On December 13th, a representative of the Free West Papua movement based in Australia spoke to the media regarding the plan of the movement to push United Nations to hold referendum for West Papua in 2019.
The statement was made by Rex Rumakiek, a representative of the rebel group who has been living in Australia for years. His effort will most probably meet a dead end, as his armed rebel group in Papua have consistently committed a series of organized acts of terror. Rex himself hasn’t visited Papua for a long while, yet he defended the actions of the dangerous armed separatist group.
The plan to push lobby for referendum followed an open letter from Papuan separatist rebels for the Indonesian government. There is nearly zero chance for the United Nations to entertain the Free West Papua lobby, since the very same group is committing atrocities towards civilians in Papua, without any sign of backing down. Any accommodation given by the UN would be a support for a form of terrorism, and this was reflected in the latest failure of the rebel group at the 2018 United Nations General Assembly. During the assembly, the rebel group, which hitchhiked the Vanuatu delegation at the time, was not given any time to speak to the delegates.
The letter was written was written in Bahasa Indonesia, with a threatening tone. The letter contained four points: the first two were responses towards Indonesian government, and the latter were statements regarding their stance as an armed rebel group.
First, the armed rebels made their intention clear that they are not going to surrender into Republic of Indonesia. They rejected the request from Indonesian government to turn themselves in to the authorities. As a response towards Indonesian government, this statement is a confirmation from the rebel group that they are, and should be regarded as criminals.
Second, they rejected all offers from Indonesia to negotiate and make peace in any form. This statement is in total contrast with their effort to push a lobby in the United Nations.
Third, they declared their willingness to sacrifice everything in order to prevent surrender and force independence.
It clearly seems that the armed rebels are more than willing to sacrifice the peaceful life of native Papuans. Indeed, many native Papuan lives have been sacrificed by the rebel group, in the name of their ‘struggle’ for independence.
In 2013, the former chief of armed rebel group named Goliat Tabuni declared to the Papuans that his armed group would not hesitate to execute local native Papuans who supported Indonesian government side in the West Papua separatism issue.
This month, shortly after killing 19 defenseless construction workers in Nduga district, Papua, the rebel group brought firefights into the villages in the district. Thousands of local residents in Nduga were forced to flee their villages since the armed rebel group who committed the massacre chose to hide inside those villages. The situation was made use by the armed group to frame and antagonize Indonesian government, by saying that Indonesian military are launching ‘attacks’ against the villages.
Rex Rumakiek has straightforwardly defended the act of massacre. He called the massacre as ‘simply a result of tension’, and that the tragedy was ‘bound to happen’. Rumakiek did not seem to care about the ‘non-violent approach’ promised by the Free West Papua as an organization back then when the rebel group started trying to establish some international presence.
Fourth, they pledged to keep the violence on happening as long as they are not being granted independence from Republic of Indonesia. Casualties are coming from both civilian and combatant side.
The constant use of violence basically creates a perennial hostage situation in Papua. The armed rebel group is holding the whole Papua and its civilians as their hostage, and they are trying to ransom the world for political interests. In the modern world, this strategy is widely known by one simple word: Terrorism.