December 1st will be the 61st anniversary of the first raising of West Papua’s national flag, the Morning Star. On behalf of the ULMWP and the West Papuan people I call on all solidarity groups, whether in the UK, the Netherlands, Australia or elsewhere, to show your support for our struggle by raising the Morning Star on our national day.

This December, we raise the Morning Star in memory of Filep Karma, Zode Hilapok, and all West Papuan political prisoners who passed away this year. Filep Karma, whose body was found last week on a Jayapura beach, was given a fifteen year sentence for his part in a peaceful flag-raising and prayer ceremony. Zode Hilapok was one of eight Papuan students arrested for raising the flag last December; he died ten months later, after Indonesian police refused to treat him in a civilian hospital. Jonah Wenda, who passed away in October, served nearly 20 years in prison for pro-independence activity.

The Morning Star has always been the symbol of our homeland. It is the last light we see in the night sky before the sun rises. When we fly our flag, we look forward to a day when it will watch over a free West Papua. By honouring the Morning Star on December 1st, we commemorate the many historical steps our struggle has taken on this day – not only the first recognition of our flag in 1961, but also the creation of our national anthem, and the announcement of our inaugural united Provisional Government.

There is always an increase in brutality and mass arrests by Indonesian military and police, as West Papuans take part in peaceful demonstrations and protests. As Indonesia does not allow international media to report on West Papua, we need our supporters to pay close attention to Indonesia’s actions around our national day.

For all wings of the ULMWP, the legislative, executive, and judicative, and for all people in West Papua, it is important that December 1st is both a day of celebration and reflection. All of us, whether in the bush, the cities, in exile, or in refugee camps, must stop our activity and hold prayer meetings.

One day soon, when we have won our independence, the Morning Star will fly freely alongside its Pacific neighbours. Until then, we need our friends around the world to fly it for us, to show Indonesia that they stand behind West Papua and our right to self-determination.

Benny Wenda
Interim President
ULMWP Provisional Government