THE STRUGGLE OF THE PEOPLE OF PAPUA “The Struggle to Uphold Self-Worth”
‘Value’ can also be called ‘worth’. In our daily lives we come across so many things that can be bought or sold with money or which can be exchanged for other things in a system of barter / exchange. Can ‘Self-Worth’ also be bought and sold with money? Can it alao be exchanged for objects of this world? No, self-worth can’t be bought or sold or traded for worldly things no matter what they are. The personal self-worth of a human being is something that is the most beautiful aspect of all of God’s creation. It cannot be pawned or mortgaged, can’t be bought or sold and can’t be traded or exchanged for worldly things no matter what they may be. It can be said that the self-worth of a human is the most basic right of every human-being. A right that has been freely given by God our Creator at the moment we were still in the womb, existing through to the time of birth. As such every human-being has the freedom to use this basic right according to existing norms. Any laws that restrict the use of this basic right that is given to each person is a violation of their human rights and a denial of the works of God’s Creation. Works that are indeed the most magnificent of all God’s creatures. Self-worth is the very dignity of humanity.
The dignity of humanity as a most basic right, cannot be interfered with by anyone or in any way or by any power, other than by God the Creator. It is our very self-worth that is referred to as ‘human dignity’ and this must be respected and held in the highest esteem by both ourselves and by others regardless of all things.
Every human-being is a part of a family and every family is part of a community, in-turn part of a sub-clan and a clan; and every clan is part of a nation of people. Every family, every sub-clan, every clan, every nation also has basic rights that must be protected and respected by all persons and by all organisations no matter who or what they may be. This is also a basic right of the indigenous peoples of a land.
One particular basic right of the indigenous peoples of a land is to determine the fate of their people (of their nation) for themselves. To have full sovereignty to organise their own state themselves and to protect their land and community and to advance their general prosperity and join in maintaining world peace. The self-worth of a nation cannot be bought or sold, cannot be mortgaged and cannot be exchanged for worldly things no matter what the nature of the goods. The self-worth of a nation of people is their basic right and includes their right to choose the destiny of their people and to full sovereignty. This right of the indigenous peoples is the most basic and most crucial and it cannot be interfered with by any person or by any system or any type of law. Every nation has the right to full sovereignty and every other nation in the world is obligated to respect and support that of other nations of people in the world that do not yet have their own systems of modern government or which have been prevented from reaching self-government because of them having been a colonised territory. To respect and support other nations which have been colonised continually throughout modern history such that the indigenous peoples of the land have had to struggle for self-determination or struggle for their legal status to be recognised by other nations of the world and by the United Nations.
One such nation that has been forced to struggle continuously in this way until now against colonizing powers to have its full sovereignty recognised just as other independent nations of the world have until now, is the nation of Papua. The Struggle of the People (the nation) of Papua in the state of West Papua is a struggle to restore the right of sovereign independence to the people (nation) of Papua after having been annexed by the Republic of Indonesia through the Trikora as declared by the then President Soekarno on 19 December 1961. A act of annexation that was given full support by the U.S.A through a high level of political diplomacy which weakened the position of the Dutch Government and the Papuan people. This was achieved through a number of agreements including the New York Agreement made on 15 August 1962. The New York Agreement was an agreement between the Dutch and the Republic of Indonesia and which was mediated by the United Nations with total support by the U.S.A in their own economic and political interests. Mediated without any involvement of the Papuan people (nation) even though the New York Agreement was clearly to determine the future for the people (nation) of) Papua.The New York Agreement was a proclamation and determination that amounted to a massive ‘theft’ of the sovereign independence of the nation of Papua. It was an action recommended to Indonesia to enable the exploitation and thereby destruction of our lands and water and the the annihilation of the people of Papua through various types of military operations and undercover policies. Intentions of annihilation of the ethnic Papuan people that were ‘wrapped up tidily’ in neat programs and all ‘nicely ordered’ and systematic.
This systematic annihilation began with what was called ‘the Act of Free Choice’ in 1969 where only a mere 1025 Papuans were allowed to ‘represent’ the people of Papua. An act which was neither acceptable legally or morally. It was not acceptable legally, since the method of implementation of the arrangement violated both international practice and provisions that had been determined in the New York Agreement. Even though it had been declared as a so-called ‘Umbrella Law’. Neither was it acceptable morally as in both the preparation and implementation stages occurred acts of violence - both physical and mental - against Papuans and the killing of Papuans who rejected the presence of the Republic of Indonesia in the land of Papua.
In brief since 1962 the Republic of Indonesia has constantly carried out a military invasion of the whole of Papua in order to frighten, to subdue and to conquer the people of Papua (killing not only physically but also psychologically) and using the most brutal methods without any sign of a humanitarian concern. Due to these factors the Act of Free Choice in the nation of Papua is said to be ‘flawed both legally and morally’.
The consequences of the annexation of the sovereign independence of the nation of Papua and the Act of Free Choice which followed was amongst other things marginalisation, discrimination, injustices and the making of Papuans a minority in their own land, resulting in the creation of a direction towards the annihilation of ethnic Papuans. Factors that constitute not only human rights violations but which amount to a humanitarian evil.
The self-worth of the people of Papua as a human community which was created by God is neither respected nor protected by the State of Indonesia. In fact the State of Indonesia through its systems has applied various strategies to ‘burn’ the people of Papua and thus return them to the earth. This is evidenced nowadays where Papuans who are now a minority, have been isolated and are being slowly annihilated (‘slow-motion genocide’). Accordingly the only way to save the people (the nation) of Papua from this ‘humanitarian disaster’ which is truly horrifying (though the means may be hidden to the world), is through a struggle to uphold the self-worth of the nation (the people). A struggle which has at its peak full sovereign independence for the nation of Papua.
The Struggle for Self-Worth of the nation of Papua is an effort to uphold human dignity and human rights of the indigenous Papuan community in the State of West Papua. The writer is convicted – though no-one knows whether it will happen in the near future or later – that eventually the nation of Papua will receive recognition by the world of its full sovereignty, just as every other nation on this earth has had the same right to independence. In truth the community of the people of Papua had already been given full sovereignty as acclaimed at the peak of the I Papuan National Congress by the National Committee on 19 October 1961 and which was being handed over in stages as commenced with the Political manifest of the Nation of Papuan and which was continue to the peak of the celebrations on 1 December 1961. However this recognition was to be promptly discontinued when the nation was annexed into the Republic of Indonesia.
The Struggle of the People (nation) of Papua is a struggle for the upholding of our self-worth to return and restore the sovereign independence of the nation of Papua which was annexed onto the Republic of Indonesia. The Struggle of the nation of Papua is also the fulfilment of the Lord’s prophecy. The Republic of Indonesia will not be capable of muffling the Papuan Freedom (independence) ideology that flows from the blood of the veins of indigenous Papuans and which is widely supported by the international community which cares and is sympathetic to the humanitarian emergency of our situation. A humanitarian emergency that is real and violent in the land of West Papua but the horror of which is hidden from the eyes of the world.
There is no one else who will rise up and save the people (nation) of Papua from this crisis of oppression. Only Papuans themselves are left to stand strong and banish the oppression with the help of God and those with a caring heart in the International Community. We must struggle to reach the longing of the people (nation) of Papua which is total freedom. Amen! ‘Unity without limits to our Struggle until Victory!’
Written by: Selpius Agustinus Bobii
The General Chairperson
Front PEPERA West Papua (Front PEPERA PB)
Also as a Political Prisoner of Conscience in the Abepura Prison, Jayapura, West Papua.