The ongoing joint Indonesian military and police operations in Lanny Jaya and the surrounding areas in West Papua are causing widespread death, terror, and displacement towards West Papuan people. The ULMWP therefore calls for the immediate cessation of such brutal Indonesian state operations and hostilities.

Over the past few days, the Indonesian military and police have intensified their operations in Lanny Jaya. Several West Papuans are believed to have been killed, with thousands more fleeing into the jungle.

This rampant, state-sponsored terror is leaving innocent West Papuan civilians branded by the Indonesian Security Forces as “separatists” in an attempt to justify killing anyone accused of supporting self-determination.

These recent human rights violations began after an Indonesian military commander recently proclaimed himself as a local West Papuan chief. He has since been trying to use this title to call for further military operations in Lanny Jaya and nearby areas. The ULMWP is deeply concerned for all those affected in these operations. West Papuan woman and children are particularly at risk in this militarized zone and currently many people have been left without enough food and are afraid to go back to their gardens for fear of further military violence.

Such brutal military operations against the West Papuan people call into question the Indonesian government’s status and self-proclaimed values at international fora.

For example, Indonesia is an Associate Member of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG), yet these human rights violations clearly show the Indonesian government has no regard for Melanesian lives in West Papua. Indonesia will also be a temporary member of the United Nations Security Council (2019/2021 term), yet such an increasing military build up has led to West Papua becoming the most militarised zone in the Pacific; posing a grave security threat towards West Papuans and the region at large. Finally, Indonesia proudly claims to be a democratic country, yet clearly democratic principles are not being upheld in West Papua. The systematic denial of our democratic and fundamental right to self-determination continues to leave West Papuans as colonial subjects, oppressed for peacefully striving to be free in our own country.

Therefore, on behalf the people of West Papua, the ULMWP calls upon the Indonesian government to immediately stop these brutal operations in Lanny Jaya, Wamena and all other areas, and to withdraw all Indonesian Security Forces personnel from West Papua.

The ULMWP also calls upon human rights organisations, civil society groups, and allies around the world, to look into the rapidly deteriorating situation in West Papua, and to advocate for the fundamental human rights of the West Papuan people.

Finally, the ULMWP would like to alert all Melanesian nations, other Pacific Island nations, and the international community at large, to this urgent and critical level of Indonesian state violence in occupied West Papua; which is threatening to turn large parts of the nation into an active war zone. We appeal for international support for peace in West Papua, peace which can only be achieved through an internationally supervised vote on self-determination.

It is time for the Indonesian government to immediately end military operations and move towards a peaceful conflict resolution in West Papua. Only through the referendum we were promised by the United Nations will we, the people of West Papua finally be free to express our desire to live peacefully on our own land.

Benny Wenda
Chairman of The United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP)