Shooting of West Papuans, including children, by the Indonesian military condemned

Jabob Rumbiak
From Jabob Rumbiak, spokesperson for the United Liberation Movement for West Papua

The ULMWP condemns the ongoing Indonesian military operations in the Timika area of West Papua, which according to reports have already left at least one West Papuan man killed and two West Papuan children shot.

On 6th April 2018, the Indonesian military reportedly raided Opitawak village and shot dead 43-year-old village chief Timotius Omabak. They also shot two West Papuan children; Iron Wave (7 years old) and Tetius Omabak (8 years old). According to local information, the Indonesian military forced residents out of Opitawak and burned people’s houses. There are also reports that two more people were shot by the Indonesian military yesterday. This information has been conveyed by the Reverend Izak Onowame.

All these actions are totally unacceptable and the blame rests with the Indonesian military and the Indonesian government. We fully condemn the Indonesian military’s actions in the Timika area, especially the killing of innocent West Papuan children and civilians. These are Crimes against Humanity in West Papua, for which the Indonesian military and government must be held accountable.

Therefore, ULMWP urgently calls upon the Indonesian military to immediately pull out from the Timika area and to begin withdrawing from West Papua itself, as under International Law the presence of the Indonesian military in West Papua is illegal. The Indonesian military must stop pursuing West Papuan people, raiding their villages and shooting them, especially women and children, many of whom are becoming refugees in the jungle and are now facing hunger.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has been to West Papua, and even to the Timika area many times but every time he visits, there is only more violence and more bloodshed. Evidence has shown that over the years, Jokowi’s visits to West Papua and his promotion of infrastructure are merely symbolic. Roads and buildings cannot cover up the legacy of genocide and Crimes Against Humanity in West Papua. This is not a solution to the crisis in West Papua.

The only solution is for West Papua to be brought back to the agenda of the United Nations, and for the UN to review what really happened when our fundamental right to self-determination was violated by the Indonesian government in the 1969 Act of NO Choice. This is the only road forward for a genuine, peaceful resolution for the conflict in West Papua.

We still have the fundamental right to self-determination and if President Jokowi and the Indonesian government genuinely respect the people of West Papua, they must allow us to choose our own destiny in an Internationally Supervised Vote.


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