Worldwide FWPC protests to refuse New York Agreement
August 17, 2014
On Friday 15th August, the Free West Papua Campaign held protests all around the world to refuse the so called “New York Agreement”, a deal made on 15th August 1962, giving control of West Papua to Indonesia.
The New York Agreement
The New York Agreement was an agreement between the USA, Netherlands and Indonesia to decide the future of West Papua. It was the height of the cold war and the US government wanted to appease a communist friendly Indonesian government at all costs, as well as gaining access to West Papua’s vast reserves of mineral resources. The USA held a meeting in New York, forcing the Netherlands to hand over control of West Papua to Indonesia, even though the Dutch were preparing West Papua for independence.
Not one single Papuan was consulted during the New York Agreement and the Papuan people have never accepted its terms.
The Agreement did promise all Papuans a free and fair referendum on independence but this was never held and instead, just 1,026 Papuans were hand picked by Indonesia and forced at gunpoint to vote against independence.
This is why the people of West Papua call the 15th August the Day of Broken Promise.Ever since West Papua became part of Indonesia, the Indonesian military has been systematically murdering the people of West Papua and committing genocide with over 500,000 innocent Papuans having already been killed.
Free West Papua Campaign holds protests to refuse the Agreement
The Free West Papua Campaign and all the people of West Papua have always protested against this Day of Broken Promise and continue to demand a real referendum on independence. This year we mobilized a lot of support internationally and protests were held over 10 cities in 6 different countries around the world.
In London, UK we held a demo outside the Indonesian Embassy and as well as rejecting the New York Agreement we also called for a Free West Papua and for the release of the two French journalists, Thomas Dandois and Valentine Bourrat who are still being held in prison by the Indonesian authorities just for reporting in West Papua.In Den Haag, Netherlands we protested outside the International Court/Peace Palace against the New York Agreement and for the fundamental rights of the West Papuan people to self-determination and independence.
In Perth, Australia the Free West Papua Campaign held a demo outside the US Embassy to urge the US government to correct their mistakes in 1962 and push for real self-determination for the West Papuan people which is still being denied to them by the Indonesian government.
In Tasmania, Australia a group of Free West Papua supporters also held a gathering to refuse the New York Agreement and in Canada too there was a Free West Papua demonstration outside the Indonesian Embassy in Toronto.
More protests in West Papua and Indonesia
To refuse the New York Agreement, thousands of people also held protests throughout West Papua and in 3 Indonesian cities.
In Jayapura, the capital of West Papua, scores of students staged a protest outside the Cenderawasih University (UNCEN), however armed Indonesian police were quick to brutally disperse the demonstration and 11 Papuans were arrested.
Their names are: Yason Ngelia, Benny Hisage, Gerson Rumrapuk, Claus Pepuho, Bram Demetouw, Markus Dumupa, Benny Gobay, Ribka Gombo, Reggy Wenda, Bazoka Logo and Eloma Asso.
In Merauke, in the south of West Papua, members of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) and the People’s Regional Parliament (PRD) held a demonstration in the streets but they were terrorised, intimidated and filmed by dozens of fully armed Indonesian soldiers, police and members of the intelligence services. The demonstrators later held a meeting at their local office where they issued a statement refusing the terms of the New York Agreement.
Protests were also held by the Papuan Students Alliance (AMP) in the Indonesian cities of Yogyakarta, Manado and Surabaya. A video of the protest in Yogyakarta can be seen here. There were hundreds of armed Indonesian police present during these protests but the students continued regardless and boldly flew the national flag of West Papua, an action which could get them jailed for 15 years under Indonesian law. Photos from these protests around the world can be seen on the Info Papua news site.
A message from the Campaign
The Free West Papua Campaign would like to give a very big thank you to everyone around the world who attended these historic demonstrations, raising essential support and awareness for a Free West Papua. By showing your support you have also done great work in helping to increase pressure on those responsible for the treachery of the New York Agreement so that one day they will put right their wrongs of the past and begin to push for a free and fair referendum on independence, still entitled to the West Papuan people under international law to this day.
We very much look forward to seeing you all again in the future as we continue to struggle on for a Free West Papua. Thank you very much.