Open Letter to Benny Wenda

Dear sir,

For all these years you claimed your struggle is freedom of people of West Papua. You claimed that Papuans are still under colonial power, oppressed, and ruthlessly controlled by Indonesian government. You expressed your anger seeing and witnessing the genocide conducted by Indonesian toward Papuans. Therefore, you will continue your struggle and fight to get rid Indonesian from the land belong to Papuans.

By then, as part of your struggle, you and your group called OPM engaged Indonesian in any way that may serve your goal. The group ambushed and killed fellow Papuans and burning their houses. Even not long ago they butchered innocent civilian workers of road and construction projects and were rationalized as a necessity.

With the help of your supporters, you claimed that Indonesian is illegally colonized Papua. You spread your movement internationally and expecting sympathy from international community for your struggle. And lately you asked all Papuans to boycott the Indonesian election because it’s an election for Indonesian not for Papuans. And you also claimed that appeal to boycott the election has succeeded.

Let check all your claimed one by one, whether your argument that your interest is the welfare of people of Papua is valid or not and can be supported by facts. 

  1. You said that Papuan people have been subjected to human rights violations yet there are 191 officials and 56 civilians fell victims to OPM’s crimes since 2009
  2. You claimed that Papuan boycotted the 2019 General Election yet Papua has more than 80% turnout voters in 2019 General Election. One of the highest number when compared to other provinces in Indonesia.
  3. You said that you’ve handed petition by 1,8 million Papuans to the UN Decolonisation Commission but again it’s confirmed as another lie.

And now let see what the government of Indonesia have been done in Papua

  1. 854 schools with more than 157.000 students in 2016
  2. At least 30 hospitals and 394 clinics
  3. At least 4.330 km of Trans-Papua road has been connected

To compare all these number, objectively, anyone can see that whatever the argument you and OPM try to convey to the world, will fail since almost all of them are baseless and are not supported by facts. It is that your interest is hunger and lust for power just like ant thugs anywhere in the world.

But still, among all arguments that rally interest me most is your keen focus on Papua as a race. Personally, I cannot believe anyone still continue to believe in racism. It is an ideology that is invalid and morally wrong. No one can give any excuse for believing that humanity can be divided into certain category without destroying and degrading humanity themselves.  History has proven that racism only creating hatred, misery in the ugliest and dirtiest form of cruelty and yet you still cling on to it. 

You, Mr. Benny Wenda, as Papuan have experienced how degrading it was being treated the way the European colonial treated people in Papua. And there you are, now you use the same stands as what the European has thought you. Shame on you Mr. Benny Wenda. For your personal gain, you are willing to sacrifice the innocent, whether they are Papuan or fellow human being.

Uncovering Lies of OPM Through 2019 National Election

Discussions about democracy means discussing about political morality. Morality that values humans as political subjects and views them as the most important element in political system. Morality that respects human dignity.

Therefore, the establishment process of any political institution from the smallest groups to largest institution known as establishment of a state or government. The process can be seen as the most substantial element in democracy. The process of democracy becomes the face which reflects democracy itself.

Hence, the establishment of a government through elections has always been considered as one of the most important processes in any political life. The quality of a national election has become a benchmark for democratic values it upholds. Presidential elections which are free, fair, and peaceful is a benchmark for a nation’s commitment to respect and protect human rights.

In this regard, Indonesia’s presidential elections on 17th of April, 2019 can be seen as a direct reflection of maturity of democracy in any state.  Indonesia has successfully conducted a national election with more than 190 million Indonesian voters, spread out in over 17.000 of islands and Indonesian expats living in more than 100 nations. The election was held in 810,329 voting posts, and done simultaneously in one day, and was conducted in a peaceful and free manner. This reality is recognized by international community as the largest and most complex national election in the world. The number of participations for the 2019 Indonesian Presidential elections which reached up more than 80% of voters also shows a rise around 12% compared to previous national election held in 2014.

The logical conclusion of the facts mentioned above, is that this national election can be used as valid evidence to counter all accusations done by a small number of individuals under the name of OPM (Free West Papua Movement). On the contrary, the reality that was mentioned has opened the mask, or the veil, in which OPM is only a small number of people who have been drowned in lies which they themselves have created. This national election has become a strong and undeniable evidence which shows that OPM are trapped in their own belief that was based on violence and shortsighted ideology which in turn victimized innocent Papuans. Indonesian Papua Province proves that the national election that was conducted in 1262 voting posts throughout the province was successful. The voting delay that happened in Papua was caused by logistics difficulties faced due to geographical conditions. However, it is seen that logistics difficulties do not lower the enthusiasm of Papuans to participate in the democratic process in Indonesia.

