Press Releases Launch of the International Parliamentarians for West Papua

Launch of the International Parliamentarians for West Papua

Brussels, Thursday 12 May 2022

Carles Puigdemont co-hosted together with Pernado Barrena the event West Papua: Human

rights, self-determination, and green state vision at the European Parliament in order to

present the group International Parliamentarians for West Papua (IPWP) to the EU and in

the European Parliament.

The panellists included Mr Benny Wenda (Interim President in exile of the ULMWP –

Provisional Government of West Papua); Mr Alex Sobel (Labour Party MP in the British

Parliament IPWP Chair); Ms Jojo Mehta (Co-founder of Stop Ecocide International); and Mr

Ralph Regenvanu (Leader of the Opposition of the Republic of Vanuatu and IPWP member).

MEP Puigdemont welcomed the participants by remembering that, just 60 years ago, the

Morning Star flag was officially raised for the first time in West Papua, but after an intriguing

process of decolonisation from the Netherlands, West Papua was annexed by Indonesia in

  1. Since then, West Papuans have been living under a regime of extreme oppression,

which many qualify as a genocide: killings, imprisonment, exile, disappearances, forced

displacements, continuous attacks against Papuan values, faith and traditions, exploitation of

natural resources, destruction of environment and so on.

Now that the EU and Indonesia are negotiating a free trade agreement, whose 11th round of

negotiations took place between 8 and 12 November 2021, MEP Puigdemont will keep asking

the Commission to watch the respect on human rights in West Papua. The Commission

answered in February 2022, to a question tabled by him, that recent discussions took place

in the context of the Human Rights Dialogue and that the safeguarding of freedom of

expression, association, and peaceful assembly remain matters of concern in West Papua,

for which the EU encourages inclusive dialogue to address grievances felt by the local

population and ensure respect for human rights.

“We want to go even further and put pressure on the EU to acknowledge the West Papuan

right to self-determination. It is a moral and historical debt Europeans have towards the people

of West Papua. For these reasons, we are meeting here today”, MEP Puigdemont said.

MEP Barrena (The Left, Basque Country) who has been given the floor after MEP

Puigdemont in a video message, gave his support to the people of West Papua. He

highlighted the importance on the right for West Papuan people to have a democracy. He

made it clear that the abuses on human rights must be condemned. He was part of the cross

B-1047 Brussels – ALTIERO SPINELLI 04E252 – +32 2 28 45142

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carles.puigdemonticasamajo@europarl.europa.euCarles Puigdemont i Casamajó

party group that asked questions about the human rights situation in West Papua to the EU

commission. He is inviting also other colleagues within the European Parliament to join him

in his support of West Papua, which he is looking forward to support by doing the needed

work within IPWP.

The Interim President of the ULMWP, Mr Wenda, has expressed his gratitude to the MEPs

Barrena and Puigdemont, as well as to Mr Alex Sobel for hosting the event. He stated that

this day is a historical moment for his people, as their voice has been brought to the EU

Parliament. Which marks a milestone for West Papua. Moreover, he presented West

Papuans “Green State Vision. Speaking for him and the people in his country, he remarks

that they have had to bow down to Indonesia for six decades under suffering, while the EU

was only listening to one side of the issue and funding Indonesia with millions of euros that

have contributed to the destruction of West Papua. He is requesting the EU to suspend all

investments and funding to Indonesia until they would let the United Nations High

Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet in to the territory. He has proposed to

meet Indonesian President, Joko Widodo, to find a peaceful solution to the conflict of West

Papua, by organizing a self-determination referendum.

Mr Sobel shed a light on to the work of the IPWP, which is an important network in the fight

for human rights in West Papua. He raised questions on how Indonesia has spent the money

that the EU has funded; as he believes that the EU should not support Indonesia with any

funding as long as Indonesia uses bureaucratic reasons to delay the visit of the United

Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. This should be an urgent visit and therefore

he wants increasing international pressure on the situation of West Papua. He also reminded

the EU on their role, which is to raise the right questions and ensure that people’s voices are

heard at the Commission and in the United Nations.

