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Threats against West Papua reported to UN

AN urgent complaint was lodged with the United Nations yesterday over threats made by the Indonesian state after a provisional government was formed in West Papua earlier this month.

United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) leader Benny Wenda was elected interim president of of the disputed territory’s government-in-waiting, which was announced on December 1.

But he has been targeted by Indonesian state officials, including the head of the military, the deputy police chief and the speaker of parliament, who described his actions as “treasonous.”

“Any group or individual following Benny Wenda in trying to separate themselves from Indonesia will be met with firm action,” Police Commissioner Gatot Eddy Pramono warned.

The ULMWP called on the UN to condemn the threats and urged the UN high commissioner for human rights to visit West Papua, following up an appeal made in April on behalf of 63 political prisoners.

Mr Wenda said: “The Indonesian state is threatening all in West Papua who hold a desire for freedom and independence.”

The territory has been occupied by Indonesia since the 1969 vote on the so-called Act of Free Choice, in which a handful of people were coerced at gunpoint into ratifying the annexation.

Indonesia continues to ignore demands for a referendum on independence.

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