Indonesian colonial forces have once again shown that they are proud to kill West Papuans.  

After two West Papuans were killed by the Indonesian military in Puncak Jaya this week, soldiers humiliated villagers by forcing them to take a trophy photo. In the picture (inset), a little boy is surrounded by soldiers armed with heavy weaponry and forced to raise the Morning Star flag – a cruel way of mocking our national symbol. Also in the photo are a woman and two men, all bearing signs of torture, with the woman having been stripped naked and forced to kneel in the dirt. Two Papuan civilians, an old woman named Wano Mina and a reverend named Abiani Weya, were murdered. 

Looking at this photo, we are reminded of the sadism of slavery, when black people – dead or alive –were used for the entertainment of whites. Indonesia has used our bodies as trophies before: all West Papuans have seen the infamous photo of Indonesian soldiers posing happily with the dead body of Yustinus Murib, as well as the picture of soldiers surrounding the body of Wendiman Wonda, an innocent farmer.  

Yustinus Murib

Wendiman Wonda

This kind of humiliation shows the intense racism at the heart of the Indonesian occupation. Anyone who seeks to humiliate children in this manner doesn’t see them as fully human. Human beings are not treated like this, only ‘monkeys’ or ‘terrorists’. When Victor Yeimo protested against racism in West Papua, Indonesia accused him of treason. We are likely to see more horrible incidents in the coming weeks, as more and more Indonesian military are deployed to West Papua. West Papuans are the victims of a hidden genocide, an unending nightmare that has been inflicted upon us since 1963.  

My message to the Indonesian government is this: you cannot hide your crimes any longer. For sixty years, Indonesian soldiers have treated West Papua as a colony and a hunting ground. But the world is waking up to the modern-day colonialism being perpetrated in West Papua. Over eighty-four countries have now called for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to visit West Papua, a visit the ULMWP have been calling for half a decade.   

Our demands are for Indonesia to:  

  • Immediately allow the UN to visit West Papua and report on the rampant human rights abuses occurring there on a daily basis. Only international pressure will stop them from killing us. 
  • Allow humanitarian agencies to provide aid to West Papuans, with up to 100,000 having been displaced since 2018. 

We are not safe with Indonesia. The only solution is independence.  

Benny Wenda
ULMWP Provisional Government