The 2019 national election is the strongest objection that is shown by the people in Papua towards all accusations and lies created by OPM.  It is foolish and extreme absurdity to deny the reality that Papua as an integral part of Indonesia, when Papuans through their hard work have successfully carried out a peaceful democratic process and created a society that respect human dignity. If Benny Wenda and OPM dare to question the legitimacy of the Indonesian election conducted in 810,329 voting posts all over Indonesia which 1262 voting posts are in Papua, with 80% turnout voters, and it was acknowledged by international community as the largest in the world, then Benny Wenda and OPM is simply mad.

1191 TPS (Polling Stations) in Papua Province Carried Out Delayed Election Today

After being delayed due to logistic problems, 1,191 polling stations in Papua Province began a follow-up election Thursday (04/18/2019) morning. KPU (General Election Commission) Chairperson of Papua Province, Theodorus Kossay when confirmed by phone said that there are 1,191 polling stations spread in 20 districts in 7 regencies.

“Yes, that’s the plan, we will vote today except in Keerom, where we still have to wait for the reprinting of the DPRD (local representatives) ballot papers,” Theodorus said on Thursday.

Jayapura City, he explained, was the area with the most polling stations holding the election, with as many as 702 polling stations.

As observed in polling station no 039 in Vim Village, Abepura District, Election logistics arrived at around 6:40 a.m. and KPPS (polling station officers) and witnesses from the Bawaslu and the parties began to carry out ballot calculations. One of the KPPS 039 officers also seemed to be actively going around the compound to announce to local residents that the Election could begin immediately.

Chairman of the KPPS 039 Johanes Tapalawene said, the number of ballots that arrived are 209 for the total voters of 205 people. Meanwhile, at polling station no 057, Entrop Village, South Jayapura District, until 8:13 a.m., the local KPPS were still to count the number of ballots that had just arrived earlier.

In this polling station, quite a lot of people have come and want to vote immediately. A similar thing was also seen in TPS 18 of Entrop Sub-District, South Jayapura District, which until 8:17 a.m. local time the KPPS officers were still carrying out ballot calculations. 7 districts / cities that will hold a Next Election are Jayapura City, Jayapura Regency, Keerom, Intan Jaya, Tolikara, Yahukimo and Jayawijaya.

In 2019 Election, there were 810,193 polling stations throughout Indonesia, and around 0.28% of the voters couldn’t vote on Wednesday, according to KPU.

The following is the number of polling stations (TPS) in 18 districts / cities that collected votes today:

    Jayapura City: 702 polling stations
   Jayapura Regency: 1 polling station
    Keerom Regency: 5 polling stations
    Waropen Regency: 9 polling stations
    Kabupaten Intan Jaya: 288 polling stations
    Tolikara Regency: 24: polling stations
   Pegunungan Bintang Regency: 1 polling station
    Yahukimo Regency: 155 polling stations
    Jayawijaya: 3 polling stations
    South Nias: 113 polling stations
    West Kutai: 20 polling stations
    Banggai: 391 polling stations
    Jambi: 24 polling stations
    Bintan Regency: 2 polling stations
    Banyuasin Regency: 445 polling stations
    Mahakam Ulu Regency: 4 polling stations
    Kutai Kartanegara: 8 polling stations
    Berau: 11 polling stations
    South Nias: 113 polling stations
    West Kutai: 20 polling stations

Picture Source: Bisnis.com

A Review on Chagos, Papua, and Vanuatu

A few days ago, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) delivered its advisory opinion stating that the UK should return Chagos to Mauritius in order to put an end to decolonization, as Chagos is an inseparable part of Mauritius since its independence day in 1968.

ICJ then refused to give a further opinion by valuing this case as a bilateral case between Mauritius and UK.

This case is surely not related to sovereignty issues, but rather an issue of decolonization which has not yet been settled.

However, the decision of ICJ was seen by few parties, who did not fully understand the meaning of the decision and associate this case to Papua issue, as a decision that supports the separation of Papua from Indonesia―making it seem as if the situation in Papua was also an unfinished decolonization process, and that Papua is a colony of Indonesia.

To straighten the fatal mistake of associating the Chagos issue with Papua’s, there should be an understanding on how Papua had become a province and an inseparable part of Indonesia.

History notes down that Papua case was a dispute between Indonesia and The Netherlands, which resulted to the Netherlands giving back Papua to Indonesia via the establishment of New York Agreementin 1962. This agreement was established due to Netherlands’ refusal to surrender all of its colonized areas when Indonesia declared its independence in 1945.

