Our mission is to document every human rights violation against indigenous West Papuans so that people around the world read and understand what the Indonesian government doesn’t tell them. However, our effort depends entirely on generation donations from our friends, visitors, and anyone that is interested to know the truth about West Papua.
Please take the time to read the materials on this site, follow the links to our other blogs, and articles and publications about the issues facing our indigenous people back in West Papua, and find out the truth about the colonial government of Indonesia.
A brief history
In 1969, the Indonesian government and the United Nations held a sham election known as the ‘Act of Free Choice’ to determine the future of West Papua. It was an election to determine whether or not West Papuan indigenous people wanted the integration of West Papua and Indonesia. Of the million indigenous people at the time, however, the Indonesian government rounded up just 1025 of them and coached to vote for the integration. That 0.1% of the indigenous population handed West Papua over to the Republic of Indonesia. That is the basis of Indonesian occupation of West Papua, and it is now a crime to even challenge it!
For more than five decades, Indonesia remains the colonial administrator of West Papua and has been accused of using deadly force – a violation of the rights of Indigenous people – in an effort to keep them in complete subjection to the will of the Indonesian government. Over the years, those who dared to challenge the Indonesian government were arrested, jailed, and in some cases executed. Others escaped to share their story. Today, there are political prisoners, mostly innocent peaceful protesters, inside Indonesian federal prisons.
This project is based on the life story of Herman Wainggai – a former political prisoner of the Indonesian government, leader of nonviolent struggle and his desire to spread the story of struggles of West Papuans to the far corners of the earth. At age 15, Mr. Wainggai witnessed his uncle, Dr. Thom Wainggai, being arrested at the Mandala Stadium and driven away by heavily armed police and TNI officers. He was later charged and sent to prison or 20 years. His crimes? He was accused of leading peaceful protests and for declaring West Papua an independent state of Western Melanesia. For at, he was charged with “subversion,” or conspiracy to overthrow the state. Challenging the legitimacy of the Indonesian occupation of West Papua is amount to “high treason.” Dr. Thom only served 8 years of his two decades prison-term before he died of what the Wainggai family considered a government execution using poison.
After his uncle died, Mr. Wainggai went into exile. He lived in PNG where he trained exiles and other activists from home who sneaked into PNG at night about his “Nonviolent Methods” of protest against the state. He spent about three years in exile. But in 1999, after the fall of President Suharto who had been leading Indonesia for m ore than three decades, a new government promised reform. In 2000, Mr. Wainggai returned to West Papua where he and other indigenous leaders led some of the largest peaceful demonstrations against Indonesian occupation in the capital city of West Papua, Jayapura. During those protests, Mr. Wainggai called for a national referendum on the presence of Indonesia in West Papua. He was arrested twice and jailed. After two years as a political prisoner, Mr. Wainggai released, but never stopped. Fearing that the Indonesian government might assassinate him, he escaped West Papua. In 2006, he escaped to Australia on a homemade boat, taking with him 43 indigenous people – including children as young as 2 years old.
Mr. Wainggai today
Today, Mr. Wainggai came to the United States to attend “the Fletcher Summer Institute for the Advanced Study of Nonviolent Conflict.” He now lives in Virginia as a ‘visiting scholar’ at the George Mason University (GMU). He is the official West Papuan Representative to the United States and the United Nations.
With the help of friends, Mr. Wainggai launched this project in order to tell his story and the suffering of his people to the world. If you want to know more about his story and the suffering of West Papuans, please visit his blog. And, please visit this page if you want to donate to the cause. Your donation will help with the maintenance of this Website, production of video clips, interviews, and other operations related to this project.
Thank you very much for your support.