I received this message in the mail from Brother Budi Hernawan OFM, Postdoctoral Fellow, Regulatory Institutions Network, ANU College of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University.

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National Papua Solidarity (NAPAS) condemns the Papuan police decision to ban the plan to organise public demonstration in Papua to commemorate the transfer of administration of then West New Guinea (now Papua) from UNTEA to Indonesia on 1 May 1963. This decision, which was also explicitly endorsed by the Governor of Papua, breached the freedom of expression and association which is enshrined by the 1945 Indonesian Constitution. The ban also represents a reactive, paranoid and discriminative approach of the Indonesian government that limits the exercise of the civil and political rights of Papuans. Furthermore, the decision would undermine the existing processes and initiatives to find a peaceful solution for Papua conflicts. Finally, the ban to commemorate the 50th anniversary event illustrates the Indonesian government position that aims to monopolise the interpretation of Papuan history for the sake of the state, not for Papuans.

According to the 1962 New York Agreement, the Netherlands transferred the adminstration over West New Guinea territory to the United Nations Temporary Executive Authority (UNTEA), which then passed it on to Indonesia on 1 May 1963. The four main points of the New York Agreement that we would like to highlight during this 50th anniversary are as follows:

  1. The transfer was limited to “full administration responsibility,” not the transfer of sovereignty (Article XIV);
  2. During the transition period, Indonesia held the primary duty to undertake “further intensification of the education of the people, of the combating of illiteracy, and of the advancement of their social, cultural and economic development” (Article XV);
  3. At the end of 1969, under the supervision of the UN Secretary General, the act of free choice would be held for Papuans in order to determine its political status “whether they wish to remain with Indonesia; or whether they wish to sever their ties with Indonesia” (Article XVIII);
  4. Indonesia “will honour those commitments” (Article XXII para 3) to guarantee fully the rights of Papuans, including the rights of free speech and freedom of movement and of assembly (Article XII para 1).

Reflecting this historic moment of our history, we regrettably highlight the fact that Papuans were never invited to participate in any process of the formulation and implementation of the New York Agreement either by the Netherlands, Indonesia or the United Nations. We question the extent by which the Indonesian government has fulfilled its duty to provide high quality of education, health and other public services as stipulated by the New York Agreement. Furthermore, Papuans’s rights of free speech and freedom of movement and of assembly were not fully guaranteed and protected as documented in various historical reports around this transition period.

When both the Governor of Papua and the Chief of Police of Papua deliberately ban any activities of Papuans to commemorate this historic moment, history repeats itself. Papuans’s rights of free speech of free speech and freedom of movement and of assembly were not protected and guaranted then and now. Therefore, we question both the local authorities in Papua and the national authorities of Indonesia whether they treat Papuans as citizens or just inhabitants.

Regardless of the ban, in Jakarta, NAPAS will organise the Papuan cultural night festival “One Papua, One Struggle” to mark this anniversary. We are well aware that suppressing our memory of the past not only denies our rights and freedom but more importantly, our existence. The historical reports have already revealed that the current and ongoing Papua conflicts are rooted in the very historical date, 1 May 1963, when UNTEA transferred Papua into Indonesia. But the launching of “One Papua” has a deeper meaning. After fifty years Papuans remain divided, not united, and have not developed a strong sense of solidarity among the oppressed. Taking into account this reality, the cultural night will be an opportunity for NAPAS to reflect on the ways to unify Papua’s struggle for its liberation and to strengthen solidarity among the oppressed Papuans as well as to mark 1 May as the day to unify Papuan solidarity.

Media Contact: Zely Ariane, Chairperson of NAPAS (Mobile +62-8158126673

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NEWS REPORT – LINK – May 01, 2013

Jayapura & Sorong. The Indonesian government’s celebration of the 50th anniversary of the integration of Papua on Wednesday was overshadowed by pro-independence flags being raised across the region and reports of a deadly shooting of separatist activists by police.

Police allegedly killed two activists and arrested six others after reporters witnessed them raising the Free Papua Organization’s Morning Star flag on Jalan Raya Adibay, Biak, on Wednesday morning.

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