Benny Wenda’s New Year message for 2015

January 1, 2015

Office of Benny Wenda letterhead
This statement was written by Free West Papua Campaign founder Benny Wenda, in late December 2014

Benny Wenda

Dear friends, supporters, fellow Papuans and everyone reading this message,

On behalf of the Free West Papua Campaign and my people I would like to wish you all a very Happy and peaceful New Year, 2015.

I would also like to thank you with all my heart for all the outstanding support and advocacy which you have shown for a Free West Papua this year. This year has been very successful in raising a lot of awareness and increasing political momentum for our campaign and both I and my people are extremely grateful for all the letters you have written, the demonstrations you have joined, flags raised and for all the other activities undertaken this year in support of a Free West Papua.

I feel that 2014 has been a very important year for the campaign as we have received truly remarkable support and solidarity from almost every corner in the world. This year I have witnessed churches, civil organisations, governments and opposition groups from around the world, including Melanesia and the Pacific, standing up without fear to support freedom for the people of West Papua. We have seen the historic launching of the Free West Papua Campaign office in Perth Australia, global demonstrations for a Free West Papua and two of the world’s Prime Ministers giving hope to my people by raising our struggle at the United Nations. This year I undertook official visits all around the world to meet with dignitaries and others; and along with my people we watched with our hearts filled with hope as our national flag, the Morning Star was raised all around the world on the 1st of December to spread essential awareness and core support from so many countries globally.

An historic long march in Pot Vila, Vanuatu in December 2014, calling for freedom and independence for West Papua

History was also made in December when West Papuan leaders, representing all the major independence groups came together in Vanuatu to form a new international organisation, the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP). ULMWP will work to lobby governments, organisations and international bodies such as the Melanesian Spearhead Group and the United Nations to push for West Papua’s recognition as a nation with people who have the inalienable right to self-determination.

However, whilst support internationally is increasing significantly day by day; the situation within West Papua is getting worse all the time. We have witnessed the jailing, torture and murder of so many West Papuans simply for expressing their desire to be free or just for being Papuans in a country under Indonesian military occupation. 80% of my people boycotted the Indonesian Presidential Elections this year as we know that any president we vote for will only use our votes to legitimate the occupation of our country. We have already seen how the new Indonesian President, Mr Joko Widodo has no plans to bring positive change to our people but has instead presided over the continuing genocide in West Papua. During the new President’s reign, foreign journalists have been jailed, peaceful activists shot and 6 West Papuans massacred, 5 of them being only schoolchildren.

It is for reasons such as these horrific cases that my people are still desperately in need of more help and support from all over the world to help us in our struggle for freedom. Please continue to tell your friends, write to your elected representatives and help to campaign in any way you can to help to raise the profile of West Papua and increase our support base on a political and moral level.

Benny attends the launch of the Free West Papua Campaign office in Perth, Australia

Benny attends the launch of the Free West Papua Campaign office in Perth, Australia

I am very confident that 2015 will be a year where much more international pressure will be raised for my people’s freedom and where many new steps and leaps will be taken for our campaign towards a Free and independent West Papua. Once again, I would like to thank you all for all the wonderful help you have shown and continue to show my people. Let us continue to strive together, hope together and believe in our hearts together, in 2015 and onwards, for the freedom of West Papua at last.

Thank you all very much, may you all have a happy and peaceful New Year.

My regards and best wishes,

Benny Wenda
Founder of the Free West Papua Campaign