Skip to main content

Wenda calls for ‘days of mourning’ for West Papua as Indonesia celebrates 58th anniversary of independence

WEST PAPUAN liberation leader Benny Wenda has called for his people to turn this weekend’s Indonesian Independence Day celebrations into days of mourning and reflection to mark 58 years of occupation.

He said the week was “incredibly important for the people of West Papua’s collective memory,” and that the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) does not recognise the date as a moment of liberation.

“On August 15, 1962, secret negotiations between Indonesia, the Netherlands and the United States governments decided the fate of my people.

“No West Papuans were consulted, and the referendum promised to us in the 1962 New York Agreement never took place.

“To us West Papuans, the New York Agreement is an agreement of broken promises,” Mr Wenda said.

Since then, more than 500,000 have been killed by Indonesian forces in what the ULMWP leader said was the “illegal occupation and colonisation of our land.”

“We don’t recognise Indonesian Independence Day in West Papua – our land is not Indonesia, and this is not our independence day.

“We still await our true independence day when we finally regain our right to freely determine our own political future,” he said.

The ULMWP is demanding an internationally supervised independence referendum for West Papua.


We're a reader-owned co-operative, which means you can become part of the paper too by buying shares in the People’s Press Printing Society.

Become a supporter

Fighting fund

You've Raised:£ 11,254
We need:£ 6,746
8 Days remaining
Donate today