Majelah Selangkah: KNPB Official Statement on Freedom Flotilla

Translated from Majelah Selangkah 29 Agustus 2013

Jayapura, MAJALAH SELANGKAH – – The West Papua National Committee (KNPB) put out this an official statement in regard to Indigenous and Australian activists who are traveling on three boats as part of the Freedom Flotilla to West Papua via Papua New Guinea (PNG).

From prison in Abepura the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) Chairman Victor Yeimo says, KNPB as people’s media supports the attempts made by fellow indigenous Melanesians and Australian activist in drawing attention to Melanesians in West Papua.

“KNPB is West Papuan people’s media and it mediates the interest of Indigenous West Papuans, Melanesians in the South Pacific. So KNPB  supports what these Australian activist are doing  in offering drawing attention to problems in Papua,” said Yeimo.

He also said, anything done for the benefit of Papuan people have our full support. This journey is also a form of sympathy from Indigenous Australians and Human Right and environmental activist about the troubles that are happening is West Papua,”  he said.

He also stated that KNPB sees this voyage as solidarity toward fellow indigenous population and to re-establish the relationship of Melanesian people. This visit is a visit between fellow indigenous Melanesians, “ He said.

For how long will Melanesian people be enslaved?

Of course this visit is not free from challenges. The Indonesian and PNG government reacted strongly in respond to the voyage. Not only the Indonesian and PNG governments, Australian government after insistence from the Indonesian government claimed that it holds no responsibility if anything happens to these activists.

Coordinating Minister for Security, Politic and Law Djoko Suyanto have also warned the activists not to enter Papua waters. Djoko Suyanto have instructed Indonesian Navy and Air force to anticipate and watch for the boats with Australian and West Papuan activist onboard.

“They do not have visas to enter Indonesian territory. Indonesian Navy and Air Force is on alert and ready to intercept them.” Said Djoko to vivanews on Monday 19th August 2013. Meanwhile, as quoted by PNG Media, Prime Minister Peter O’neill refuses entry by Freedom Flotilla boat to PNG waters.

And Australian government claimed not to hold any responsibility if the boats’ crews are arrested and detained either by Indonesian or Papua New Guinea Authorities. Minister for Foreign Affairs Bob Carr emphasized that Australia will not make legal intervention in legal actions taken by either Indonesia or Papua New Guinea governments if foreigners break immigration laws of both countries.

Chairperson of KNPB Victor Yeimo also expressed his concern over Indonesia and PNG’s plan of intercepting the boats. “KNPB  also have concerns following the stance taken by PNG and Indonesian government to intercept the activists from Australia. They do not have the capacity to free West Papua, Indonesia and PNG governments have overreacted,” He said. According to Victor, he is very disappointed with the remarks from PNG Prime Minister who is also a Melanesian. According to KNPB the Prime Minister of PNG values the economic interest over the fact that we are from the same Melanesian race. We are very disappointed with the warning issued by PNG Prime Minister. Again this is solidarity visit from our families. Without solidarity, Melanesian countries will remain as slaves of other nations. When are we going to start thinking about the interest of Melanesians in the Pacific region,” Yeimo said.

Still according to Yeimo, statements made by the Prime Minister of Australia really violates democratic values. He added that the Australian government has to respect rights and decision of the Aboriginal people to stand in solidarity with West Papuan people.

For your information, a group of people who called themselves Freedom Flotilla sailed from Cairns, Australia on Saturday 17th August 2013 towards West Papua.

On Tuesday (20/8/13) they reached Cooktown in North Queensland, their last stop in Australia will be in Thursday Island where Press Conference will be held.

After the last stop, they will sail to Daru , South of PNG. And according to the information received by, the activists are aware of the warning by Indonesian military but insist on sailing all the way to West Papua. (MS) Kunju

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