This Christmas, let the world remember the suffering people of West Papua
December 23, 2018
Benny Wenda – My Christmas message as Chairman of The United Liberation Movement for West Papua – ULMWP
On behalf of the ULMWP and the people of West Papua, I would like to wish you all a very Happy Christmas and a Peaceful New Year.
This Christmas, the ULMWP appeals to the international community to remember the people of West Papua, for whom Christmas will be a time of mourning. While people around the world are celebrating Christmas with their families, in West Papua many people are hiding in the jungle, ever fearful of Indonesian attacks, including from the alleged use of white phosphorus.
Therefore, the ULMWP appeals to the international community to pray for the people of West Papua, especially for the traumatised, internally displaced refuges in Nduga, over 1500 of whom have fled their homes and since early December have been living in grave danger in the jungle. They do not know when or where help is coming from but pray every day for the peace and freedom that others enjoy at Christmastime.
Ever since 1st December, there has been a huge rise in human rights violations towards the West Papuan people from the Indonesian state. Reports of bombings and white phosphorus use are more terrifying signals of an increasingly brutal Indonesian crackdown in West Papua which is using ever more extreme means of violently suppressing all forms of dissent.
Christmas is a time when people celebrate the hope of peace on Earth but in West Papua, we are not celebrating this day in peace but with horror and harassment, intimidation and displacement. Around the world, if you have the freedom to commemorate Christmas in peace please do remember the people of West Papua in your hearts, who so desperately wish to one day enjoy the true spirit of Christmas in a free West Papua.
As Chairman of the ULMWP, I would like to thank all our supporters in the international community for all your incredible support and solidarity for West Papua. I would like to particularly thank the government of Vanuatu for their extraordinary support and commitment, along with all other supportive governments around the world, increasingly bringing the issue of West Papua to ever higher international levels.
We hope in our hearts that 2019 will continue to bring great progress in our struggle as we continue to stride together down the long road to freedom. 2019 will mark exactly 50 years since our fundamental right to self-determination was violated by Indonesia in the illegal, so-called “Act of Free Choice”. Therefore, in 2019 we will focus on the fulfillment of our right to self-determination and our commitment to full freedom through a fully democratic, referendum process.
The people of West Papua are now as united as ever and as Chairman of the ULMWP I am deeply honoured to lead and represent my people and our disciplined and committed struggle which continues to strive forward in the face of oppression. We know that one day, we will finally celebrate Christmas in peace at last, in a free West Papua.
Once again, I wish everyone a Happy Christmas and a Peaceful New Year.
May God bless you all.
Chairman of The United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP)