The Indonesian state is causing a renewed humanitarian crisis in West Papua. Three young West Papuan men have been murdered by the Indonesian military in Intan Jaya Regency, and hundreds of residents have now fled the area in fear. Indonesia must allow the International Committee of the Red Cross and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights into West Papua urgently.

The three men, Janius Bagau, Justinus Bagau and Soni Bagau, were tortured and killed on February 15 in a health centre where one of them was receiving treatment after being shot in the arm by a soldier. Amnesty Indonesia has issued an urgent statement of concern over the killings.

Fearing more acts of violence, at least 600 men, women and children have been displaced by the military’s actions, seeking shelter in a Catholic compound. They join over 50,000 West Papuans internally displaced by Indonesian operations since December 2018. Over 400 have died from a lack of medical treatment and supplies. Indonesia is ethnically cleansing my people.

Those displaced by these operations will have no access to healthcare. They cannot tend to their crops. The children cannot go to school. In the middle of a pandemic, Indonesia continues to kill us West Papuans and force us from our homes by our thousands. The Indonesian state has imposed martial law, using the Covid-19 crisis as a cover to conduct military operations. As the West Papua Council of Churches, the four Protestant denominations in our nation, put it in a statement on February 5, ‘The Land of Papua has become a Military Operation Area.’

The ULMWP Provisional Government demands that Indonesia immediately allow the international community into West Papua to assist civilians affected by military operations. In particular:

1) Indonesia must allow the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights into West Papua to conduct an investigation into the human rights situation, in accordance with the call of 83 international states;

2) Indonesia must invite the International Committee of the Red Cross into West Papua. The Red Cross was banned from entering in 2009.

Regional leaders must pay attention to what is taking place in West Papua. Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific Islands Forum: Indonesia is hiding behind claims of ‘sovereignty’ to crush my people. This is not an ‘internal matter’, this is a question of military occupation and colonialism. Our right to self-determination under international law is bullet-proof. Indonesia has lost the moral, political and legal argument, and has turned to the last thing it has left: brute violence. We need urgent action to protect my people.

Benny Wenda
Interim President
ULMWP Provisional Government