WP Open Day, 7 April 2024

* LUNCH 1-2pm Amazing Papuan food cooked by Ivone Bukorpioper
* MEMORIAL for Yohana Ovide and Warinus Kogoya, led by Ribka Ovide
* SPEAKER Jacob Rumbiak Foreign Affairs Minister, WP Transitional Government
* DR TOSCANO’s Auction for the West Papua Rent Collective
* BISHOP Huggins incredible news (yep, the videos of our 61 Hammarskjold-West Papua Living Memorials have been handed to the President of the UN General Assembly, where West Papua’s torturous existence as an Indonesian colony began in November 1961).

Memorial for Yohana Ovide and Warinus Kogoya

RIBKA OVIDE: Today we are remembering two West Papuans. The first is my beloved older sister Yohana Ovide. Yohana was caring, a good listener, careful in her work, with quality in every task. She died of Tuberculosis in 2018. I also had TB at the same time but I survived. My sister and I were very close. We did everything together, and we dreamed of getting a scholarship to study overseas, where there is no corruption, and the standard of education is higher than in Indonesia. Unfortunately, Yohana did not make it, and I am here alone. But my family is online with us today and I thank God for that.

Our second hero is Warinus Kogoya, who died last week after being tortured by the Indonesia military. This painting is of Delfianus Kogoya who was also tortured but survived. The art and this poem, by Benny Wenda’s son Wene, is for both of them.

“Our black bodies have become playgrounds for torture. Our indigenous land is a hunting ground for murder. Our brothers have become trophies. Our sisters are treated like toys. How many more blood baths must we endure, before the world recognizes our suffering? You tied our hands, you sliced our backs, you beat our faces, you mock our race. For now, we sit in blood. Tomorrow, we stand in victory!”

Jacob Rumbiak in discussion with Rev. Dr Robert Stringer

On how West Papua’s resistance and nation-making might, or might not, be affected by the Melanesian Spearhead Group’s rejection of its kin’s application for membership, and the election of Suharto-era general and war criminal, Prabowo Subianto, as the next Indonesian president. Jacob is the Foreign Affairs Minister of the West Papua Transitional Government. Rev. Stringer is Chaplain of the West Papua Women’s Office, and has visited West Papua several times.

Click to watch video recording (xx’)

Bishop Huggins returns West Papua to the UN General Assembly where its troubles began in November 1961

A healthy dose of commitment, intelligence, and spiritual intervention has delivered a USB of documents from the West Papua Women’s Office in Melbourne to the President of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in New York on 10 April 2024.

Gayatri Naraine presented the documentation to His Excellency Dennis Francis, on behalf of Bishop Philip Huggins, who was entrusted with the package by Jacob Rumbiak, Foreign Affairs Minister of West Papua’s Transitional Government on 26 March 2023. (Gayatri Naraine has been the Brahma Kumaris’ representative to the United Nations since 1980; Mr Francis is an experienced politician from the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago).

As conveyed at a celebratory event in Melbourne on 14 April 2024, the President of the UNGA promised to read what he has received, which also includes a request to meet thereafter. Meanwhile, as Jacob and Bishop Huggins both affirmed, “Under God, we seek to be peacemakers towards everyone, and pray for grace to be the reconciliation that we seek for all.”

The USB carries videos of the Hammarskjöld-West Papua Living Memorials, and the document West Papua 1942-2022: the politics, the legals, and the only way forward, a fully referenced study guide covering the West Papuans promising experience as a UN Non-Self-Governing Territory (1950-1962); the UN member-states denial of the West Papuans self-determination in November 1961; and the violation of international law by Indonesia, the United States and United Nations in transferring the administration of West Papua to Indonesia in 1962. (West Papua is still a colony of the Indonesian Republic).

  • Ned Byrne at Dag Hammarksjóld’s tomb, and in the Peace Chapel dedicated to him in Uppsala Cathedral (Sweden) on 20 June 2023;
  • Gayatri Naraine presenting the West Papuan documents to the President of the UN General Assembly, His Excellency Dennis Francis in New York on 10 April 2024;
  • Bishop Huggins at the West Papua Office in Docklands on 26 March 2023 promising Jacob Rumbiak he will deliver the USB.

The sixty-one Hammarskjöld-West Papua Living Memorials embody healing and renewal in the Congo, and our duty to deliver the justice denied West Papuans after UN Secretary-General Hammarskjöld was killed on the Congo-Zambia border on 18 September 1961. The project was initiated by Faye Gregson to build awareness of the decolonisation program that the Secretary-General had prepared for West Papua and planned to present to the 1961 UN General Assembly. His assassination three days before the UNGA enabled the UN member-states to stage the disappearance of the West Papuans Non-Self-Governing Territory and instead create an illegal and duplicitous treaty (New York Agreement) that ultimately gifted Indonesia with 412,215 km² of Melanesian land.

All the videos are very different. A woman in Gippsland set her video to Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. Solomon Islanders did theirs at midnight, the time of Hammarskjold’s demise, East Timorese did theirs in their Tetum language. Clovis Mwamba’s family in the Congo planted their living memorial during a school assembly, the Sudanese sent a photo of a sign on a fence with a little shrub on a bare patch of earth. We put them all on a USB for the current UN Secretary-General António Guterres, but then couldn’t find a courier until Bishop Huggins put his hand up. The videos of the tree-planting ceremonies and associated documents can be viewed at https://dfait.federalrepublicofwestpapua.org/document/the-hammarskjold-west-papua-files-26-march-2023/)

Dr Toscano’s Auction for West Papua Rent Collective

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