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West Papua Coalition calls for talks

7 October, 2009
WPNCL Media Release

The West Papua National Coalition for Liberation has twice sent letters to the Indonesian President, in 2007 and 2008, calling for talks with the Papuan people. However, to this day, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has failed to respond. Since the start, the WPNCL has been committed to using peaceful means as its basic principle in resolving the problem between the Papuan people and Indonesia. The Coalition believes that talks held on equal terms is one of the main steps needed to solve the Papuan problem. The talks should involve a third party as mediator agreed by the two sides.

The arrest in Klamono Sorong on 6 September 2009 of Jonah Wenda, spokesman of the Military Council of the West Papuan National Liberation Army (DM TPN-PB) who is also an activist of the Coalition and his transfer to the district police, as well as a wave of arrests and detentions of Papuan activists, can damage efforts to create peace in the Land of Papua. Johan Wenda who was subsequently released by the police was at the time of his arrest engaged in efforts to consolidate the TPN-PB's network in order to promote the peace process in the Land of Papua.
In 2002, the Papuan police agreed to work together with the Regional Legislative Assembly of Papua (DPRP) and civil society in Papua to achieve peace in Papua. That commitment was included the Recommendations of the Peace Conference for Papua held in Jayapura from 15-16 October 2002.

Since that Conference, components of civil society have worked through the peace task-force for Papua to popularise and reach conciliation with elements within Papuan society that stand in the way of peace efforts. The task force has held a number of parallel meetings with various groups in Papua, including the TPN in different parts of the Land of Papua.

There was also a meeting of a think-tank attended by Papuan leaders, including 23 Papuan intellectuals, which was held in The Netherlands from 16 - 20 June 2003. The three points on the agenda were: Human Rights and Justice, Development and the Political Situation. Because the gathering failed to represent all the resistance groups in Papua, it was agreed to convene a broader meeting bringing together all groups inside and outside Papua.

These parallel meetings led to the holding of a seminar to draw together all the inputs from the various groups in favour of bringing peace to Papua. This seminar was held twice. On the first occasion, on 27 October 2004, an agreement was reached for a top-level meeting between Papuan leaders to discuss the obstacles to resolving the conflict in Papua. The second session held on 20 November 2004 agreed on the need for a meeting of all the civil society organisations in Papua to discuss technical matters such as the agenda, the location, the participants and the funding of this meeting of Papuan leaders.

The recommendations of these two seminars considered that it was important to hold a larger meeting involving all elements of Papuan society, inside and outside the Land of Papua. That meeting took place from 28 November - 1 December 2005 in Papua New Guinea where a number of agreements were reached, including an agreement to set up the WPNCL.located in Port Villa-Vanuatu, and the process of consolidation and reconciliation between opposing factions in West Papua. Of the 28 organisations which it was hoped would attend, only 18 took part in the meeting.

Following up on the recommendations agreed, a meeting was held between the commanders of the TPN in PNG on 22 - 24 July 2006 which took a number of decisions, such as agreeing on the tasks and functions of the TPN-PB as a revolutionary army whose purpose is to protect all elements in Papuan society, to separate the TPN from the OPM, and furthermore, that the TPN's role is confined to performing a military role during a period of revolution, and to create a Military Council as the Supreme Organ of the TPN-PB. At the same meeting, there was a commitment to work together in liberating the people and the Land of Paua; each of the TPN-PB commanders were invited to consolidate their programmes, strategies and actions in order to achieve the aims of the revolution.; to recognise and uphold universal humanitarian principles; to support efforts to create a Land of Peace in Papua and to call upon all the leaders of Papuan resistance organisations to unite and call upon the Papuan people to work together to achieve national unity.

A later meeting of the TPN-PB held at Victoria HQ from 5 - 7 April 2007 reached a number of agreements: to bring together the several commands, 'Arfai 1965,' 'Marvic Command' and 'Pemka' commands, into a single command to be called the Komando Tentara Pembebasan National Papua Barat (TPN-PB) under the supervision of the Military Council of the TPN-PB as the decision making forum for the TPN-PB Command. To create a command structure and the division into operational districts for each of the commands. To elect members of the Military Command of the TPN-PB and members of the lower structures.

The meeting also issued an appeal to all the people of Papua to unite under the banner of the TPN-PB, an the unification of the three commands (see above) into a single command. They agreed to strengthen bilateral co-operation and international co-operation to prevent the spread of criminal groups such as narcotic and terrorism gangs. The Military Council of the TPN-PB is the representative council overseeing the six military command structures covering the whole of the territory of West Papua.

The WPNCL then held a summit meeting on 22 - 25 September 2007 in Malaysia which reached a number of agreements, among others that the WPNCL will set up a General Secretariat based in Port Villa, Vanuatu. Several regulations were also agreed such a the basic statutes of the WPNCL and the organisational structure of the TPN-PB.

A national negotiation team was also set up which was mandated to popularise and submit a proposal for negotiations with the Indonesian government, mediated by a third party. Furthermore, in order to fully commit all the energies of the WPNCL towards efforts to achieve peace and prevent conflict, a West Papua Peace Working Group was set up which will have offices in Asia, Europe, America and the Pacific.

The WPNCL held a further meeting in Port Vila on 2 - 10 April, 2008 with the support of the Vanuatu government. This summit meeting adopted a resolution which, among others, called on the Indonesian government to hold international discussions to resolve the West Papuan conflict., to be mediated by a neutral third party, to call upon the international community to press the Indonesian government to give access to journalists and international organisations to enter West Papua.

The TPN-PB as one of the pillars supporting the WPNCL, successfully held a national working meeting on 29 - 31 October 2008 in PNG. which adopted several programmes for the Military Council of the TPN-PB. This was followed by the first National Working Meeting of the WPNCL on 4 - 8 June 2009 which drew up a number of programmes for the WPNCL for the initial working period.

Finally, we express our conviction that the government of Dr Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono will have the commitment to resolve the Papuan issue by peaceful means, and in order for this to happen, that he will open up political communications with the WPNCL as a step towards holding dignified, democratic peace negotiations between equal partners.
Translated by TAPOL