Today we mark the 53rd anniversary of the 1971 OPM independence declaration by unveiling the English translation of our ULMWP constitution.

On this historic day, we confirm the status of the ULMWP as a government-in-waiting, with a cabinet, Regional Executives, and governing apparatus ready to take control of our country. The announcement of the ULMWP constitution in 2020 was a vital step along the road towards achieving a referendum and independence from Indonesia. Through our constitution we will realise our dream of creating the world’s first Green State, where ecocide will be made a crime and every living being will be protected under the law. The original Bahasa constitution has already been distributed widely across West Papua. With this English translation, we are showing the world that we are ready to govern our own affairs.

With this constitution we honour the spirit of Jacob Prai and Seth Rumkoren, who signed the independence declaration at Markas Victoria in 1971. Both our announcement and theirs represents an absolute rejection of Indonesian colonialism and a reclamation of the sovereignty stolen from us in 1961.

As expressed in the constitutional preamble, the ULMWP recognises all West Papuan declarations as legitimate. The revolutionary proclamation of 1971; the first raising of the Morning Star in 1961; the establishment of the Free Papua Organization (OPM) in 1963; Thom Wanggai’s Proclamation of the Republic of West Melanesia in 1988; the Proclamation of the State of West Papua New Guinea in 1997; the Second Papuan People’s Congress in 2000; the Declaration of West Papua National Authority in 2004; the Declaration of the Establishment of the West Papua National Coalition for Liberation (WPNCL) in 2005; the Yeondowa Declaration in 2006; the Third Papuan People’s Congress in 2011; the Declaration of the National Parliament of West Papua in 2012; and the Saralana Declaration in 2014: each is an historic milestone in our struggle.

To our solidarity groups and supporters around the world, I ask that you respect our constitution, which was announced in a democratic ceremony on the ground in West Papua and reaffirmed through the 1st ULMWP Congress in 2023.

To the people of West Papua, I say have confidence: you are ready to run your own affairs. Whether you are living in exile, in the cities, the highlands, the refugee camps, or in the bush as a guerilla, this constitution belongs to you. Even if you are working within Indonesian institutions, our governing structure, cabinet, and Green State Vision all belong to you. All West Papuans must remain united underneath the ULMWP provisional government. Anyone acting outside the constitution is delaying our freedom.

Thank you to all West Papuans for keeping the flame of freedom alive in their hearts. Wa wa wa wa wa.

Benny Wenda