Both cases of Chagos and Papua is basically connected with an international law doctrine, Uti Possidetis Juris (you possess under law), which basically states that newly formed sovereign state should have the same borders as their preceding dependent area before their independence. This principle lays a foundation to defend the newly formed state not to be divided and separated into several different entities by its colonial power. History taught us that some colonial powers tend to divide their colony into several new entities.

Uti Possidetis Juris was then crystalized and strengthened with norms that prohibit colonial (invading) countries to separate or break the colonized countries with territorial integrity and right to self-determination. It was comprised in paragraph 6 of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoplesthat was set through UNGA Resolution No. 1514/XV 1960.

We have witnessed that UK and the Netherlands had taken similar actions where they decided to hold on to some parts of their colonized territory and separated the territory into several entities.

In Papua’s case, the bilateral dispute was then facilitated by UN Secretary-General, where the discussion led to the New York Agreement 1962. The agreement included the process of “handing over” Papua from the Netherlands to the UN, and then back to Indonesia. After Papua was handed back to Indonesia, PEPERA was set to take place. The Preamble Agreementhighlighted that Papua is a dispute matter between Indonesia and The Netherlands.

UN’s involvement in this process was intended to avoid further conflict between Indonesia and the Netherlands, which could have potentially caused an open war. This conflict was then concluded with the ceasefire agreement on the 15th of August 1952.

PEPERA itself was not convened by UN, but by Indonesia itself with the participation of the UN special envoy in it. The term which was used was “plebiscite”, not “self-determination”.

The result of PEPERA was reported to the UN Secretary-General separately both by Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs and the UN special envoy. The Secretary-General then reported this to UN General Assembly. During the discussion in the General Assembly, the Netherlands accepted the results of PEPERA as how it was in the resolution. UN General Assembly was also very “correct” in responding to PEPERA. It did not position itself as a party who endorsed the results of the agreement, but rather only to “take note” on the Sec-General report of PEPERA. This confirmed that PEPERA was not a self-determination mechanism like the one typically done by UN.

The facilitation process done by UN’s Secretary-General (even by using PEPERA) needs to be understood as a way to avoid bilateral conflict between Indonesia and the Netherlands, and not as an implementation of the UNGA Resolution No. 1514 (Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples) and No. 1541 (self-determination).

Therefore, history has witnessed the facts that Papua has always been a part of Indonesia since the declaration of independence in 1945.

In this regard, related to the title of this article, the confusing and misleading support of Vanuatu towards Chagos being handed back to Mauritius and Papua to be separated from Indonesia, also needs to be taking into account.

Vanuatu’s support for Mauritius is rather correct and accurate. However, if the same support is used in the Papua case, then it clearly shows that Vanuatu has double standard which demonstrates its embarrassing hypocrisy.

The author has questioned the ideological foundation that motivates Vanuatu to take such contradicting actions related to Mauritius-Chagos and Indonesia-Papua.

Here are few possibilities:

Vanuatu’s support towards decolonization is built on the international law principal of Uti Possidetis Juris. If this is the answer, Vanuatu accepted such doctrine in relation to Chagos, but rejected it if it is used in the case of Papua. Vanuatu’s response in this case can be regarded as irresponsible and hypocritical.

If that is not the reason, then the next possibility for Vanuatu to build its argument on a racist mindset is that they view the establishment of a country based on a monogamous race. This is very likely as Vanuatu often express such ideas through equally racist jargons, such as Melanesian race, etc in various events. The same things always come up in various Vanuatu’s statements to support Papua separation from Indonesia. They used a simple argument: Melanesian Papua is invaded by Indonesia which is a Malay or Asian nation. Vanuatu completely dismissed the fact that many provinces outside Papua in Indonesia are also majorly populated by Melanesians and fundamentally Indonesia is made up of different races, religions, and beliefs. Perhaps, Vanuatu still adheres to an outdated and ancient mindset.

Another possible reason why Vanuatu took such actions is that it wants to raise its name in the international community and to distract their attention from troublesome and difficulties in their own domestic condition such as acute conflicts in politics, social, and economy. Corruption, poverty, and other social issues has put Vanuatu as one of the poorest and backwards country in the world.

However, in the end, it is only Vanuatu that can explain this strange attitude. One advice the author would give to the leaders of Vanuatu: buy a good mirror, and take a look at yourselves.

Ministry Seeks to Set Record Straight on Papua

Dian Septiari / The Jakarta Post

Indonesia is intensifying efforts to weed out what it calls “the threat of fake news” cast over the country’s easternmost provinces, just as Papuan separatist groups begin shifting from political to legal arguments to justify the local population’s right to self-determination.

The Foreign Ministry has found itself having to defend against legal claims to the right of Papuan self-determination, which it says have no grounds in Indonesia’s own history of independence, according to Damos Agusman, the director general for legal affairs and international treaties.

