West Papua National Committee calls for general strike

After electing a new leader, the West Papua National Committee, or KNPB, has called for a general strike of all Papuan workers.

Executive members of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) at their second congress, Jayapura, October 2018. Photo: Supplied

The pro-independence KNPB has just concluded its second congress in Jayapura, attended by hundreds of its representatives from across Indonesian-ruled Papua region.

The congress was held in a secure location the suburb of Waena, amidst pressures from hundreds of police who tried to prevent the event proceeding.

A new KNPB executive was inaugurated, with Agus Kossay elected the new chairman, replacing Victor Yeimo .

Now the KNPB‘s international spokesman, Mr Yeimo said it was time for Papuans to take civil action to press their demands for a legitimate self-determination process.

“So we want them to stop all the activity in West Papua, from economic activity, from political activity. What we want now in West papua is Indonesia should accept our demand for a referendum in West Papua. So it is time for people of West Papua to stop all activity of colonialism and capitalism in West Papua.”

Indonesian police were out in force in an attempt to prevent the KNPB congress proceeding, October 2018. Photo: Supplied

After the congress, the KNPB issed a declaration announcing the call for a general strike.

Mr Yeimo said a date for the strike would be announced later, when the call for civil action had been widely disseminated around Papua region.

The declaration reaffirmed the KNPB‘s recognition of the West Papua Liberation Army, or TPNPB, as the “only” military force representing West Papuans.

The KNPB has also reaffirmed its support for “diplomatic unity” within the United Liberation Movement for West Papua as the lead “coordinating” body in international fora.

Meanwhile, Mr Yeimo said he was happy for the change in leadership in the KNPB.

KNPB second congress, Waena, Jayapura, October 2018. Photo: Supplied

“This organisation does not belong to Victor Yeimo or only one,” he said. “We have collective leadership within KNPB.”

He said everyone in the KNPB remained committed to campaigning peacefully for an independent West Papua.

“That is why we choose a national strike as a peaceful agenda,” Mr Yeimo explained.

“So people power can go down the road. This is the big agenda in West Papua, for all people in West Papua, whether people who work for Indonesia, or who work for capitalism or colonialism, this is the time for them to realise and let us be together to strike to choose and go for our future.”

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