On behalf of the ULMWP I again call for the unconditional release of Phillip Mehrtens, the pilot who has been abducted and is being held hostage by a group of the TPNPB. I and the ULMWP Executive have been working behind the scenes since the kidnapping occurred in order to secure his safe release. 

I want to clarify that this particular group is not currently part of the ULMWP structure and is not acting under the auspices of the ULMWP. They have made clear that they do not agree with our strategy and do not want to be part of the ULMWP. Through the West Papua Army we have aimed to unite the main West Papuan military factions, following the successful federation of our political factions under the ULMWP in 2014. But the particular faction of the TPNPB who kidnapped Mr Mehrtens have rejected this. The vision of the ULMWP remains one of unity: as our national symbol says, we are one people with one soul. I continue to aim for the unity of all resistance groups in order to find a peaceful solution. 

We are committed to our strategy of peaceful diplomacy and to engaging with international political mechanisms. I repeat my offer to President Widodo to sit down with me and discuss how to peacefully resolve the future of West Papua through an internationally mediated process. 

I have offered assistance to the New Zealand Government, and would like to reiterate that I am open to being part of any negotiations to free Mr Mehrtens. We want to work together with New Zealand to resolve this situation, and the conflict at large. The ULMWP have engaged with New Zealand through the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), and the 2019 PIF communique which gave support to a UN visit to investigate human rights in West Papua.  

The international community must not lose sight of the fact that Indonesia is the occupier and the criminal in West Papua. We do not want these sorts of actions to misrepresent or distract from our peaceful defence of our land, which we will continue until we have finally won our freedom. This situation must be resolved in order for our peaceful struggle against military occupation to resume as normal.  

Papua Merdeka.  

Benny Wenda