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Viewing cable 08JAKARTA143, PAPUA -- NEW EXILE GROUP TRIES TO GAIN TRACTION

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08JAKARTA143 2008-01-24 07:33 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Jakarta
VZCZCXRO9693
OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHJA #0143/01 0240733
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 240733Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY JAKARTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7737
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS PRIORITY
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA PRIORITY 1914
RUEHPB/AMEMBASSY PORT MORESBY PRIORITY 3633
RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON PRIORITY 2263
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 4662
RUEHHE/AMEMBASSY HELSINKI 0908
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 1439
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RHHJJPI/USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 JAKARTA 000143 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EAP, EAP/MTS, EAP/MLS, EAP/ANP, EUR/NB 
NSC FOR E.PHU 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/23/2018 
TAGS: PGOV PINS ID FI
SUBJECT: PAPUA -- NEW EXILE GROUP TRIES TO GAIN TRACTION 
 
JAKARTA 00000143  001.2 OF 002 
 
 
Classified By: Pol/C Joseph Legend Novak, reasons 1.4 (b+d). 
 
1.  (C) SUMMARY:  A new group of self-described Papuan exiles 
has told us it seeks to open negotiations with Jakarta over 
the province's legal status.  The group's focus on 
"self-determination" basically makes their efforts a 
non-starter with the GOI.  Moreover, the exiles' almost 
exclusive focus on Papua's legal status highlights a growing 
rift with activists inside Papua, who are considerably more 
moderate.  That said, the exiles remain a factor and clearly 
maintain some residual support in Papua.  END SUMMARY. 
 
THE USUAL SUSPECTS? 
 
2.  (SBU) There is a new organization on the scene pressing 
Papua-related issues.  Self-described Papuan exile groups 
have formed a new umbrella organization called the West Papua 
National Coalition for Liberation (WPNCL).  The WPNCL's 
purpose is to press Jakarta into negotiations over Papua's 
legal and political status.  The group claims to include all 
the major groups that support Papuan independence, including 
the Free Papua Movement (OPM), the National Liberation Forces 
of West Papua (TPN-PB) and the Papua Presidium Council. 
Papuan student groups are also part of the WPNCL, while 
non-Papuan supporter groups--such as ELSHAM Australia--have 
observer status. 
 
3.  (C) Australia-based WPNCL spokesperson Paula Makabory 
asserted to poloff in a recent telephone conversation that 
numerous Papuans within Indonesia supported the coalition. 
She added, however, that she could not provide more details 
out of "fear" for their safety.  Makabory also emphasized 
that the WPNCL would pursue its goals through peaceful means 
and did not support any violent actions in support of Papuan 
"self-determination" (usually a code word used by 
anti-Indonesian Papuans to mean independence). 
 
FAMILIAR GRIEVANCES 
 
4.  (C) The new group's grievances are not new.  The WPNCL's 
approach basically rests on the claim that Indonesia 
illegally absorbed Papua (then Dutch New Guinea) through the 
1969 UN-supervised Act of Free Choice.  As a remedy, they 
propose internationally mediated negotiations with Indonesia 
over Papua's socio-political status.  This, they hope, will 
lead to some mechanism wherein Papuans would express their 
will regarding the province's future.  Given that 
opportunity, a majority of Papuans would choose independence, 
Makabory claimed.  She also argued that since the WPNCL 
represented "all Papuans" it was "the only voice" which could 
engage Jakarta on behalf of the Papuans. 
 
5.  (C) WPNCL statements also regurgitate many of the 
dramatic but vague claims that are the stock in trade of 
Papuan independence supporters.  These include accusations of 
genocide, gross human rights violations and massive 
environmental destruction purportedly committed by 
Indonesians.  When pressed to provide more specific 
information, however, Makabory and other WPNCL officials 
offered nothing new. 
 
6.  (C) Makabory told poloff that a Finnish organization had 
agreed to mediate negotiations between the WPNCL and the 
Indonesian government, although she declined to provide 
details.  Finnish Embassy Second Secretary Riitta Gerlander 
told poloff that neither the Finnish government nor any 
Finnish organizations had agreed to mediate any such 
negotiations.  She dismissed the claim as a "rumor" and 
thought it unlikely that any Finnish organization would 
become involved with the WPNCL. 
 
7.  (C) So far, WPNCL activities have been confined to 
writing letters to world leaders and issuing public 
statements.  Makabory told poloff that WPNCL General 
Secretary John Otto Ondowame had written to President 
 
SIPDIS 
Yudhoyono in late December but had not received a reply. 
Ondowame reportedly plans to send letters to Western leaders, 
including President Bush, and to UN Secretary General Ban 
Ki-Moon.  The group has also issued a number of public 
 
JAKARTA 00000143  002.2 OF 002 
 
 
statements, largely through the internet sites of various 
activist groups. 
 
GOING NOWHERE? 
 
8.  (C) Most long-time Papua observers think the WPNCL has no 
chance of engaging the GOI in negotiations.  Papua Forum 
Chairman Albert Hasibuan told poloff that Jakarta officials 
would reject any interaction with an overtly pro-independence 
group like the WPNCL. 
 
9.  (C) In addition--and in what appears to be a continuing 
phenomenon--many activists and officials in Papua reject the 
exiles' approach.  Ronald Tapilatu, an advisor to Papua 
Governor Barnabas Suebu, told poloff that the WPNCL approach 
was "counter-productive":  it would only confirm the view 
held by some central government officials that "all Papuans 
are separatists."  This perception would only strengthen the 
hand of those in the GOI who favored a strong-handed 
"security approach" in Papua, he said.  It would also 
undercut the efforts of both national and provincial leaders 
to implement Papua's Special Autonomy agreement with Jakarta. 
 
 
10. (C) Budi Hernawan, Director of the Jayapura Diocese Peace 
and Justice Secretariat (SKP), agreed with this assessment, 
and told poloff that the WPNCL's activities could hamper the 
work of human rights advocates in the province.  WPNCL public 
statements combined claims about alleged human rights 
violations in Papua with demands for political independence. 
This, according to Hernawan, made it more difficult for human 
rights defenders to convince Indonesian authorities that they 
were only concerned with human rights and did not have a 
position on Papua's political status.  "We can only work if 
we are seen as above politics," he said. 
 
NOT GOING AWAY 
 
11.  (C) The WPNCL seems to have succeeded in linking many 
key exile groups together.  While the group probably will not 
get too far in working with the central government in 
Jakarta, it should not be dismissed altogether.  Many Papuans 
follow what the exiles are saying on the internet and 
elsewhere, and their separatist-leaning views carry some 
weight in Papua.  In discussions with the WPNCL 
representative, poloff underscored USG support for the 
territorial integrity of Indonesia, noting the need for full 
implementation of Special Autonomy. 
 
HUME