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Plight of West Papua ‘Creeping Genocide’

General Secretary of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua, Octovianus Mote - RNZI
General Secretary of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua, Octovianus Mote – RNZI.

By Taina Kami Enoka

Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, will be asked to support the Free West Papua movement today (11/6/2015).
The request will be made during a meeting between Prime Minister Tuilaepa and the General Secretary of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua, Octovianus Mote.

Mr. Mote is in Samoa as part of a trip around the region to meet country leaders, seeking support for their membership on the Melanesian Spearhead Group (M.S.G.) as well as the Pacific Islands Forum (P.I.F.).

In the country until Friday, Mr. Mote, who lives in exile in the United States of America, was previously in Tonga where he met King Tupou V and Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pohiva.

He gained their full support.
According to Mr. Mote, when West Papua gained Independence in 1961, Samoa was one of the few countries that was represented at the celebrations. Samoa also played a big part in taking Christianity to its shores.
West Papua also took part in the formation of the P.I.F. Later that same year, Indonesia took over and severed all ties with the region. Now West Papua needs Samoa’s help.

“The main reason why I’m here for is because West Papua is under threat today,” he told the Samoa Observer.

Mr. Mote said that the population, which was once 1.5 million, now stands at only 48 percent of that and already, his people are a minority in their own land.

Should the trend continue, in 2020, the population will be less than 23 percent.

“That means five years from now, we will lose everything. We need to stop this because Indonesia is really speeding up their colonisation.”
No journalists are allowed to access West Papua and therefore there has been no news about what is actually happening. Only last year, through social media pages that the realities in West Papua have been captured and as a result gained attention.

“I look at it as a sign from the Lord, when we don’t have anything at all, we get this.”

But there’s more. The Prime Ministers of Fiji and Papua New Guinea have not acted and identified this as an internal issue of Indonesia.
“How can you allow this? Indonesia is [slaughtering] our people. I grew up with these issues from a very, very young age. My uncles were slaughtered in front of me!”

Mr. Mote has seen his people slaughtered in the capital of Jayapura. The corpses are placed in rice bags and one could see their feet.
In those days, if you killed somebody and brought parts of their body as evidence to the Commander, a promotion was guaranteed, Mr. Mote said. That was in the 1970’s.

In the 1980’s, there was a huge mobilisation to escape to Papua New Guinea. And at the end of the 1990’s, in the villages, a couple would be arrested and made to have sex in front of the whole village. The flesh would be cut off a man that was slaughtered, sautéd and his family forced to eat it.

“This is not historical evidence. It is ongoing. Not like Judaism and holocaust happenings that have already passed. At West Papua, it’s ongoing,” he said.
The movement has applied for M.S.G. membership. Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill wants the movement to be represented by the Indonesian Governor of West Papua instead, using their application.

“We were the ones that applied. Then he says, well you applied, but I will put this Governor to sit on your application. What the heck!” he asked.
Mr. Mote says that Fiji‘s response is okay, in order for dialogue to take place, Indonesia should also be invited.

“That’s a good idea but where are we as West Papua? Will we be accepted as full members so we can actually talk to them or are you want to represent us? And for me as a journalist, an intellectual and a Christian, I cannot understand. On the human rights issue, Indonesia is killing a nation not a couple of people and we know for sure, there are so many academic reports about what’s happening in West Papua. This is not a scenario we are creating to get political support. This is a reality! For me as a Pacific Islander, as people who always help each other, you don’t want to intervene?” he added.
The incidents in West Papua are described in academic reports as a ‘creeping genocide’.

Mr. Mote says there are four such reports by Sydney University, Yale University, the Asian Human Rights Institution in Hong Kong and even the Indonesian Human Rights Commission. Mr. Mote wants to build awareness among Pacific Island leaders.

“I am very pleased that Civil Society and people all though the Pacific, through Facebook we have a solidarity. Nobody can stop this wave. We may be made of small islands but if you look at the Pacific Ocean, we control half of the earth. I see that there are waves when people know about it and Indonesia can never stop it.”

From Mr. Mote’s experience, it is easier to gain support from Polynesian leaders. He also has the support of Vanuatu and Kanak and is confident that Solomon Islands will come on board.

With Fiji, the movement has been endorsed by the grassroots, church leaders, indigenous people and Non-Government Organisations.
The Prime Minister is under pressure.

“Either they ignore their societies … you can’t stop this. This is not an internal issue. This is a human rights issue!”

A Right To Protect concept endorsed by the United Nations in 2001, was about interfering with genocide. A team was set up and if there was a nation or group of people who are not protected by their own government, it is a responsibility of the U.N. and other countries to protect that group.
That, Mr. Mote says, is the concept that P.N.G. and Fiji should follow and also the P.I.F., because of the human rights tragedy.

“It’s not a war zone but a creeping genocide. It’s slow motion but done in a variety of ways.”

When military operations are conducted, villagers flee and the military waits in their gardens for them to return for food. This is when they are slaughtered. Those who choose to stay in the forests, die of malnutrition.

Pigs were injected with tape worms in 1970-71. It started at Mr. Mote’s village, when the people ate pig and spread to the border of P.N.G.
In 1968-69, the people of West Papua went to war with Indonesia, where many of their people were killed. They retaliated in 1970-71, knowing how important pigs were in their culture.

Sex workers infected with the HIV virus are sent into the villages and couple of the reports from the Catholic Church have said that the genocide is systematic and Indonesia knows when they can take over the entire land.
Women give birth and their reproduction organs are cut afterwards. Families are allowed only two children.

A research at one cemetery showed that 68 percent of deaths were of women at a reproductive age.

“You can see from this one example, you’ve lost one generation, because you have to wait for the next one. The way they do it, is like targeting and done strategically. We really would like to argue for leaders of the Forum for West Papua human rights issues to be on the agenda.” Mote said.
Meanwhile, no action has been made to address this by Australia and New Zealand.

Mr. Mote says that for these nations, Indonesia is more important.
He hopes that Micronesia and Polynesia will push for Australia and New Zealand for support as part of the Pacific.

“You cannot turn a blind eye. You want to be Asia, go for Asia! Prime Minister of Tonga, Samoa and Fiji stand up for what they believe. Australia, you can exist and be part of the [Pacific Islands Forum] but you can’t dictate us. You can’t allow this only because they give you money. When people support the human rights tragedy in Papua, governments have to listen. I’m certain that once all leaders stand together, Australia and New Zealand can’t say no.” he added.

With China’s influence in the Pacific, a power balance has taken place. Mr Mote says that Australia needs to stand up for the real issues of the people of the South Pacific, global warming, human rights and a right of self determination.

“We have to end colonisation. I think it is important for leaders in the region to stand for the people. Enough is enough! Our voices need to be heard and we can make decisions based on our belief system. How we relate to one another. Regardless of how far we are spread, we are one.” he conluded.
Then there is the issue of dealing with cheque book diplomacy, the promise of millions in return for support.

In West Papua, are many multinational companies, an American company, British Petroleum has gas, China has all sorts of mining areas, Germany, a mega billion hydraulic power project and Russia, a satellite project, Korea, logging, Bin Laden Group a mega billion plantation project 1.2 million hectares to grow basmati rice for Middle East markets.

“But hey, we are believers, we are Christians and we have faith. For me, it’s David versus a Goliath.” Mote said again.

Mr. Mote acknowledged the prayers for his people was one thing Indonesia does not have.

These are prayers of faith that all these powerful nations don’t have.
“It is a testimony, if my people have faith and pray, we can defeat the big enemy.” he said. (*)

This articlea was published by samoaobserver.ws
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