Philippines — Asia-Pacific Solidarity Coalition (APSOC) and Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) solidarity activists today held a silent protest in front of Indonesian Embassy in Makati City in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of West Papua’s declaration of independence from Dutch rule.
Fifty years ago on the 1st of December 1961, in the then Dutch colony of West New Guinea, The West Papuan flag, also known as the Morning Star was flown for the first time officially beside the Dutch Tricolour. History narrates that the Dutch were about to give the West Papuan people their freedom, but it is one of the great tragedies that at their moment of freedom it was brutally crushed and West Papua was handed over to Indonesia in 1963.
West Papuans will take to the streets today to engage in peaceful protests and flag raising ceremonies to commemorate the events of 1 December 1961 and to call for Indonesia and the international community to respect their right to self-determination under international law.
Filipino activists under APSOC and PM sported ‘black armbands’ in solidarity to the people of West Papua while holding morning star flags and images of human rights violations in the said territory.
“Five decades have passed but until today the people of West Papua still clamor for genuine justice and independence. The Indonesian government should once and for all halt the excessive use of military force and any forms of military intervention in West Papua,” said Egoy Bans, an APSOC member.
“An initiative for a peaceful and meaningful dialogue in West Papua must be initiated. However, the Indonesian government should first recognize and respect the Papuan peoples’ civil and political rights, and their economic, social and cultural rights. There is no way a political problem can be solved militarily,” explained Yuen Abana of Partido ng Manggagawa.
Meanwhile, reports said that Indonesian security forces stormed the third Papuan Peoples’ Congress on 19th October 2011 in Abepura, Papua. The brutal attack ended the peaceful gathering with fatal casualties. Three dead bodies were found in the vicinity following the attack and three more people are reported missing. In connection to the event, around 300 people were arrested and mistreated. Six people, including the organisers of the event, have been arrested and face charges of treason.