Dear Editor – I note that in the two opinion pieces in your paper by Indonesian diplomats at the Indonesian Embassies in Canberra and Brussel, they seem to try the blame the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) for all their problems on the issue of West Papua instead of looking at Jakarta’s policies in the territory.
In an opinion piece “Is MSG a strong or sick man of the Pacific?” the spokesperson from the Indonesian Embassy in Canberra wrote that the ULMWP “was created to represent the voices of overseas Papuans, who may still have Indonesian citizenship and many who have renounced their citizenship. The Movement does not represent the almost four million residents”.
However, anybody concerned about the grave human rights situation in West Papua would realise that Sade Bimantara is wrong on many of his statements.
One only has to be aware of the issue to know that the ULMWP represents the majority of West Papuans both inside and outside of the territory and not just those “voices of overseas Papuans” as he states.
In the large number of rallies that took place in the past months in West Papua many of the banners carried by the Papuans stated “we support ULMWP to become the full member of MSG” and similar statements.
Another point Mr Bimantara should ponder is why after 53 years of Indonesian administration West Papuans are still marching in the streets risking arrest and torture to bring to the world’s attention the injustices they suffer under Indonesian rule?
A total failure on the part of Jakarta to win over the West Papuan people.
In fact, even as the MSG Summit was taking place in Honiara more arrests were occurring at rallies in West Papua which had been called in a show of support for the ULMWP’s application for full membership.
Since May of this year over 3000 Papuans have been arrested in peaceful rallies by the Indonesian security forces who seem to have great difficulty in grasping the principles laid down in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states, everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
(Article 19) and everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association (Article 20).
Although it must be disappointing for Papuans that the decision on full membership was postponed till another MSG leaders meeting in September in Vanuatu, there is no doubt the tide of history flows in West Papua’s favour.
Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)