MEDIA STATEMENT July 26, 2001
Leadership change in Indonesia and the threat of military power revival under the country’s new President Megawati Sukarnoputri will do little to dampen Melanesian nationalism in West Papua or diminish the province’s growing demand for self-determination and independence.
The statement, issued in Port Moresby today in the wake of Indonesia’s dramatic political developments of the past few days culminating in the forced dethroning of former President Abdurrahman Wahid and elevation of his one-time deputy, Vice President Sukarnoputri, to the country’s chief executive post, reaffirms the position of the Papua Council or Dewan Papua, the broad-based indigenous West Papuan organization spearheading the independence campaign.
“Irrespective of the power game unfolding in Jakarta, we remain unperturbed in our noble resolve to pursue every conceivable endeavor to reclaim our homeland and free our people from foreign domination, misery and annihilation,” the statement said, quoting Mr. Franzalbert Joku, Papua Council Presidium’s Papua New Guinea-based chief international spokesperson.
“No amount of persuasion or intimidation will sway us from our conviction that ours is a genuine and legitimate cause. We are seeking what is rightfully ours and we will not rest until that mission is fully accomplished one way or the other.”
In congratulating Ms. Sukarnoputri, Mr. Joku cautioned the new President against contemplating military solution over West Papua and other trouble regions such as Aceh and Maluku. Instead, in his statement, he appealed to the new Indonesian leader and her incoming Cabinet to support the Papua Council initiative on peaceful dialogue as a way to reaching an amicable resolution.
“I urge her (Ms. Sukarnoputri) and the new government of Indonesia to accept their responsibility to protect the basic rights of their citizens, including that of the people of West Papua, and make vigorous efforts at exploring alternatives to repression to resolve the multitude of political problems in that part of the world,” Mr. Joku said.
“Generally speaking, however, the change of leadership in Indonesia is a welcome development, as it is a matter of national, regional and international concern that a peaceful transition to democracy has a chance in Indonesia and its 200 million people saved from violent military rule and human rights violations.”
Franzalbert Joku International Relations Moderator Papua Council Presidium Telephone/Facsimile (675) 323-0832 E-mail: email@example.com
Paul Barber TAPOL, the Indonesia Human Rights Campaign 25 Plovers Way, Alton Hampshire GU34 2JJ Tel/Fax: 01420 80153 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Internet: www.gn.apc.org/tapol