On Friday June 3rd, people all over West Papua protested against Indonesia’s colonial ‘Special Autonomy’ law and their plan to divide our country into five new provinces.

Indonesia claims that ‘Special Autonomy’ has majority support in West Papua, but this is a lie. Time and time again, we have taken to the streets to reject it. Last week’s protests involved thousands of West Papuans across seven regencies, showing clearly that this policy is being enforced without our consent.

Our coloniser will use the partition plan to bring more settlers to West Papua to replace us, the indigenous people. It will mean more logging, more illegal mining, more environmental destruction, more roads like the Trans-Papua Highway, which is ripping the heart out of the rainforest.

The international community cannot trust Indonesia when it claims my people will benefit from their ‘development’. Over sixty years of genocidal colonial rule, we have seen exactly what ‘development’ means: our forests chopped down, our people terrorised and killed, our Melanesian culture attacked.

This is not development for West Papua, it is business for Indonesia. Reports from Indonesian NGOs have shown that the Indonesian military has direct economic interests in resource extraction projects in West Papua. Luhut Pandjaitan, a retired General who is now the Minister for Maritime Affairs, is one of the biggest investors in the new Wabu Block gold mine in Intan Jaya, where thousands of people have been displaced by military operations.

I call on the world to listen to my people, to stop supporting our destruction. We only have one planet, and West Papua is its heart and lungs. Cutting down our trees is an attack on all of our humanity.

Instead of Indonesia’s occupation, countries should support an international referendum and let West Papuans finally choose our own future. They should support our Green State Vision, which offers a future for all humanity.

Benny Wenda
Interim President
ULMWP Provisional Government