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WEST Papuan liberation leader Benny Wenda said today that his provisional government is stepping up the fight for justice and freedom from Indonesian rule this year as he announced the opening of diplomatic missions around the globe.
Offices will be established in Britain and Europe, he said, while the headquarters of his “government-in-waiting” will be based in West Papua.
An international office is to be opened in Port Vila in the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu, while a government branch will be established in the Papua New Guinea capital, Port Moresby.
Mr Wenda was elected interim president of a government-in-exile following a “historic meeting” of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) in December 2020.
It issued a number of demands to Indonesian President Joko Widodo, including the withdrawal of all troops from West Papuan territory and a referendum on independence.
Mr Wenda hailed the opening of the new government offices as “another step in our long road to reclaiming the sovereignty stolen from us by Indonesia in 1963.”
The peninsula was formally annexed by Jakarta in the 1969 Act of Free Choice, which was ratified by just over 1,000 handpicked West Papuans, many of whom voted at gunpoint.
“With the formation of our constitution, provisional government, cabinet and Green State Vision, all Indonesian laws in West Papua are over,” Mr Wenda declared. “The Indonesian presence is totally illegal and totally redundant.
“With our clandestine government departments operating within our borders, all West Papuans and Indonesian migrants working under our jurisdiction are now governed by the ULMWP,” he said.
At least 500,000 people are believed to have been killed in the territory since 1969, the majority of them West Papuans.
A 2019 uprising was brutally put down by Indonesian troops and an additional 21,000 soldiers were sent into West Papua as part of what Mr Wenda considers an illegal occupation.
He called on West Papuans and the international community to support his provisional government and to unite “to end our long suffering and complete our 60-year struggle.”
“In 2022, we will redouble all efforts in our long struggle for the liberation of our nation. We will peacefully bring an end to this bloodshed,” Mr Wenda said.
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