Defending West Papua in Europe

Amsterdam, 27 August 2012

More than 10 years after the implementation of special autonomy, the pros and cons on the issue of Papua and West Papua continues, particularly in relation to political issues of independence versus integration. In order to explain the objective situation in Papua and West Papua, a group of Papuan traditional leaders lobbied to Europe.


The group which is comprised of the Chief of Dani, Baliem Valley and George Awi head of the Indigenous Peoples Association of Port Numbay feel how difficult it is to explain the real conditions in Papua to the parties in Europe that have been fed misinformation by the Papuan separatist terrorists in Europe.

Many European lawmakers  who have never been to Papua heard only one-sided information from Papuan independence lobbyists. For example, the Dutch parliamentarian Henk C. Omel from Christian Democrat Party (Christian-Democratic Appeal – CDA) and several other Dutch Parliamentarians who simply associated the Leopard tank sales rejection with the issue of Papua.

In Germany, the Papuan traditional leaders try their best to explain the latest development in their homeland. Unfortunately, some separatist terrorist supporters influenced the organizer to move the place of conference from Humboldt University to a Church Hall in Berlin. The show must go on, and for the first time indigenous Papuans clearly defend their own land by having an open debate with Westerners.

The voice of Papuans is the central theme of the conference and it seems that many participants start to understand better after the conference.

One of the messages from the voice of Papuans is about their hope on special autonomy. There is a view of the future where Papuans will no longer live in marginalization. No more violent conflict either from Free West Papua Movement or from Indonesian military. Papuan will have a better life with Indonesia because the nation paid a strong attention to Papua with the provision of rights within the legal framework of Indonesia. The special autonomy law is indeed a manifestation of the nation’s concern for Papuan people.

One of the speakers of the conference, Alex Flor, 49 years old, an NGO activist who able to speak Bahasa Indonesia fluently, realized the complexity of Papua problems. He does understand that the problems are ranging from special autonomy issue to the establishment of special unit for acceleration of development in Papua and West Papua.

On the special autonomy, he asserts that Jakarta tends to blame local elite for being unable to manage multi trillion special autonomy fund. On the other hand, separatist Papuan accuses the special autonomy fund as a Jakarta’s tactic to divide the Papuan so people will blame each other.

Flor had also noted that one crucial issue in Papua is not only struggle for independence, but also expropriation of traditional land for palm oil plantation and mining companies. (WPU)

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