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As chairman of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), I hereby call upon Indonesian President Joko Widodo to immediately withdraw all Indonesian military personnel from West Papua. The world is currently witnessing the escalating crisis in the Nduga region as just one example of the deteriorating human rights situation in West Papua. It is time for the Indonesian president to show real leadership and genuine concern for human rights by withdrawing the Indonesian military from all corners of West Papua, a country under illegal Indonesian occupation.
In one month’s time, the eyes of the Pacific will turn to Melanesia as our leaders gather in Honiara (national capital of the Solomon Islands, located on the island of Guadalcanal) to decide on West Papua’s membership in the Melanesian Spearhead Group. For more than 50 years, my people have suffered a creeping genocide under a repressive Indonesian military occupation that is estimated to have claimed 500,000 West Papuan lives. Next month’s meeting is a critical opportunity to give my people a voice and to allow us to take our rightful place in the Melanesian family.
My heart filled with grief and sadness when at least five of my people were brutally massacred by the Indonesian military and police in West Papua on Dec. 8, just for protesting against military violence against children. Torturing and killing children is a crime against humanity, and those responsible must be brought to justice.