On behalf of the ULMWP and the people of West Papua, I welcome yesterday’s meeting in the European Parliament and the launch of the Brussels Declaration.

The Declaration is an important document, echoing the existing calls for a UN High Commissioner for Human Rights visit to West Papua made by the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), the Organisation of African, Caribbean, and Pacific States (OACPS), and the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG). I ask all Parliamentarians who support human rights, accountability, and international scrutiny to sign it.

The Brussels Declaration also launches a new phase in the campaign for a UN visit. Six years have now passed since the initial invite to the High Commissioner was made – six years in which thousands of West Papuans have been killed and over 100,000 displaced. Indonesia have repeatedly demonstrated that words of condemnation are not enough. Without real pressure, they will continue to act with total impunity in West Papua.

As President Puigdemont stated clearly during the meeting, the EU should immediately halt their trade negotiations with Indonesia until they obey the will of the international community and grant the UN access. This demand is not being made by myself, NGOs, or individual nations: it is a unified call by nearly half the world, including the European Commission, for international investigation in occupied West Papua. If Indonesia continue to withhold access, they will merely be proving right all the academics, lawyers, and activists who have accused them of committing genocide in West Papua. If there is nothing to hide, why all the secrecy?

Since 2001, the EU has spent millions of Euros funding Indonesian rule in West Papua through the colonial ‘Special Autonomy’ law. This money is supposedly earmarked for the advancement of “democracy, civil society, [and the] peace process”. Given that West Papua has instead suffered 20 years of colonialism, repression, and police and military violence, we must where these funds have gone.

West Papua is occupied land. We have never exercised our right to self-determination, which was cruelly taken from us in 1963. States and international bodies, including the EU, should not invest in West Papua until this fundamental right has been realised. Companies and corporations who trade with Indonesia over our land are directly funding our genocide. They must realise that over 500,000 West Papuans have been killed by Indonesia in the past sixty-two years.

It is not our business if a state wants to trade with Indonesia over resources extracted from Java or Sumatra. But West Papua is sovereign territory, belonging to the indigenous Papuans who have guarded the land for thousands of years. Through our 2023 Congress and our provisional government launched in 2020, we are reclaiming this stolen sovereignty. Through supporting the Pacific Conference of Churches’ call for a boycott of Indonesian goods, we are putting the world on notice: do not buy products made from expropriated resources on illegally occupied land. This is not just the ULMWP’s call, but that of Pacific civil society.

The ULMWP asks all states that have already demanded UN access to do more, to ramp up their calls, and increase the pressure. We cannot allow Indonesia any hiding place on this issue. West Papua cannot wait any longer.

Benny Wenda