Papua Merdeka, Papua Merdeka, Papua Merdeka — Freedom, Freedom, Freedom for Papua!

To all the people of the Nation of West Papua, scattered all around the world, especially those  who are gathered at the Balim Grand Valley, the heart of Papua, in the traditional region of Lani Pago.

On my behalf, that of my family and on behalf of the Board members of the United Liberation Movement of West Papua (ULMWP), overseas as well those back in the home country of West Papua, I would like to welcome you with a unique form of greeting from this region which is now popular in the whole world: waa…waa…waaa… waaa (please reword this greeting with a unique form of greeting from your traditional language and culture and please remember to mention the name/s of the traditional landowner/s where the celebration festivity/ceremony is being held).

Today, as usual on every December 1st we gather to celebrate the events that occurred 55 years ago in New Hollandia.  This has to do with the time when the Morning Star, our national, flag was flown for the first time and the National Anthem “Hai Tanahku Papua” (O, Papua my country) was sung along with the proclamation of other national symbols, i.e. the name of the Nation and the Country of West Papua. Of course such a viewpoint is true, because if only the Netherlands and other western nations did not betray us, the West Papuans, in relation to what they preached, the Papuan Nation should be the first country that would have gained their independence from the various colonial rulers in the region who controlled the Melanesian, Polynesian and Micronesian nations.

It is a pity that the history goes to a different direction. The Dutch colonial state left West Papua with its original character, a nation of merchants, did not care about the fate and the future of the West Papuan nation. They did not involve the official leaders of the Papuan people they had prepared more than 10 years earlier.  Both the Dutch and the American governments conspired to sell the Papuan people to a new colonial regime, Indonesia, through the New York Agreement which was signed at the UN headquarters in New York on August 15th, 1962. This agreement was more than a slavery transaction. As what was sold was not only the freedom of 1025 Papuans who were threatened at gun point by the Indonesian armed forces, but what was traded were the fate and the future of a whole nation, the Papuan Nation. In return, the Dutch nation enjoyed an economic advantage from various trade transactions up to the present moment and Indonesia paid the Americans by handing over the gold and copper mountain of Nemangkawi in Papua which is mined by the giant gold and copper mine company, Freeport McMoRan.

Dear fellow Papuan brothers and sisters whom I respect, each time we behold the Morning Star from whatever angle, it always strengthens our national sentiments. Every time we sing the National Anthem “Hai Tanahku, Papua”, it always burns our sentiments of love even brighter for our home country, Papua (West Papua).  All of these activities are just like life blood that flows within each one of us, children of our country who help each other reach the ultimate goal of the  formation and founding of the Nation State of West Papua. This freedom movement has been fought for, taken turn by various national leaderships through various national forums which were initiated by the West Papua National Committee (1961), second Congress of the Papuan People (2000) to the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (2014).

In the first Papuan Congress national symbols were produced, then in the 2nd  Papuan Congress, the Papuan people, through a resolution, decided that the history of the integration of Papua into the Republic of Indonesia be straightened out.  That is to say that (aa) the people of Papua have been sovereign as a nation since December 1, 1961, and (bb) that the Nation of Papua reject the New York Agreement morally and legally, as it was set up without the involvement of the representatives of the Papuan Nation and that (cc) the People of the Papuan Nation, through the Second Congress, rejected the results of the Act of Free Choice, since it was carried out by force, intimidation, sadistic killings, various other criminal and immoral actions that are in violation of human rights, all carried out by the Indonesian Armed Forces.  That is why, the people of the Papuan Nation, through the 2nd Congress, demanded that the UN  cancel Resolution 2504 of November 19th, 1969.

Through such a historical journey of the Papuan Nation, ULMWP is aware of its duty in to bring into fruition the sovereignty of the Papuan Nation. The challenge is how to ensure the support of at least one third of the total number of the UN member nations.  That is why ULMWP changes its diplomatic pattern, not like in and after the 60s of the last century, i.e. lobbying not out of Papua anymore to the Western world and Africa.  ULMWP is focusing its support from the countries in the Pacific  Region.  In the first two years, ULMWP is strengthening its support base in this region through its network sought and received from the traditional and customary institutions, NGOs, Church/Ecclesiastical, Educational and Political institutions. Institutionally, ULMWP started out by becoming an observer and now it is in the process of becoming a full member of MSG (Melanesian Spearhood Group).  In the second year that support will increase or spread out from Melanesian Region to Polynesian and Micronesian regions though a new forum called Pacific Islands Coalition on West Papua (PICWP) which was formed through the initiative of the Solomon Island Prime Minister, Mr. Manase Sogovare, who is also the Chairman of the MSG.

From the viewpoint of political support, the ULMWP’s lobby has succeeded in making the Papuan freedom issue become one of the important issues in the Pacific Region. In its 2015 annual conference the member nations of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) decided to send a team of facts gatherers to Papua. Indonesia disagreed and refused to allow this team to gather the facts, however politically we have scored a win in this diplomacy.  In their 2016 conference all the PIF leaders in their communique again made a decision that the Papuan issue will always be an agenda of discussion in their annual meetings.  Besides this, there are at least 7 member nations who collectively put forward the Papuan issue. Besides basic human rights violation issues, they also demanded UN’s responsibility to intervene, including opening and revisiting the validity of the decisions made during the implementation of the Act of Free Choice in 1969 carried out under the New York Agreement.

Brothers and sisters of the Papuan Nation, the hard work of ULMWP is not limited only to the Pacific Region, but it covers also the State of Indonesia. The people of Indonesia, especially the educated segment of the population are now beginning to admit that a lot of ciminal activities/actions have been carried out by the Indonesian Government and its armed forces against the West Papuan people.  Moreover, this week we have witnessed the declaration of the Front Rakyat Indonesia untuk West Papua (FRI-West Papua), i.e. Indonesian People Front for West Papua.  This movement of the Indonesian People at the moment has increased to support the right of the West Papuan people to be independent as a sovereign nation.

On the other hand, various groups of the Papuan People in the Netherlands have emerged to demand a legal litigation against the Dutch Government which did not carry out its responsibility in protecting the rights and the interest of the Papuans as its subjects.  In that process of legal litigation, from its outset they have consulted with ULMWP.

Finally, it should be noted that the rise of the Pacific nations has caused quite a few UN member nations from different parts of the world that are flabergasted and as a result have seriously followed every development that are currently happening in Indonesia and Papua.

We should be praising God and be thankful to Him for all the progress reported above.  These all happened as a result of His mercy and love. However, we are still faced with a lot of challenges that are building up.  Hence, ULMWP needs a lot of prayer and financial support to carry out political diplomacy in various parts of the world, as the focus of our lobbying has moved from the Pacific region to cover the whole world since September 2016. Hence, the focus of ULMWP has widened its scope from ensuring the MSG membership to forming a coalition of Support for West Papua in other parts of the globe.  The support should be consistent, not just once or twice, including taking part in securing support from other UN member nations.  All the Papuans should rise up to lobby in their own ways to look for support from various nations of the world wherever we are. Let them know that we want their support in cancelling the 2504 Resolution of 1969 and let the Papuan have their sovereignty in a peaceful way.

May God of the Papuan Nation, our Ancestors and the blood of those freedom fighters that have gone before us be with us and bless us all.

Papua … Merdeka, Papua … Merdeka, Papua … Merdeka.

Octovanius Mote, ULMWP Secretary General, December 1st 2016