- Provisional Government created to achieve referendum and an independent West Papua;
- Future Republic of West Papua will be the world’s first Green State;
- Months of unrest have strengthened demands for independence.
The United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) begins forming a new ‘Provisional Government’ in West Papua today (Tuesday December 1). The announcement marks an intensification of the struggle against Indonesia’s colonisation of the territory, ongoing since 1963.
The new government-in-waiting aims to mobilise the people of West Papua to achieve a referendum on independence, after which it will take control of the territory and organise democratic elections. Indonesian repression currently renders elections impossible.
This move is a direct rejection of Jakarta’s attempts to extend ‘Special Autonomy’ provisions in West Papua. ‘Special Autonomy’, first imposed in 2001, will expire at the end of the year, and is the target of a mass petition sponsored by 102 civil society organisations across West Papua. Thirty-six people were arrested in Manokwari and Sorong on Friday after raising the banned Morning Star flag.
The new Provisional Constitution centres environmental protections, social justice, gender equality and religious freedom, and protects the rights of Indonesian migrants living in West Papua. The Constitution establishes a governance structure, including the formation of a Congress, Senate and judicial branch.
The Government is supported by all liberation groups inside West Papua, representing the overwhelming majority of the people. The ULMWP delivered the West Papuan People’s Petition, signed by 70% of West Papuans, to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in 2019.
The state-in-waiting will be represented internationally by an interim President, Benny Wenda, a West Papuan exile based in the UK. The rest of the cabinet will be announced in the coming months. The Provisional Government confirms its right to make a Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) at an appropriate time, on behalf of the people of West Papua.
Benny Wenda, interim President of the Provisional Government, said: ‘Today, we honour and recognise all our forefathers who fought and died for us by finally establishing a united government-in-waiting. Embodying the spirit of the people of West Papua, we are ready to run our country. As laid out in our Provisional Constitution, a future Republic of West Papua will be the world’s first Green State, and a beacon of human rights – the opposite of decades of bloody Indonesian colonisation. Today, we take another step towards our dream of a free, independent and liberated West Papua.’