In 1998, between the days of July 2 to 6, the Indonesian Armed Forces murdered between 40 to 150 people in the island of Biak in West Papua. The International League of Peoples Struggles Commission 10 join the people of West Papua in remembering this week as a marker of the continuing struggle for liberation and self-determination.
In the days following July 2, in 1998, lifeless bodies of pro-independence demonstrators were found in the island of Biak. According to the findings of a citizens’ tribunal, unarmed protesters were tortured, killed, and dumped at sea. A significant number of those taken in custody by the Indonesian military were raped, mutilated, and other horrific acts of crimes against humanity.
To this day, West Papuans face violence as they continue to assert their right to self-determination. The Indonesian government, through the support of imperialist powers and its war industry, continues to send rains of bullets and bombs on the people of West Papua. In exchange, the Indonesian government has allowed the encroachment of West Papuan resources by imperialist-owned businesses– a concrete example of which is the Indonesian government’s joint venture with the Freeport-McMoRan mining firm that runs a significant majority of the Grasberg mine, home to one of the biggest gold mines in the world, with an estimated value of $100B
The Indonesian government, big businesses, and imperialist powers will continue to vilify and demonize the West Papuan struggle for liberation precisely because they seek to protect their business interests on West Papuan territory. The fascist, racist, and inhumane monster that is the Indonesian government must be held to account for all its crimes against Indigenous Peoples, and its collaboration with foreign superpowers that seek to fulfill their thirst for super-profits.
It is also this month that we commemorate 52 years since the people’s proclamation of the Republic of West Papua, first of the many collective assertions of West Papuans of their right to self-determination. To this day, freedom fighters, grassroots activists, communities, take part in many different forms of struggle as a means to achieve the collective aspiration of the West Papuan people– genuine liberation.
West Papuan liberation means freedom from the colonial rule of Indonesia, freedom from imperialist plunder and exploitation, and the genuine fulfillment of their right to self-determination. Peoples of the world must support this struggle, and contribute towards taking a blow against the fascism, racism, colonialism and imperialism.
Today, we honor those who have dedicated their lives in the struggle for freedom, and everyone who continues to take part in these struggles. The dedication of West Papua to liberate itself from the chains of exploitation, plunder, and oppression are the building blocks of a self-determined future.
Free West Papua! Down with fascism, colonialism and imperialism!
Justice for all the victims of the Biak Massacre!