Truth will set free the people of West Papua
12 September 2019
GOVERNOR POWES PARKOP
PORT MORESBY - The right to self-determination is not just a universal declaration provided in Article 1 of the United Nation Charter, it’s also a right promulgated by God when he got Moses to tell Pharaoh, ‘Let my people go!’
Thank you Governor Gary Juffa for your continuous support for our people of West Papua. You have never withered and I salute you. You are a champion of our people.
I thank prime minister James Marape for the brave stand he has taken. We are a manifestation of that stand that we won’t stand by and allow our people to be killed and oppressed.
I am proud and salute all our people. For 57 years they have been fighting on their own. For 57 years they have been alone because we allowed fear to dictate our decisions and actions. Today we made and are making a big statement - that our people are not alone.
We are all Papuans - East and West Papuans.
In these 57 years governments of Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, Solomon Islands, Fiji, greater Europe and the United States of America have failed our people because we have left it to our governments.
Today, we the people must stand up and speak about what is in our hearts and minds and not just leave it to governments to decide.
We stand in solidarity with our people of West Papua and assure them they are not alone, that we hear their cries and feel their pain.
We assure them that we will amplify their cries to the governments and people of the world so the world can shift and help them to realise their aspirations.
People have asked me many times, “Governor, how will you be able to take on this mighty challenge and help our people realise their freedom”.
Today I say, only the truth will set our people free and I am here to speak the truth without fear. This is what will see our people free.
Indonesia had a Hindu Buddhist Empire around 375 AD to the 13th century.
The fact is West Papua was never part of such an empire.
In the 13th century, there were a number of Muslim sultanates or empires in the area including Majapahit, Malacca and Tidore. Again the fact is that West Papua was never part of these.
Portugal and the Netherlands started colonising Indonesia around the 16th century.
Initially this started with the Dutch East Indies Company and then the government of Holland took over what was then called the Dutch East Indies. West Papua was never part of that colony.
West Papua only became a colony of the Netherlands in the 1800s, like Papua New Guinea towards the end of the 1800s and start of the 19th century. That is a difference of over 250 years. So, Indonesia and West Papua do not have the same colonial history.
To use the colonial history as basis for incorporating West Papua into the Indonesian Republic is to suggest that Kenya and Zimbabwe should be one country or Laos and Vietnam should be one country or Argentina and Chile should be one country.
This is a ridiculous and very weak basis for justifying incorporation or take-over of West Papua by Indonesia.
During the World War II, Indonesian independence leaders collaborated with the Japanese and when the war was over they fought a war of independence against the Netherlands, gaining independence in 1947.
West Papua never fought a war against Holland. West Papua was never part of the war of liberation against Holland. It was never part of the declaration of independence by Indonesia in 1947.
West Papuans were collaborating with Holland and preparing for independence when they were invaded in 1962. West Papua already had her coat of arms, her flag, her national anthem, and military and police forces.
West Papua already had its own parliament by the time Indonesia invaded in 1962. West Papua was incorporated by fraud into Indonesia in 1969, some 20 years after Indonesia had already declared independence.
We all know the fraud that happened in 1969. The requirement of the law is very clear - one person, one vote. That was the law in 1969 and it remains the law now.
That’s the law we will apply in November in the Bougainville referendum. That’s the law the United Nations applied in East Timor in 1999.
The West Papuans’ preparation for independence is not unusual. We in Papua New Guinea were being prepared for and got independence the same way.
In 1964 we elected the first house of Assembly. Other members were appointed by the colonial government. In 1968 we had the first fully elected House of Assembly. That is when Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare and Sir Julius Chan were voted into parliament and the rest is history.
I saw my parents vote in 1968. I was about seven years old and in Standard 1 in primary school.
They voted for independence because they voted for the late Sir Paliau Maloat who stood for independence and nothing else. I know this because in my village the vote was unanimous in favour of Sir Paliau.
By assembling only 1,025 people to vote in 1969, Indonesia was not only breaching the law, it was also insulting the people of West Papua and had no confidence in them from the beginning.
This is the general attitude of the Indonesian government and its people then and today. They believe West Papuans can’t think for themselves and that they don’t have same or better mental capacities.
