Port Moresby, 29 April 2008

Election of Chairperson and Secretary General of the West Papua National Coalition for Liberation (WPNCL)

The leaders representing 29 West Papuan political and civil society organisations have formalized the establishment of the West Papua National Coalition for Liberation [WPNCL]. This coalition represents the 1.5 million West Papuan people from over 600 tribal communities on the western half of the island of New Guinea.    (The landmass of West Papua is an area of 430,000 square kilometers, which is about the same size as France.)

At a meeting held in Port Vila, Vanuatu during April 2008, the West Papua National Coalition for Liberation elected Richard Yoweni of the National Liberation Army of West Papua (TPN PB) as Chairman, Dr. John Otto Ondawame as Vice Chairman and Mr. Rex Rumakiek as the Secretary General.

The Secretariat for the WPNCL will be established at the West Papuan Peoples Representative Office in Port Vila, Vanuatu.

"The establishment of this WPNCL shows the determination of the people of West Papua to take control of the agenda and progress their struggle for self determination and independence in the international arena.   This organisation seeks to reclaim and protect the resources, culture and lives of the West Papuan people in the face of Indonesian colonization of our land", said Clemens Runawery spokesperson for the WPNCL.

"Indonesian Government control over West Papua for the past 45 years and the implementation of its so-called 'Special Autonomy' package in the past 5 years has grossly failed the West Papuan people."

Mr Runawery went on to say, "Under Special Autonomy there has been very poor administration leading to the rapid deterioration of health and education of Papuan people, an ever increasing wave of the HIV/AIDS disease and huge profiteering from the exploitation of West Papuan natural resources and rainforests."

 "There is now a disastrous situation where West Papua people are on the brink of becoming a minority in their own land."

"International support for Special Autonomy has been a success for international investors, lincluding BP at the Tangguh gas project & RTZ at the Freeport copper mine.   These investments have effectively underwritten the occupation of West Papua by the Indonesian security forces."

"Indonesian is in a phase of business expansion in West Papua and that means the abuse of human rights of indigenous West Papuans, the restriction of political freedom and tightening military control.   The expansion of Indonesian Government backed businesses and economic interests is at the expense of the people of West Papua."

"WPNCL is now seeking Observer Status with the Melanesian Spearhead Group and the Pacific Islands Forum as a platform for the people of West Papua within the United Nations and other international forums."

"The WPNCL will seek to reverse the so-called Act of Free Choice of 1969 and re-inscribe West Papua on UN Decolonization Committee in so that the people of West Papua are given the due process of 'self-determination'."

"The WPNCL will continue to seek internationally mediated negotiation with the Republic of Indonesia as the best way of resolving the ongoing armed conflict promoted by the Indonesian security forces and reversing the disastrous human rights and spiraling health situation of the West Papuan people."

The Chairman of the West Papuan National Coalition for Liberation, Richard Yoweni, said today, "On behalf of people of West Papua, the WPNCL Secretariat would like to convey publicly our heartfelt thanks to the Government, Political Parties, Chiefs, Churches, NGOs and the people of Vanuatu for their continued support for our struggle for self determination."


For more information please contact:
Clemens Runawery   +675 72074704; or
Paula Makabory +61 402547517