Papua New Guinea’s Oro Province Governor Garry Juffa has announced his stand in the ongoing struggle for West Papua’s independence.
The governor said that the dilemma that the West Papuans face is a long time issue that the government of Papua New Guinea and other Pacific island nations need to look into, to help them achieve their quest for political independence from Indonesia.
He spoke of how for over 50 years the West Papuans have suffered brutal acts of the Indonesian government through its coercive state apparatus (police and army), who have killed more than 500,000 civilians. Foreign media and human rights groups are banned from entering West Papua. In September two French journalists were jailed by the Indonesian authorities after being caught attempting to report from inside West Papua.
Governor Suffa partly blamed the United Nations for not properly conducting the 1969 ‘Act of Free Choice’ referendum that handed Indonesia control of the region, and said that he has prepared a petition to the Secretary General for the UN to look into the issue.
Juffa clarified that his stance is not a gesture of aggression towards the Indonesian governments but a politically neutral move aimed at emancipating the West Papuan people from the dilemma inflicted upon them by the Indonesian army, and to give the needed support to help them achieve their long sought desire to be an independent state.
This latest show of support from a high ranking political figure comes just days after it was confirmed that West Papuan leaders will resubmit a bid to join the Melanesian Spearhead Group. Benny Wenda, spokesman for the United Liberation Movement for West Papua says that after the latest bid is submitted next month a huge campaign will be launched to try and gain West Papua admission.
“We are excited and I am really confident. Our people back home already support it that’s why I hope that this is also really positive for our struggle and I hope our brothers and sisters across Melanesia and across the Pacific will pray for this.”
Find out more about the situation in West Papua. Watch undercover documentary, Forgotten Bird of Paradise