Welcome to ‘The Oslo Times - Exclusive Interview’.
When I met Mr. Benny Wenda, a renowned global figure of West Papua in wake of freedom struggle; I was impressed while seeing his love and passion for his country and towards Papuan culture.
He was carrying a flag of West Papua commonly known as ‘Morning Star’ and when I started to talk to him about his country and people; his eyes were watered while talking about his country.
TOT: How do you see the political situation of West Papua today?
Benny Wenda: The political situation in West Papua is such that we are not allowed to hoist our flags not even in demonstrations or protests. If hoisted, just like after General Suharto was ousted from power in West Papua, we did, which resulted in maltreatment, arrests and even killing of our people by Indonesian Military, which again invaded in 2000. Since then the situation has become more intense and day-by-day getting worst.
TOT: What are the consequences you and your people have to face after the ‘Act of No Choice’ of 1969 under the Indonesian military rule?
Benny Wenda: After the sham ‘Act of No Choice’ of 1969 there was widespread resistance against the Indonesian invasion and to counter this, our people face more severe consequences, which any human being can’t expect from a human.
My people were killed mercilessly, raped, tortured and were arrested without giving any valid warrant. Our people were not allowed to appoint lawyers for their cases. With a population of one million we still neither have any access to our resources nor have any freedom of movement in our very own mother land.
TOT: What's your take on the current resource exploitation situation in West Papua under the US mining company Freeport?