Massacre of 5 people in 24 hours – Under Indonesia, West Papua is becoming another East Timor

May 20th 2017. This statement has been written by ULMWP Spokesperson Benny Wenda following the killings of West Papuan people in Port Numbay/Jayapura this week. For media inquires, please contact: +447411 053953 E-mail: office@bennywenda.org 

Today the people of West Papua woke up after a day of bloodshed and tears. In 24 hours at least 5 West Papuan people were killed and others remain in critical condition, all after having been attacked by Indonesian migrants backed by the Indonesian authorities. Bodies of West Papuan people were found lying in the streets and the sewers of Port Numbay/Jayapura after being hacked to death with machetes.

One of the victims of the attacks on West Papuan people this week

How many more innocent West Papuan people must die before the world takes notice?  We are not animals, we are human beings with lives and families of our own.

I want to state categorically that such actions of the Indonesian militia and other Indonesian migrants are deliberately backed and supported by the Indonesian military, police and intelligence services, just as in East Timor. There is a systematic ethnic cleansing in West Papua and the Indonesian government is trying as hard as possible to stir up more hatred and racism towards West Papuan people in order to provoke more violence against us. This is becoming the everyday reality of life in West Papua in the villages, the towns and the cities.

Can you Imagine spending every day knowing that you and your family may be the next ones to be killed? Breathing every breath knowing that it may be your last. At every street you turn there are Indonesian soldiers, police officers and militia, all armed and ready to kill you.

On behalf of my people there are 3 points that I want to make very clear:

  1. In West Papua the killings of West Papuans are never investigated and Indonesian authorities are never blamed 

In the last 50 years over 500,000 West Papuan people have been killed in this brutal, neglected and systematic genocide of Pacific Islanders. I cannot think of a single example of the perpetrators ever being brought to justice in fact more often than not the perpetrators are praised by the Indonesian government. Yesterday the families of West Papuans who were killed tried to see the bodies of their loved ones and were reportedly arrested and tortured by the Indonesian authorities.

2. The killings of Indonesian migrants are always investigated and West Papuans are immediately blamed 

Whenever an Indonesian migrant is killed, the killing is investigated straight away and innocent West Papuan people are immediately blamed, and even killed. Such injustice continues to this day. The Indonesian President Jokowi has done nothing to stop for West Papua, he has done nothing to stop the genocide or illegal occupation in fact he and his government are perpetuating the both. In the eyes of the Indonesian government, West Papuan lives do not matter.

3. The situation in West Papua is just like East Timor before Independence. 

Before the historic referendum in Timor-Leste (formerly East Timor), the Indonesian government and military systematically set up and armed militia groups to rampage across the country, killing people in an attempt to cause chaos. This is exactly what is now happening in now West Papua. Indonesia is trying to plant a time bomb in West Papua, creating more violence in order to justify their illegal occupation.

The Indonesian government has failed diplomatically to convince the world that  their occupation of West Papua is legal. They have failed economically and failed legally. To them only solution they have now is to resort to more violence and West Papua has become the most militarised zone in the Pacific. There are now tens of thousands of Indonesian soldiers stationed, constantly harassing, intimidating, attacking and killing indigenous West Papuans, in fact only this week 1,350 more Indonesian soldiers were sent from Indonesia to the West Papua/Papua New Guinea border.

International support for West Papua is growing stronger every day as more and more people find out about the neglected genocide and illegal occupation. The situation in West Papua is at a knife edge. We need the support of the international community now before it’s too late.

We will not be provoked by the actions of Indonesian migrants or Indonesian militia. We will continue to maintain our peaceful struggle for self-determination and independence until West Papua is finally free and independent at last. There can be no other solution for West Papua.

On behalf of the people of West Papua I call upon all international supporters, at grassroots, civil and parliamentary levels to please turn your eyes to the suffering of the people of West Papua. If West Papua is not free within the next few decades then there will be no more West Papuan people left.

Please support us to be free from genocide. Please help us to be free from colonialism. Please help to be free from illegal occupation.

Things in West Papua are reaching a crisis point and it’s now or never. History will remember all those who chose to stand up for what was right when others were suffering. Please support the people of West Papua. With your help, we know that one day we will be free at last.

Wa wa wa

Benny Wenda
West Papuan Independence Leader
Spokesperson for the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP)