling for constructive and peaceful dialogue.

“At least Melanesian countries must act and we are pleased that Vanuatu is the only country that has come forward to firmly support the aspirations and independence of West Papua while our very close neighbour PNG has been silent and has been working closely with Indonesia,” he said.

Dr Ondawame said the United Nations could not do much with human rights issues in West Papua unless Pacific Island countries stood together and raised the issue of West Papua, calling for the UN to provide a  legal advisory opinion on the political status of the territory.

The secretary-general of the West Papua National Coalition for Liberation (WPCNL), Rex Rumakiek, said: “West Papua is part of the Pacific since the establishment of the South Pacific Commission [now the Secretariat of the Pacific Community] and also as founding member of the Pacific Conference of Churches set up in 1956.

“And so it is about time our Pacific brothers should adhere to our concerns when the opportunity arose. We are here to seek that support.”

Rumakiek said the people of West Papua would continue to take up the call until “we can find a peaceful solution to the problems” and ended the “shameful atrocities” being encountered by the people of West Papua.

The West Papuan delegation, which also included Paula Makabory of the Australian-based Institute of Papuan Advocacy and Human Rights (IPAHR), were hosted on the AUT University marae for a two-day hui by the Indonesia Human Rights Committee, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), Pax Christi and Peace Movement Aotearoa in association with the Pacific Media Centre.

Henry Yamo is a Masters in Communication Studies student from Papua New Guinea on the Asia-Pacific Journalism course at AUT University.

West Papuans still mourning with their Morning Star 42 years later

West Papuan protest

West Papuan protesters picket the Pacific Islands Forum summit hotel venue. In the centre is Paula Makabory. Photo: Henry Yamo / PMC


  1. Kobe Oser, 17. September 2011, 22:45

    Dear all,

    Please consider the break-away of West Papua/ Melanesia from Indonesia through Self determination as simple mathematics by executing the following formula:

    1. The original 1945 Proklamasi Sukarno-Hatta was from “A till A” (Atjeh till Ambon), did NOT include West Papua. Because on that same day in 1945, according to the 1944 Atlantic Charter, West Papua tribal leaders led by Marcus Wonggor Kaisiëpo, issued a statement in Kota Nica to RADEN Colonel AbdulKadir Widojojoatmodjo of the NICA (Netherlands-Indies Civil Administration) which was governing West Papua. The message was simple: “West Papua Melanesia would determine its own future and therefore will never be a part of the new Indonesian republic”.

    As from that moment any historical claim of Indonesia on West Papua is not funded as this 1945 statement widely expressed the Will of the West Papua people.

    On this basis the 1947 Canberra Agreement between Pacific States and western states (U.S., Netherlands, France, Ireland Australia, N-Zealand) was signed, recognizing West Papua as a Nation and recognizing it’s Melanesian territorial borders and establishing the South Pacific Commission. As from that moment West Papua leaders attended the plenary sessions of the SPC.

    So Indonesia is living in denyal by considering West Papua as an internal question and within it’s own territorial integrity, as from 1963 Indonesia is ILLEGALLY OCCUPYING the since 1945 undisputed territorial Melanesian borders of West Papua Melanesia.

    Underlining this illegal basis, Indonesia prooved its democratic INCAPACITY by renaming West Papua several times, divide and conquer- politics, and keeping the world opinion happy by demonstrating democracy by issueing autonomy legislation in 2000, which still has to be implemented. And on top of this, issueing new legislation in 2006, dividing provinces, undermining its own 2001 autonomy law.

    Indonesia’s failing attempts for democracy is illustrated with the banning of showing the West Papua Morningstar flag in public, which’s freely expression was adopted in 2001 by the parlement under president Wahid.

    2. The revenues of West Papua’s natural resources and wealth (gold, copper nickel, oil& gas, wood) are feeding the economy of the failed democratic state Indonesia. West Papua is Indonesia’s guarantee for economic survival and to avoid bankruptcy of the failed democratic Indonesian state.

    See link:

    3. According to the Pax Americana doctrine, the Kennedy Administration handed over West Papua in 1962 to Indonesia. Whenever USA’s interest & profits (Laskar Jihad-muslim thread to Christianic Papuans,natural resources revenues) is endangered, the USA will strike Indonesia for its benefit (see cases of Kuwait, Afghanistan, Iraq).

    So in despite of the brutal and corrupt Indonesian Generals regime and its atrocities, the US will take back West Papua by re-implementing the 1962 New York Agreement to its merites, by using the United Nations Special Committee on Decolonization (C-24), inorder to maintain the Pax Americana Worldpeace.

    See link:
    See link:
    See link:
    See link:

    We are confident, that the present generation of representatives active at the United Nations Committee C-24, will follow up on this and set straight the record.

    It is a Long Way to Go Never Give Up / Persevero !
    Insjah Allah / Na Kores Ra Refo
    Setia Djudjur Mesra / Trouw, Eerlijk, Innig Verbonden

    Kind regards,

    Kobe Oser/ Unity

    Write to:
    Kobe Oser office
    The Netherlands

  2. Media pressure needed on West Papua: PFF : 49742 (Pingback), 9. November 2011, 5:21