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Free West Papua: Remember the Biak massacre

by admin

‘West Papua people, deserve the freedom’ sang the famous Lucky Dube band, in a song they sang in solidarity with the oppressed people of West Papua. In the song, Benny Wenda, the Independence leader of West Papua is featured, and he clearly sent out the message across the world on behalf of his people. He pleads with those sitting in the position of power, to take a moment, and listen to the cries of the West Papuans.

He pleads with the African brothers and sisters, to offer international solidarity, raising awareness and speaking out against the flagrant violations of human rights in West Papua by the Indonesian military government.

Human rights activists, student activists and journalists are constantly subjected to intimidation and humiliation. Some have been arrested and jailed in a desperate attempt by the Indonesian military government to quell or silence any pockets of resistance or dissenting voices.

It is unfortunate that the United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Gutiérrez, missed a glorious opportunity last year, August, in New York, to rectify a gross mistake that was made in 1969, in which the United Nations permitted the West Papuan occupation by the Indonesian military government, resulting in West Papua becoming an Indonesian province. West Papuan leaders, under the threat and intimidation of heavily armed Indonesian military were forced to vote West Papua into integration with Indonesia.

Surely this was not a true reflection of West Papuan aspirations. Last year, 1.8 million signatures were collected in the global petition submitted to the United Nations, in August, in New York, and these voices speak the collective aspirations of the Papuans’ dire need of freedom and independence. West Papuans are the indigenous people of West Papua, they deserve the freedom and independence, as the Lucky Dube band sang.

Colonialists are possessed with an obsession to conquer and in doing so, they wage a war to eliminate the indigenous people, or they undermine the indigenous people and their cultures, claiming that theirs is superior or advanced. This is the case in West Papua, where the entire nation is under duress. The whole nation will disappear in a systematic genocide which started in 1961.

Lest we forget, it was Indonesia again that committed mass murders in East Timor. The world cannot afford to continue turning a blind eye on these heinous atrocities being committed by the Indonesian military government. As we commemorate the Biak massacre 20th Anniversary on the 6th of July, we remember the Papuan peaceful demonstrators who were raped and killed on this dark day in the West Papuan history. The perpetrators of these atrocities were never persecuted. They got away with it, they are walking freely.

We, the West Papua Solidarity Campaign-Cape town demand that a commission of inquiry or investigation should be done and bring to book all the perpetrators of the Biak massacre. We would also like to call upon all peace-loving people, political parties, movements, organisations, unions, activists and students, to join us, seek justice for Biak victims, and speak out against the oppression and exploitation of the West Papuans by the Indonesian military government.

Last but not least, we salute those in the teeth of things, whose lives are endangered, but continue to fight the struggle. Keep the fire burning. West Papua will be free. Aluta Continua.

Yours in the struggle
West Papua Solidarity Campaign-Cape Town.

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