THIS is my message to the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders from my Freedom Hideout in Washington, D.C.
Brothers and sisters of the Pacific Islands Forum, as you getting ready for the 46th Pacific Islands Forum Leaders meeting in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, I want to say a few words to you on behalf of my people of West Papua.
But I want to first address my fellow leaders of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG).
My name is Herman Wainggai; I’m from West Papua currently living in USA.
I’m currently a visiting scholar at the George Mason University here in Fairfax, Virginia. I also represent West Papuan interest to the US Congress and the United Nations.
I want to express my sincere thank you to the leadership of the Melanesian Spearhead Group for giving West Papua an observer status during the Melanesian leadership summit held in Honiara on July, 2015.
I sincerely hope that your voice as kin and as genuine neighbours in the Pacific region will continue to be heard and that you’ll continue listen to the cries of our West Papuan people in this generation.
To my fellow Pacific Islands Forum leaders, I’m sure you are aware of what is going in West Papua, and the atrocity we are facing today.
We also need your help.
As a West Papua Melanesian, I am making this appeal on behalf of my people to you leaders of the Pacific nations to: Consider our situation and to stand for what is right; to stand with us and help rescue our brothers and sisters in West Papua from genocide; systematic human rights abuse, which is going on right now in West Papua as I speak.
I humbly ask you to call on the Indonesian government to urgently: cease all acts of intimidation by security forces and drastically reduce their numbers, and o to allow a United Nations “fact finding team” to enter West Papuan in order to investigate and monitor the human rights situation there.
And to resume high-level talks with West Papuan leaders with the aim of setting a timeline for a genuine act of self-determination.
If Indonesia refused to carry out these peaceful suggestions, we urge you to support a United Nations peace-keeping force to be sent to West Papua, with or without Indonesia’s permission, to bring an end to the abuses and conduct a fair referendum to find out whether the people want to remain with Indonesia or not.
From my own experience as a former political prisoner, majority wants “self-determination” and I hope you join us in bringing this to reality.
Why do I make this appeal?
Because this has been the reality of the lives of my people under the Indonesian military rule since May first of 1963 and since the so-called “Act of Free Choice in 1969” when my people of West Papua, because military and political pressure, were unjustly integrated with Indonesia – a country with which we don’t share the same cultures except a common colonial power – the Dutch (Netherlands).
I urge you from the bottom of my heart to help us; stand with us, help us, liberate us. We need your help and compassion, and moral support.
We have maintained our dignity in the face of oppression, insult and prejudice for far too long and we know PIF is aware of this.
So many of my brothers and sisters have suffered and died standing up for their God given rights and denounce Indonesian military occupation.
My people will continue to suffer and die under the military regime of Indonesia and as you know, West Papua is perhaps the highest militarized zone on earth and the world is turning a blind eye.
However, we won’t stop our struggle for justice and our fight for freedom. We look to God and we look to our Pacific Islands’ brothers and sisters: please hear our cry for freedom.
It’s been too long; so many lives have lost in search of freedom and justice even through peaceful means.
I pray that you will consider the issue of West Papua you priority when you meet in Papua New Guinea next month.
To the host country, Papua New Guinea, this is your chance to show the world that you stand with the people of West Papua; your people – your fellow Melanesians.
I ask for your support as you host this Pacific Islands Forum leaders meeting.
We humbly ask you to stand up for what is right and support us before the Pacific Islands Forum leaders.
We want and need the same freedom you have, and we need it badly. With that, I thank you Pacific Islands Forum for your support.
By HERMAN WAINGGAI
West Papuan Activist