An urgent UN complaint has been submitted today (December 16) to protect the leaders and membership of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP). The move follows severe threats made by leading Indonesian state officials after the formation of the Provisional Government of West Papua on December 1.

Following the creation of the government-in-waiting, the head of the Indonesian military, deputy chief of police, security minister, speaker and deputy speakers of the Indonesian legislature and numerous leading figures in Jakarta issued statements describing Interim President Wenda and the ULMWP as treasonous.

Vice Chief of Police, Commissioner Gatot Eddy Pramono, promised that, ‘Any group or individual following Benny Wenda in trying to separate themselves from Indonesia will be met with firm action’. This threat could be used against the ULMWP Legislative and Judicial councils, prospective candidates for the Provisional Government’s cabinet, and all followers and supporters of the ULMWP.

The UN complaint, made on behalf of Interim President Wenda and the ULMWP, was submitted by Jennifer Robinson of Doughty Street Chambers and the Cambridge Pro Bono Project, and calls on the UN to issue a statement condemning Indonesian government threats against West Papuans and for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to urgently visit West Papua. The complaint follows an earlier appeal filed in April 2020 on behalf of 63 political prisoners, 56 of whom were arrested in the wake of the West Papua Uprising against racism and Indonesian rule in 2019.

Benny Wenda, Interim President of the Provisional Government, said: ‘The Indonesian state is threatening all in West Papua who hold a desire for freedom and independence. These latest threats against the ULMWP show how urgently the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights must visit West Papua. Eighty-two states have already called on Indonesia to allow the visit to take place – there can be no more excuses.’

Jennifer Robinson of Doughty Street Chambers said: ‘Indonesian officials at the highest levels have made serious threats against Benny Wenda, the ULMWP and their members and supporters in West Papua. We urge the UN to raise its concern with Indonesia, given the escalating violence, the unprecedented numbers of political arrests in the past year, and the imminent risk of further violence and arrests.’

Contact: Benny Wenda (through [email protected]); Jennifer Robinson, Doughty Street Chambers ([email protected]).