ULMWP Media Statement, 25 September 2020
ULMWP begs UN to discipline Indonesia against waging more war against Papuans, as Jokowi lectures UNGA about his nation’s ‘territorial integrity’
On 19 September 2020, the Indonesian military shot Pastor Jeremia Zanambani as he was feeding his pigs in his garden in Hitadipa village in Intang Jaya, West Papua. His congregation, from seven churches in Intang Jaya, have fled into the surrounding mountains.(1)
The popular and influential pastor was Chair of the Indonesian Evangelical Christian Church (GKII) and had completed the enormous task of translating the Bible into Moni, his own tribal-language.(2)
Pastor Jeremia’s assassination follows the murder of another popular pastor twenty months ago, Geyimin Nirigi, during a military campaign that included the Indonesian Parliament authorising its Airforce to drop bombs of white phosphorous in Nduga in December 2018. In 2004 another indigenous highland pastor, Elisa Tabuni, was brutally assassinated.
“As it did in the 1960s behind the United Nations, Indonesia is eliminating yet another generation of West Papuan leaders, this time behind COVID” ULMWP Spokesperson Jacob Rumbiak said.
“But there is a difference. In the 1960s we didn’t know them. Now we do, and furthermore, our freedom is actively supported by thousands of Indonesians across the republic” he added.(3)
The Jakarta government is responding typically, with thousands of highly-trained special forces, to a territory-wide petition against any extension of Special Autonomy 2001; and to unprecedented unity in West Papua—from the two provincial parliaments and all the churches to students and small NGOs—for the ULMWP to lead negotiations for a UN-supervised referendum.
On 22 September 2020, the UN General Assembly listened as President Widodo, sounding more like a wayang puppet, outlined Indonesia’s “unwavering faith in the UN; how Indonesia—as part of ASEAN, will continue bridge-building to peace, stability and posterity in line with the ‘Bandung Principle’ of ‘equality’ enounced in 1955 at the AFRICA-ASIAN Conference in 1955 front of delegates from Palestine.(4) He also referenced ‘sovereignty and territorial integrity’ perhaps for the Pacific Islands Forum and African Caribbean Pacific Group which both passed motions about West Papua in 2019.
1. Reuters, 21 Sept 2020, contradicted the Indonesian military’s claim that Pastor Jeremiah was shot by ‘armed criminals’ with GKII pastor Timotius Miagoni’s assertion that it was Indonesian military officers who killed his colleague. Meantime the Indonesian Communion of Churches (PGI) in West Papua is demanding the government send a fact-finding mission to Intang Jaya.
2. In the Jakarta Parliament on 21 Sept 2020, Bonvasius Tobai (Democratic Political Party) said “Pastor Jeramiah was a much loved Servant of God; Papuans wouldn’t kill him; the Widodo Government must take responsibility.”
3. On 22 Sept 2020, in Manado (North Sulawesi) thousands of Papuan students and the Indonesian People’s Front for Papua sat, surrounded by 500 police, until the Governor came and listened to their rejection of systematic racism and Special Autonomy (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pY-ruStnzhM). However, as occurred in parallel rallies in West Papua (Timika and Nabire) the Police and Army soon reverted to type, arresting and brutalising the rally leaders.
4. “The UN is not a building in New York city, it is our commitment to future generations” Indonesian President tells world leaders (news.un.org/en/story/2020/09/1073192). In fact, equality is just one of the Bandung Principles; the other four were political self-determination, mutual respect for sovereignty, non-aggression, non-interference in internal affairs, and equality.