National Liberation Army (TPN/PB) Spokesperson Arrested in West Papua

Media Alert

Sunday 13 September 2009

National Liberation Army (TPN/PB) Spokesperson Arrested in West Papua

A peaceful resolution to West Papua’s long-standing conflict with Indonesia has suffered a serious set-back with the arrest by Indonesian authorities of leading pro-peace activist Jonah Wenda.

Mr Wenda was detained in Sele District, Sorong Regency, in the western part of West Papua, on 6 September, and was formally arrested on 11 September on the grounds of being investigated for subversion (makar) at Papua Regional Police (POLDA) in Jayapura, Papua.

Mr Wenda is a spokesperson for the military wing of the West Papua liberation movement, the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPN-PB, or Tentara Pembebasan Nasional Papua Barat, formerly known as TPN/OPM).

However, despite working for peace, Mr Wenda is now being held pending being charged with undermining the Security of the State (subversion).

Australian-based spokesperson for the WPPWG (West Papua Peace Working Group, formerly known as West Papua Peace Task Force), Ms Paula Makabory (footnote 1) , described the arrest of Mr Wenda as a serious set-back to finding a peaceful resolution to the continuing troubles in West Papua. She said: ‘Mr Wenda has been working for the past three years with the West Papua Peace Working group to bring about a cessation of hostilities between the forces of the Republic of Indonesian and the indigenous people of West Papua’.

Paula Makabory said: ‘To this end, the West Papua Peace Working Group and Jonah Wenda have facilitated the formation of unified West Papuan political and civil society umbrella organisation called the West Papua National Coalition for Liberation (WPNCL).

’The WPNCL, which includes representatives of the TPN-PB, has expressly sought to commence peaceful dialogue with the Indonesian President and the Republic of Indonesian over issues of the political control and administration of West Papua as a remedy to the impacts of Indonesian Government policies on the West Papuan people.”

”Jonah Wenda has been acting for past two years as ‘media spokesperson’ for the TPN-PB in West Papua. In this role he has meet with the TPN-PB military commanders throughout West Papua to gain support for peaceful negotiation with the Republic of Indonesia. Jonah Wenda plays an important part of the movement to unite West Papuan resistance groups and support them to pursue a strategy of non-violent political change. “

The TPN-PB (or as the TPN/OPM) has been fighting a war of succession in West Papua since Indonesia took control of the territory in 1963.

West Papuan grievances include, disputing the way the territory was incorporated into the Republic of Indonesia during the 1960s, traditional land rights and resource rights and control; widespread killings, human rights violations and abuse by the security forces; unregulated migration; impacts of large scale resource exploitation particularly mining, logging and plantation establishment; economic disadvantage through a development and civil policy that does not benefit indigenous land owners; environmental destruction; political repression, institutional racism and discrimination.

After East Timor achieved independence in 1999 and the conflict in Aceh was resolved through an international peace accord in 2005, West Papua remains Indonesia’s largest unresolved territorial dispute.

For further information, please contact:

Paula Makabory on +61(0)402547517;

Steve Waramory/Defense Lawyer on (+62) (0)85254831555;

Chris Warinussy/Defense Lawyer on (+62) (0) 81344694500

Photo available at https://ipahr.wordpress.com/2009/09/14/jonah-wenda/

INSTITUTE FOR PAPUAN ADVOCACY AND HUMAN RIGHTS (IPAHR)
PO Box 1805
Byron Bay, NSW 2481
Australia
Tel Matthew Jamieson +61 (0) 418291998

1/ Paula Makabory is a board member of Institute for Papuan Advocacy & Human Rights and is spokesperson for West Papua Peace Working Group and the Human Rights organisation Els-ham West Papua.

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