It is with a heavy heart that I am sending this message to you on behalf of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP). The people of West Papua are currently facing a double humanitarian crisis: a humanitarian crisis caused by Indonesian military operations, and a humanitarian crisis because of climate change.

On Saturday, flash floods hit Sentani, destroying dozens of people’s houses and livelihoods. Around 70 people are suspected to have died.

I give my deepest condolences and sympathy to those who have died and those who have lost their homes, farms and possessions in these floods. This is another episode in nearly 60 years of pain my people have suffered.

In Nduga, Indonesian military and police operations have continued since December. Unknown thousands of women and children have fled to the bush, dozens have died and 200 displaced children are still unable to return to school. The entire region has been shut down by the Indonesian security services. As the World Council of Churches stated during their recent historic visit to West Papua, ‘Papuan people seem to be systemically marginalized and excluded in all areas of life’.

The people of West Papua have been in mourning since December because of these violent military operations. As the death count increases in Sentani, they are now doubly mourning.

The ULMWP calls on the world’s humanitarian agencies to assist the West Papuans suffering in Sentani. The Red Cross, Oxfam, UNICEF, Médecins Sans Frontières, Christian Aid and others must immediately request access to the region to assist people. The Indonesian government must not block their entry, as it has done in Nduga and the rest of West Papua for decades.

I also call on the UK government to use some of the resources taken from our land to provide aid to West Papua immediately. The UK and other governments around the world have a moral obligation to help my people because you and your corporations have invested heavily in West Papua.

Benny Wenda
United Liberation Movement for West Papua