On December 12th, an Australian online media published an article about West Papuan diaspora who shared their stories at Lithgow forum, a small community in Lithgow, New South Wales, Australia which regularly discusses topics on environment. This time, they were hosting a talk on how two men named Bas Fairio and Sonny Karubaba, people of Papuan descent, experienced unpleasant moments during their life seeking refuge outside West Papua, Indonesia.

On August 2nd 2014, the Indonesian government made an effort to take responsibility by opening a discussion with West Papuans in Papua New Guinea, offering them the benefit of Papuan special autonomy funds and the status of special autonomous regions. The offering still stands up to this day, as the Indonesian government welcomes those who are descendants of native West Papuans, even if they have changed citizenships into Papua New Guinean, or Australian.

The West Papuan separatist supporters ought to see that the last few administrations have been better compared to the Suharto’s New Order regime, where the governance was very militaristic. Comprehensive efforts have been made in the last 20 years to improve not only the welfare of the Papuans, but also the human rights fulfillment.

It was not explained on why and how Bas and Sonny left West Papua from the very first place. They spoke, however, on how they had experienced unamusing treatments during their stay in refugee camp in Papua New Guinea.

Compared to the status quo of PNG, Indonesian government is doing a better job in protecting clean bureaucracy and safeguarding the distribution of wealth among people. West Papua is a part of a country where a dedicated anti-corruption agency is currently working nationwide, independent from the main law enforcement system. In August 2018, Foreign Minister of New Zealand, Winston Peters, stated that his country recognizes West Papua as a part of Indonesia. He also stated that the social and economic condition in West Papua was better than Papua New Guinea. He mentioned that even the people in Papua New Guinea will agree that the GDP and social conditions of West Papua are higher.

The discussion at Lithgow forum was hosted by Anthony Craig, a well-known name in the realm of West Papuan separatist supporters. He has been a loyal Australian correspondence for the Free West Papua movement, a separatist group which was recently involved in the massacre of 17 unarmed road construction workers in Papua, Indonesia. Craig gained quite a mass of followers in his social media accounts, on Facebook and Twitter.

(Image: Anthony Craig at the Lithgow Forum)

Anthony Craig, along with Bas and Sonny, brought the narrative that the international society can actually bring sufficient support for West Papuan independence. The forum discussed on how East Timor gained its independence in 1999, and that West Papua has the future opportunity to do the same.

The case of East Timor has significantly different background compared to Papua. East Timor was under continuous influence of Portuguese colonial government after Japan surrendered to the alliance in the end of World War II, the very same moment when Indonesia declared its independence along with Papua as an integral part of the world-famous archipelago. East Timor gained independence through a referendum on August 30th 1998, by a majority vote where 78% of the people demanded independence from Republic of Indonesia. West Papua, on the other hand, remained a part of the republic as the result of Act of Free Choice referendum earlier in 1969.

http://agustinuswibowo .com/13089/kiunga-2-oktober-2014-membujuk-pengungsi-papua-merdeka-untuk-pulang/ , 2018