People's Issues


Nation-wide rallies in support of West Papua

Written by: Nick on


6 September 2019

Australia-wide rallies in support of West Papuan freedom and independence are to be held in the coming week.

At a time when there is intensified Indonesia repression of West Papuan activists, Australians must stand with their West Papuan brothers and sisters.

A poster with details for all the states and territories accompanies this article.


On the 17th August, Indonesia’s Independence Day, West Papuan students in Surabaya were physically attacked by Indonesian civilians.

They were called monkeys and apes. The attack was backed by the Police who then arrested the West Papuan students and accused them of dirtying the Indonesian flag.

As a result of this incident, Papuans held massive protests actions in all parts of West Papua. The actions have been the largest protests in a very long time. The Parliament buildings were set on fire.

6,000 additional troops were sent to West Papua to quell the protests. The armed forces fired directly into crowds and 6 people so far have been killed. Tear gas and water cannon have been deployed.

Many Papuans have been arrested and are being charged with MAKAR. This is a charge of treason against the State and can lead to life imprisonment.

The internet was shut down for 2 weeks. Four Australians have been deported. As a result of undercover journalists providing media coverage, all overseas tourism to West Papua has been banned.

No journalists are allowed to visit. 

What do Papuans want?

The following demands are being put forward by the ULMWP, the United Liberation Movement for West Papua. This is a peak body representing all the civil forces inside West Papua.

It currently has a petition lodged with the U.N. signed by 1,800,000 people calling for a referendum on self-determination. They are seeking to have a vote on this held soon.

It is being sponsored  by Vanuatu and supported by many Pacific Island countries  and a host of ex- colonial countries in South America and Africa. 


We say NO to all forms of racism and discrimination against Papuan students, children, women and men.

We say YES to Papuans right to self-determination.

1.  That Jokowi ‘s administration must include the voices and participation of West Papuans in all processes of tackling racism and discrimination against Papuans.
2.       That Jokowi implement the visit of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelette (former Chilean president) to identify the  root cause of the conflict now -  as called for by the leaders  of the Pacific Islands Forum
 3.    That Jokowi and related – ministries withdraw all elements of the TNI and Police forces from peaceful rallies in Tanah Papua and  throughout Indonesia.
4.     The media restrictions be removed to allow independent reporting on the grassroots causes of conflict and, to also provide protection for local journalists and the people.
We should also be demanding that the Australian government:

* cease all military equipment supplies, military aid, joint exercises and all cooperation with the Indonesian military (TNI) until Indonesia  withdraws it from West Papua, compensates all its victims and take steps to have TNI officers suspected of war crimes and human rights abuses face justice
* withdraw from the Lombok Treaty
* call on the UN to supervise an independence referendum of the West Papuan people to determine their own political future in the presence of a UN peacekeeping force
* call on the UN to establish a war crimes tribunal to try TNI officers accused of war crimes and human rights abuses
* call on the UN to establish an international ban on all military cooperation with the TNI until it has withdrawn from West Papua, compensated all  the victims of the TNI and sacked those guilty of war crimes


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