The racist attack on a Nigerian diplomat by Indonesian border officers is what we West Papuans have been suffering for the last 58 years of Indonesian rule. We know what it is like to be crushed under the boots and arms of Indonesian security services because of the colour of our skin. We know what it is like to have to shout, like George Floyd last year and diplomat Abdulrahman Ibrahim this week, that we can’t breathe. We offer our full solidarity to Mr. Ibrahim and the Nigerian people following this incident.

Every day we are subjected to these racist attacks. Every week another Black West Papuan is killed in West Papua by Indonesian police and military. Every month my people’s existence as a Black Melanesian population is further threatened by Indonesia’s bombs and bullets.

Whether Obi Kogoya, a Papuan student crushed under the boot of an Indonesian officer in 2016, or Papuan students in Surabaya in 2019 called ‘monkeys’ and told to ‘go home’, or Steven Yadohamang, a deaf Papuan attacked by police this year, we have suffered systematic racism under Indonesian colonial rule because we are different, because we are Black.

It has been nearly 60 years of this. We need urgent action by the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States and the African Union to end this 21st century racism and colonialism. The people of Nigeria have suffered this treatment at the hands of European colonisers, and what happened to their diplomat this week is a reminder that this legacy continues in Indonesia today.

Benny Wenda
Interim President
ULMWP Provisional Government