Ms Mehta, who advocates for activating a law to protect the earth, by amending the ICC to

include ecocide alongside genocide and crimes against humanity. She stands in solidarity

with the West Papuan people, as she believes in the Green State Vision: which she called a

brave road. She stated that she has been inspired by the audacity, positivity and generosity

of West Papuans in their fight for independence. She added that West Papuans deserve

justice as their candle does more than just shine in the darkness.

Mr Regenvanu, who joined via video conference from Vanuatu, reminded the audience about

other Pacific islands such as East Timor; that has gone through a similar situation as West

Papua, when being occupied by Indonesia. The fact that East Timor managed to become

independent, gives Mr Regenvanu assurance that West Papua will achieve the same

eventually. However, he clarifies that in order to get to this point, the EU and supporters

around the world must continue to advocate for West Papua and put pressure on this topic.

Furthermore, he states that we must be ahead of the game and make sure that the territory

for West Papua is prepared and the Green State vision is put ahead.Carles Puigdemont i Casamajó

Brussel·les, dijous 12 de maig de 2022

Brussels, Thursday 12 May 2022

West Papua: Human rights, self-determination, and green state vision

Room: ASP 5G1, from 10h to 12h


1) Benvinguda / Welcome: MH President Carles Puigdemont, 130th President of the

Generalitat de Catalunya


President-in-Exile of Catalonia since November 2017, he is Member of

the European Parliament for Together for Catalonia (Junts per Catalunya)

since July 2021.

He was the 130th President of the Generalitat de Catalunya from January

2016 and October 2017. He led the organisation of Catalonia’s self

determination referendum of 1 October 2017 and the consequent

Declaration of Independence of 27 October 2017.

Before, he was mayor of Girona between 2011 and 2016.

2) Vídeo d’en / Video by MEP Pernando Barrena, Member of the European Parliament for

EH Bildu


A proud Navarran, Mr Barrena has been involved in the movement for the

self-determination of the Basque Country since the 1980s.

He was member of the Navarran Parliament between 1995 and 2003.

Before that, he was member of the Berriozar municipal council between

1984 and 1995.Carles Puigdemont i Casamajó

3) Ponents / Speakers:

Benny Wenda

Interim President of the ULMWP. Provisional Government of West Papua


Mr Wenda is the Chair of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua

and was granted asylum in the UK by the British government in 2003.

In 2020, the United Liberation Movement for West Papua announced a new government-in

waiting, together with a constitution for the Republic of West Papua. Mr Wenda is since then

Interim President.

Alex Sobel

Labour MP (UK), Chair of the International Parliamentarians for West



He is a Member of the British Parliament since June 2017, for Leeds North

West, although his political career started as Member of the Leeds City

Council for Moortown, between 2012 and 2018.

He is currently the Shadow Minister for Nature, Water and Flooding of Labour in the UK,

since December 2021. Before, he was Shadow Minister for Tourism and Heritage.

Jojo Mehta

Co-founder of Stop Ecocide International


Mme Mehta is Chair of the charitable Stop Ecocide Foundation.

She founded Stop Ecocide International in 2018 in order to support the

establishment of ecocide as a crime at the International Criminal Court.

She has overseen and coordinated the development of the ecocide concept to be included in

the Law.Carles Puigdemont i Casamajó

Ralph Regenvanu

Leader of the Opposition of the Republic of Vanuatu, member of the

International Parliamentarians for West Papua


He has been a Member of the Parliament of Vanuatu since 2008, for Port

Vila. Since then, from 2011 to 2020, he has been involved in the public

management of his nation. He has been Minister of Cooperatives and

Business Development, Minister of Lands, of Justice and Natural Resources, and finally of

Foreign Affairs and Trade. Now he still serves Vanuatu as the Leader of th

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