As the Executive of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), we welcome the outcome of the third annual session of the Legislative Council’s congress. The congress decided to begin the process of upgrading the ULMWP’s by-laws to provisional constitutional status, on the path to achieving a referendum and independence from colonial rule.

The Legislative Council’s decision establishes a binding Provisional Constitution for West Papua. This Provisional Constitution ensures that the ULMWP is governed by rules and norms of democracy, human rights and self-determination. Every element of this Provisional Constitution is democratic. Every element is designed to protect our culture, our identity, and way of life. It points the way to our dream of creating the world’s first Green State, where every religion and every living being is protected under the law. We have learnt from the world the need to protect and build education, healthcare and renewable energy, to defend the rights of Indonesian migrants and Indigenous Papuans, customary land ownership and gender equality. This Provisional Constitution does just that.

The Congress adopted a resolution that, ‘Fully accepts and supports the political positions taken by the people of West Papua in their rejection of the Law No. 21, 2001 on Special Autonomy for Papua’. We are not going to bow down to Jakarta’s renewal of so-called Special Autonomy. We are reclaiming our sovereignty from Indonesia. We are working towards establishing a government in West Papua, a government that can lead us to our goal of a referendum and beyond. Thank you to the Legislative Council and every single person who is dedicating their life to the cause of West Papuan liberation.

Benny Wenda