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The separatist fighters or OPMs are calling on Australia, New Zealand and other members of the Pacific Islands Forum to engage with Indonesia to ensure the safe  release of the New Zealand Pilot, Philip Mehrtens and peaceful resolution of the West Papua conflict.

In a new video released by the OPM, Mr  Mehrtens who was kidnapped, said: “It is almost three months since OPM kidnapped me …Indonesia has been dropping bombs in the area the last week and there’s no need – it’s dangerous for me and everybody here.”

The OPM is also appealing to the people of the Pacific to continue to support the people of West Papua in their time of need.

“We can assure you that Mr. Merthens is part of our Pacific family and no harm will be done to him by the people of West Papua. The actions of our enemy so far have been putting the life of Mr. Merthens and our people at risk,” OPM Chairman and Commander, Jeffrey Bomay said in a media statement.

The international community so far has been supporting the people of Ukraine based on the international principles of sovereignty and non-interference and on principles of human rights. These principles are universal principles that should be applied throughout the world including the people of West Papua. In fact, United Nations General Assembly Resolution 2621 (XXV) calls on the UN Member States to assist decolonization movements around the world to fight for self-determination and independence from their colonizers.

“The people of West Papua are no different from the people of Ukraine who are defending their motherland against an illegal invader and unlawful military occupation and annexation of their territory. The Ukrainians’ war of liberation is now 426 days while the West Papuans’ war of liberation has been going on for the last six decades up until now.

“The difference is that – the UN Member countries and the international community is publicly supporting Ukraine’s right to freedom but also publicly supporting Indonesia’s illegitimate claim to West Papua. The UN Member countries including Australia and New Zealand continue to supply armaments for Ukraine’s liberation effort but also supply Indonesia with armaments and
political and diplomatic support to destroy the same right to freedom and national sovereignty of the people of West Papua. We see that there is double standard on the part of the UN Member states which continue to practice cherry-picking on which people to assist and which people to kill on purpose. In our case, our people are purposely designed for extinction due to the complicity and collusion of the international community with Indonesia against the people of West Papua.

“We have never brought our war of liberation into the streets of cities in Indonesia. We do not intend to do so. But the UN Member States support Indonesia in collusion and complicity in their decades-long crimes against humanity across West Papua. Captain Phillip Merthens is safe, but this could change at any moment thanks to Indonesia’s reluctance to our call for international negotiation mediated by a neutral third party outside of Indonesia.

Indonesian chief of armed forces, General Laksamana Yudo Margono has embarked on “groundcombat operations” after 15 TNI soldiers were killed in Nduga on 15 April 2023. Indonesia has recently sent 10,000 extra soldiers to the region in the hope to win their military campaigns (Source: Papua Intelligence Service – PIS).

“The life of Mr. Merthens hangs on the OPM’s demand for international negotiation. The New Zealand Government’s appeal for resolution through peaceful means has not been approved by the Indonesian Government so far. The OPM wants the safe release of Captain Merthens and peaceful resolution to the sixty years old West Papua conflict. If Indonesia can agree to negotiate peacefully with GAM in Aceh why not with OPM? Are Indonesian government racist?

“We appeal to the government of New Zealand to continue to push for peaceful approach to the release of Mr. Merthens and to resolve the West Papua conflict,” OPM commander concluded.


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