Call for Pacific regional groups to investigate Papua chemical attacks

The United Liberation Movement for West Papua is calling for Pacific regional groups to investigate the alleged use of chemical weapons in Indonesia’s Papua region.

The movement’s chair, Benny Wenda, said the Pacific Islands Forum and the Melanesian Spearhead Group should urgently send fact-finding missions to Nduga regency.

This comes after unverified reports of the suspected use of white phosphorus weapons by Indonesia’s military against civilians in Nduga.

Indonesia last month called the claims “totally baseless”.

But Mr Wenda said its security operations in Nduga had created a “humanitarian crisis”.

In a statement, he said Indonesia should also grant the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights access to West Papua to complete its own fact-finding mission.

Mr Wenda said humanitarian aid organisations should also be allowed in to Nduga to “relieve the suffering of West Papuans”.

A massive joint police and military operation has been underway in the remote Highlands regency, as well as neighbouring regencies, since December, in a hunt for members of the West Papua Liberation Army.

The armed group is responsible for the killings of at least 16 Indonesian construction workers and one soldier in November.

The joint operation has sparked sporadic shootouts between the Liberation Army and Indonesia’s military, with at least one soldier and one rebel fighter shot dead this year.

Source: RadioNZ

West Papua advocate and National Capital District Governor, Powes Parkop, is renewing his call on the PNG Government to review its position on West Papua.

Parkop threw his support for a legally-supervised referendum for the local Papuans to decide whether they still want to be integrated with Republic of Indonesia or become an independent State.

The NCD Governor said a properly supervised and legally conducted referendum in accordance with international law will solve this crisis.

Parkop is urging the PNG and Indonesian Government to take a bold stand and help the closest Papuan brothers.

He made this call after an escalation of conflicts and clashes which 16 labourers of West Papua were killed.

Source: EMTV PNG

Indonesian military and police have seized the West Papua National Committee headquarters in the Southern city of Timika.

Dozens of officers descended on the building on Monday, tearing down walls and ordering an end to operations.

The Jakarta Post reported the local district police chief saying 80 military and police personnel monitored New Year celebrations at the headquarters on Monday.

Agung Marlianto said officers ordered Free West Papua activists to remove all insignia and not to shout freedom slogans.

Police Chief in Timika, Agung Marlianto
Police Chief in Timika, Agung Marlianto Photo: wikicommons

Officers painted over and knocked down walls displaying the red and white colours of the independence movement.

Mr Marlianto said Papuans won’t be allowed to use any Free West Papua symbols, including the Morning Star.

West Papua National Committee spokesperson Ones Suhuniap told the Jakarta Post the takeover was immoral and improper.

The committee’s headquarters will now be used as a joint military-police post.