On behalf of the West Papuan people, I can state that the West Papuan People’s Petition, carrying the voices of 1.8 million West Papuans, has been officially handed to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, in Geneva. The petition was handed over in a state-sponsored meeting officially facilitated by the Vanuatu government on January 25, 2019.

The people of West Papua have been crying out for support for over 50 years. The time for the UN to hear this call is more urgent than ever as the world witnesses another humanitarian crisis happening in the highlands of West Papua. Today, thousands of civilians in the region of Nduga are fleeing from the Indonesian military, escaping airstrikes and chemical weapons. Whilst children die from starvation, the Indonesian military block all aid or investigation.

In 2017, nearly two million of you risked arrest, torture and assassination to raise your voices through this historical petition. In this petition, you demand self-determination, an Internationally-Supervised Vote, a referendum on independence, denied to us for over 50 years.

In 1969, Indonesia organised a fake referendum, the so-called Act of Free Choice, when just 1,022 Papuans were intimidated into voting for the Indonesian occupation. The West Papuan People’s Petition is a real referendum, a real vote, representing the true voice of the people of West Papua. Indonesia’s fake referendum included less than 0.2% of the population in 1969 – the West Papuan People’s Petition of 2017 has 70% of the population. Indonesia’s entire claim to West Papua rests on what happened in 1969. That claim is destroyed now.

Since Indonesia invaded our country, over 500,000 men, women and children have been killed. We remain dedicated to telling the truth of what happened in 1962, and 1969, despite the risks that we face. For you in West Papua, I know the risks are so great.

Never before in the history of global struggles, from the great anti-colonial movements of Asia, Africa and the Pacific to the mass movements of Latin America and Europe, has such a petition, signed manually by so many hands, been physically presented to such a high level of the UN. We are making history.

The West Papuan people instructed the United Liberation Movement for West Papua to hand the petition to the UN Decolonisation Committee, the UN Human Rights Council, and the UN General Assembly. We independently handed the petition in to the UN Decolonisation Committee in 2017. We have had the great honour of presenting this petition to every diplomat, politician, lawyer and civil servant we meet every day in our work across the world.

Today, with official state-level support from the Vanuatu government, we, the people of West Papua, have presented it to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. We are working day and night to approach the UN General Assembly in New York.

To our many friends working in solidarity with the West Papuan struggle all over the world, we thank you for standing with us. You assistance is vital in our long road to freedom.

And to the people of West Papua, thank you. Today is a proud moment to represent your voices – thank you for never giving up and for courageously coming to the streets and flying the Morning Star flag, despite the brutality you face.

Thank you for your patience, your strength and your spirit. Thank you to so many of you for having the courage to sign the historic People’s Petition – your voice is now in the hands of the United Nations. We are making progress, together, in unity.

It is my life mission and purpose to do all I can to ensure West Papuans are given an Internationally-Supervised Vote, a referendum. This is what the ULMWP, and all of you, work towards each day. Today is a great moment for us all.

Your humble friend,

Benny Wenda
Chairman of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua
January 25, 2019

Further information:

The West Papuan People’s Petition calls upon the United Nations General Assembly, Decolonisation Committee and Human Rights Council to: ‘urgently address the human rights situation in West Papua and to review the UN’s involvement in the administration of West Papua that led to its unlawful annexation by Indonesia and the human rights abuse that continues today [and] to appoint a Special Representative to investigate the human rights situation in West Papua; put West Papua back on the Decolonisation Committee agenda and ensure our right to self‐determination denied to us in 1969 is respected by holding an Internationally Supervised Vote (in accordance with UN General Assembly Resolutions 1514 and 1541 (XV)).’

The United Liberation Movement for West Papua is further calling for:

Indonesia to grant the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights access to West Papua, and to complete a thorough Fact-Finding mission in West Papua in accordance with the UN General Assembly resolution 46/59: “Declaration on Fact-finding by the United Nations in the Field of the Maintenance of International Peace and Security”;
The Pacific Islands Forum to create an urgent Fact-Finding Mission to West Papua to examine reports of chemical weapon use and killing of civilians, especially in Nduga;
The Melanesian Spearhead Group to send an urgent Fact-Finding Mission to West Papua to examine reports of chemical weapon use and killing of civilians, especially in Nduga;
For Indonesia to grant immediate access for humanitarian aid organisations to relieve the suffering of West Papuans in Nduga.