Damos said the right to self-determination argument was legally unsound as West Papua province was already included alongside Indonesia’s other regions in the country’s declaration of independence from the Dutch in 1945.

Citing an international law principle stipulating that newly formed sovereign states should retain the same borders as that of the preceding dependent area, he said the area now known as West papua was already part of the Dutch East Indies, according to its constitution from 1938.

He also defended the legitimacy of the 1969 “Act of Free Choice”, the result of an agreement between the Netherlands and Indonesia regarding the administration of the territory of West Papua signed in New York in 1962, saying it was a legitimate bilateral deal that could not be tampered with by third parties.

The ministry official informed people of the need to understand the historical context under which issues such as control over Papua was negotiated, especially in the context of colonialism.

“Self-determination must be based on several criteria, otherwise it will create chaos,” Damos told an audience of students in a seminar held at the ministry compound in Jakarta on Thursday (10/1).

The tone of Thursday’s seminar underscored Indonesia’s effort to push back on “fake news” that it says was being spread online by ill-minded activists from Indonesia and abroead.

In the past, the narrative carried by separatist groups focused more on political arguments such as the affinity of the Papuan people to the Melanesians of the South Pacific. “[Nowadays] we have detected that there are massive changes in their arguments – from political arguments to legal arguments that are wrong and misleading,” Damos said.

The issue of Papua has made it into Indonesia’s foreign policy priorities this year, despite years long efforts to stave off concerns from the international community about the country’s fight against separatist rebels.

The conflict between them flared again last month when armed separatists in Nduga, Papua killed more than a dozen people working on a trans-Papua highway construction site that was part of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s efforts to bring development to the province.

The issue was addressed by Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi in her annual policy speech on Wednesday, which saw her pledge to take firm action against any disryptions to Indonesia’s sovereignty, including hoaxes, lies and violent acts carried out by separatists and their supporters.

“Indonesia will not give up even an inch to defend the country’s sovereignty,” Retno said in her speech.

Speaking in the context of the Nduga attacks that led to the death of 19 PT Istaka Karya construction workers and one soldier, Retno said such “disturbances” would not reduce the government’s commitment to improving the welfare of the Papuan people.

On the foreign policy front, she said she would strengthen the Melanesian kinship not only among the provinces in the eastern part of Indonesia but also with the countries of the South Pacific.

Jakarta has drawn criticism for using military approach in dealing with security issues in Papua.

According to a statement by the Human Rights Working Group, sovereignty diplomacy, especially on the issues of Papua, “will be doomed to failure” if the state insists on employing security apreach and repression”.

Source: The Jakarta Post (11 January 2018)


Egianus Kogoya’s Footsteps, the Leader of Armed Criminal Group Who Abolished 31 Road Project Workers in Papua

Egianus Kogoya is suddenly popular. He becomes a subject conversation after the tragedy of the massacre of 31 project workers by the Armed Criminal Group (ACG) in Nduga District, Papua. It is known that Egianus Kogoya is the leader of the group that executed the massacre.
Wakapendam XVII/ Cendrawasih Lieutenant Colonel Inf Dax Sianturi said, Egianus Kogoya was known already got a red report card before the bloody incident occurred.

“So, Egianus Kogoya in our records is a group that is politically at odds with the Republic of Indonesia. Not a few of them have criminal records, “said Dax.

He added, the group led by Egianus Kogoya had 20 to 25 military standard firearms. The weapon was alleged to have been captured by TNI and police personnel.

Before the incident of the massacre of 31 project workers in Nduga Papua, there was a series of red report cards by Egianus Kogoya.

  1. Attack on the Airfield
    The group led by Egianus Kogoya once attacked the airport in Kenyam, the capital of Nduga district.
    A pilot of Trigana Air and two other people were injured and four people were killed by the Egianus Kogoya group.
    It was pity, the four dead victims were consisted of two children and their two parents.
  2. Attacking the TNI Post
    Egianus Kogoya and 40 of his followers attacked the TNI post in Mbua. At least a TNI soldier was killed and one injured due to the attack.
    “So yesterday they also attacked a TNI post and one of our soldiers died and one was injured,” said Dax.
  3. Captivity
    Launched from Tribunnews, the Egianus Kogoya group once took hostage of 15 teachers and medical personnel in the beginning of October in Mependuma Sub-district, Nduga Regency, Papua.
    With all his red report cards, including the massacre of 31 project workers, Egianus Kogoya has been labeled as a terrorist by the TNI.
    “Their actions are more than terrorists. Very inhumane. “The victims built a road to open the lag,” said Dax.