Chairman of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua Benny Wenda - Photo: Privacy

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories)Free Papuans Movement (FPM) has been handed a petition to the United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights Chief, Michelle Bachelet, which demanding an independence referendum from Indonesia.

The petition claims to represent 1.8 million West Papuans has delivered in a meeting officially facilitated by the Vanuatu government in Geneva on Friday (01/25).

Chairman of the United Liberation Movement (ULM) for West Papua Benny Wenda, said that the UN would send a fact-finding mission to the province to substantiate allegations of human rights violations.

“With the official support from the government of Vanuatu and on behalf of the people of West Papua, I presented this petition, signed by more than 1.8 million West Papuan people to the United Nations,” he said in a written statement.

Wenda also asked that the petition highlighted Papuan thirst for a legitimate self-determination process. Just over a thousand selected Papuans, or only 0.2 percent of the territory’s population at the time, voted to be part of Indonesia in 1969’s so-called Act of Free Choice.

“I handed over what I call the bones of the people of West Papua, because so many people have been killed. It is my life mission and purpose to do all I can to ensure West Papuans are given an Internationally-Supervised Vote, a referendum,” he added.

According to him, the Papuans risked arrest, torture and assassination to sign this petition calling for their right to self-determination to be fulfilled. And the Liberation Movement was working tirelessly to have the matter addressed in the UN General Assembly and the Decolonization Committee.

He claims, that the signatures for the petition were finally gathered together in 2017, with the petition having circulated through the Papua‘ region over a number of months, with the population of around 3.5 million.

However, Indonesian government has questioned the veracity of the claim that 1.8 million people signed the petition, and accuse him as a separatist who spreads misinformation about Papua issues.

In the meeting, he speaks to Bachelet about the situation in the Nduga region post tragedy, where at least 11 people had been killed and more may have died after fleeing into the bush to escape Indonesian forces, and 22,000 people had been displaced.

He said thousands of civilians in the region of Nduga were at risk of starvation because the Indonesian military was blocking the flow of aid into the area, as well as efforts to investigate the conflict.

The Liberation Movement also claims that Nduga villages are being targeted by airstrikes and chemical weapons have been denied by both Indonesian government and military officials.

But, Provincial military official said the allegation was unfounded. There are no evidence of what Wenda has accused (Indonesia and the military) of. Moreover, the Free Papua Movement has killed the innocent civilians.

Last December, members of the FPM claimed responsibility for killing at least 16 people working on a bridge on a high-profile road project, and a soldier, in the Nduga district.

The FPM has said it views the project workers as members of the military and casualties in their war against the government. Then, the governor of the province y called to end to hunt for the rebels, so didn’t make the village were traumatized.

But, the military rejected to stop the search for the armed group. For Indonesia, the group must be pursued and destroyed to settle for the soul of deceased workers.

Written by Daniel Deha, Email: theinsiderstories@gmail.com

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