On December 18 2018, A West Papuan separatist living at his hideout in United Kingdom, Benny Wenda, “Chairman of The United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), published a letter on his personal website, demanding a number of things from Indonesian government.
He suggested that “The Indonesian President must immediately withdraw the Indonesian military from West Papua” Withdrawing military personnel and leaving helpless civilians behind, in the hands of armed criminal group, is rarely a brilliant idea. The Indonesian forces are fulfilling their obligation of apprehending criminals and protecting West Papua from armed groups.
The letter was an evidence that we cannot rely on the words of armed separatist leader to forge peace in West Papua, and that Indonesian government must act with conviction.
He did not even spend one single sentence to show some condolence for 19 innocent construction workers barbarically murdered by his fellow criminal separatist comrades. Instead, he continued to blow some hot air on how Indonesia have committed human rights violations, several decades ago.
Quoting estimations from academics, and taking the biggest number possible as main reference shows than Benny Wenda himself is lacking the much needed dedication to write a proper open letter for public consumption.
In spite of all that, he took the opportunity to shift the blame towards Indonesian military, for “internally displacing” 1500 local residents. In fact, the local Papuans left their villages for no other reason than the fact that the Papuan separatist criminals decided to hide in those villages, protecting themselves in cowardice from Indonesian forces which are going after them.
Again and again, he mentioned how the past Indonesian regime in 1960s used violence and committed human rights violations. He argued that Indonesian government’s presence in Papua has been illegal for the past 50 years, an incomprehensible statement since Indonesia has acquired international recognition over Papua as its province, way back since the declaration of Independence.
“As Chairman of the ULMWP, I also call upon Indonesian President Joko Widodo to immediately begin discussions around implementing a referendum in West Papua, as the only means of ensuring a peaceful conflict resolution in West Papua.” – Benny Wenda
There is no logical correlation between resolving human rights cases and granting the wish for separation from the Republic of Indonesia. In any case, the process of bringing justice for both victims and perpetrators of human rights violations would be easier under the accountability of current Indonesian government administration.
He did call upon the United Nations to “Organise a Human Rights Fact-Finding Mission to be sent to West Papua, to investigate and document the human rights situation and to make key recommendations for all parties in addressing human rights in West Papua”. This is entirely contradictory with the militaristic approach adopted by their armed criminal comrades.
By all means, peaceful settlements on native Papuan rights, which are being accommodated by special autonomy laws and funds from Indonesian government, cannot go hand in hand with a rebellion for independence.
“…the ULMWP is committed to entirely peaceful efforts in ensuring a lasting peaceful solution for the crisis in West Papua” – Benny Wenda
The Papuan people cannot rely on the power of separatist leaders, as they have been proven powerless against the weapons of their own militia groups. It is now up to the Indonesian government to stop the killing and save Papuan people, restoring their peaceful and prosperous life.