They believed West Papuans were incapable of deciding their future in 1969. And they cannot run their own country and decide their own future today.
It’s not unusual that they are calling West Papuans as monkeys today. It’s always been Indonesia’s attitude from 1961 until today.
In 1969 when Indonesia conducted its fake vote, the population of West Papua was about one million. Today, some 57 years later, the West Papuan population is about two million. In the same period, the population of Papua New Guinea has gone from 1.5 million in 1969 to almost 10 million now.
This shows that West Papuans have been systematically, by design, neglected, killed and oppressed. This says a lot about the incorporation. It has failed!
Indonesia must come to terms with these facts and begin the process of self-determination. Indonesia will be free of guilt, shame, discrimination and state violence when it frees West Papua. Our regions will live in peace and harmony when we solve and cure this cancerous sore in our relationship.
We are capable of living peacefully and harmoniously with our neighbour Indonesia. We do not hate Indonesia and the Indonesian people but we will never be good neighbours and have a prosperous future while our people continue to be suppressed and treated as animals.
Stand up for peace and dignity, Indonesia. Show the world that you can overcome your demons and mistakes and help us to have a greater future.
Show us that you are a great nation and champion of self-determination. Show us that you are a law abiding nation, by allowing the Papuans to determine their own future in accordance with the law.
Fear of the future will only limit us to remaining in a poor past. Let us all rise above our fear and insecurity. Let us be brave and forge a greater future that is peaceful and prosperous.
Indonesia overcome your fears and insecurities. A great future awaits you if you choose to be brave and resolve this crisis honorably by allowing the Papuans their inalienable rights.
To the governments of the region and the world, fear has not solved any crisis and will never solve this crisis. It is only through bravery and fearlessness that we can solve this problem, by telling the Indonesian government honestly and sincerely what we know and feel in the depth of our hearts.
Otherwise we will continue to live in fear and insecurity forever and we will all miss the opportunity for a greater future together.
Let us just tell the truth and the truth will set our people of West Papua, Indonesia and our region free.
As if Indonesia was a complication. Now more so.
Posted by: Lindsay F Bond | 06 December 2022 at 08:12 PM
It is possible that the people of West Papua will achieve their independence despite the resistance from Indonesia.
Sometimes these things can happen through the agency of one individual.
This is what happened to Timor Leste. Despite the reluctance of Australia the Indonesian President BJ Habibi authorised a referendum on independence and when it was successful saw it through to the end.
Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie was an Indonesian engineer and politician who was the president of Indonesia from 1998 to 1999. Only two months after his inauguration as vice president on March 1998, he succeeded Suharto who resigned after thirty-some years in office.
BJ Habibi died a few days ago. His passing was not big news and was largely ignored by everyone except the people of Timor Leste.
He was a poignant reminder of the power that can lie with an individual determined to do the right thing.
Posted by: Philip Fitzpatrick | 16 September 2019 at 09:45 AM
Indonesia has recently closed the door on West Papua independence at the UN. Unsurprising!
The Useless Nothings aka UN obviously simply sit around and do nothing of course.
I impore Prime Minister Marape to change PNG's official stance and reject Indonesia's claim and call for a fresh referendum for West Papua.
It is a tragedy that the largest Melanesian state continues to live in denial.
Posted by: David Kitchnoge | 16 September 2019 at 12:02 AM
In December 2013, three leaders of the West Papua Freedom March were arrested in Port Moresby, kept in jail for two days and released on bail.
On 10 September 2019, more than 6,000 Papua New Guineans participated in the march, walking the same streets.
I was there: children, mothers, youths etc. Among these people were 36 UPNG students, students of one of the three people arrested in 2013. He is a lecturer at UPNG. The support will only grow.
PNG cannot claim to be a Christian country and be blind to injustice committed against West Papuans.
As for Australia, well, Australia is partly responsible for this mess.
Posted by: Michael Kabuni | 12 September 2019 at 08:38 PM
As a Kiwi alumni, I learned and read of New Zealand Human Rights activists who sent out a powerful message to practitioners of apartheid.
Hearing and reading of this, Nelson Mandela saw sunshine in his heart from his dungeons at Robben Island (Long Walk to Freedom).
Australia? No so much.
Can we fathom an East Timor episode from the guardians of "our patch" or the snout's in the depth somewhere?
It does pay to hope notwithstanding the obvious embers and fragments of the two American states continue to flourish to this day and age - even at its 400th year of anniversary (1619 - 2019) slavery trade, that saw West Africans arriving in Jameston, North Carolina.
Posted by: Corney Korokan Alone | 12 September 2019 at 05:27 PM
PNG, Australia, the Americans and everyone else should be ashamed of letting this fester for so long.
Politics trumps morals every time.
It's good to see politicians in PNG finally standing up.
It would be nice to see a few more politicians in Australia joining them but I'm not holding my breath.
Posted by: Philip Fitzpatrick | 12 September 2019 at 05:18 PM
Phil, maybe the lack of action in the last fifty years would be to do with the lack of information and news from West Papua. I think PNGeans are now more aware of what is happening there than before.
Posted by: Raymond Sigimet | 12 September 2019 at 04:58 PM
I know it's righteous indignation on your part Phil and note Keith's footnote.
A Papua New Guinean woman marcher loudly protested that PNG should provoke an international response with a small military intervention. Australia would be dragged into the conflict by default.
I thought she made a poignant point.
Perhaps then we all won't be sitting on our hands.
From Menzies to Morrison, Australia's role in the brutalising of West Papua has been appalling (and we should never forget the Americans to whom Australia continues to kow-tow in the most slavish way) - KJ
Posted by: David Kitchnoge | 12 September 2019 at 04:25 PM
This latest response in PNG is very laudable but I must ask the question: Why have you left it so long?
Indonesian atrocities began in the late 1960s. In 1969 I saw personally some of their hideous handiwork among the refugees flooding across the border.
That was 50 years ago. What the hell have you all been doing since then, apart from sitting on your hands?
As an Australian, I would be pretty uncomfortable telling off Papua New Guineans for sitting on their hands - KJ
Posted by: Philip Fitzpatrick | 12 September 2019 at 03:10 PM
What would PNG lose by changing its official stance and not recognising the West Papua issue an 'internal matter' for Indonesia?
I mean, let's start naming what we will lose. Not much other than some perceived non existent economic benefit due to our close proximity to that country.
PNG needs to stop pussy footing around this issue and tell Indonesia that we do not believe West Papua is an 'internal matter' for them.
We must change our official stance on West Papua.
Posted by: David Kitchnoge | 12 September 2019 at 12:28 PM
Excellent case by Governor Powes Parkop for West Papua's independence and freedom from the clutches of Indonesia's oppressive regime.
Papua New Guineans have been, are and will always be with our blood brothers and sisters from the western half of the island of New Guinea.
The mobilisation and support for West Papuans' total independence is not stopping anytime soon.Period.
This momentum will gain traction and continue unabated in this digital age.
Indonesia must and needs to come to terms about their fabricated amalgamation nonsense that purports to obtain her legitimacy. That spurious fallacy is not standing well and will not be allowed to stand.
That giant sham will never wash in the mighty and deep Pacific Ocean and with people everywhere who wish for truth, goodwill, conscience and human decency.
The West's complicity in profiteering from this inhumane racket and game plan is being exposed. You cannot hide under your hollow and insipid claims of sovereign rights.
Bring West Papua's right to self-determination, and freedom to the United Nations decolonisation list. Correct that awful and shameful so-called 'Act of Free Choice' now.
Posted by: Corney Korokan Alone | 12 September 2019 at 11:09 AM
That direction which Australia achieved in 1975, namely a reasonably orderly withdrawal from Papua and New Guinea, is now celebrated as achievement of Independence by the people of those (island) lands.
As such, transfer of governance is at least an example to Indonesia.
Does honour exist for a nation wresting control of lands and peoples with its impost continuing?
Does not Indonesian indignation at the impost of Dutch governance translate into any perception of the yearning among folk of the earlier Dutch New Guinea, a yearning not just for respect but for cessation of physical abuse of humans who are citizens only by force.
The wars of 1939-1945 wrought havoc by seizure of lands by ordinance not order. Seizure of lands of the earlier Dutch regime, appears a war of continuum.
Posted by: Lindsay F Bond | 12 September 2019 at 10:51 AM