Keynote Address at the Conference on the Self-Determination and Liberation of West Papua: Page 2 of 5

Posted on 19 April 2017

self-determination is recognized in international law as a right of process (not of outcome) belonging to peoples and not to states or governments.


“The more oppressed a people is by a ruling group of a different nationality, the more that people will seek separation from that group as a pre-requisite for the enjoyment of fundamental rights and freedoms. The better the relations between the various peoples populating a state, the more likely that distinct peoples will see benefits of association with the others in a framework that provides for their basic group needs.”

A Policy of Forcible Integration or Assimilation and National Oppression

The government of Republic of Indonesia subverted the UN referendum process towards the independence of West Papua after Dutch colonialism, thus Indonesia does not have an historical title to those occupied territories despite the desire of comprador-landlord class who inherited a newly independent Indonesia.  They cannot invoke the concept of territorial integrity to justify its occupation of the territories of other peoples nor can the occupation be based on the consent of the Indigenous Peoples in those territories.

In the assimilation and annexation of West Papua into Indonesia, a policy of national oppression was instituted whereby politico-military systems of the Indonesian state were instituted and the whole territory and people were subjected to the dominant social system of Indonesia. Furthermore, West Papua was turned into a militarized zone, not only in response to the resistance of the West Papua people but also to assure the plunder of natural resources by multinationals and their comprador partners.

By this annexation and assimilation, the West Papuan people became ‘second-class’ citizens of a country not historically their own   They suffer discrimination and inequalities within the system, at the same time that they are prevented from pursuing freely their own national existence and development outside the Indonesian system.

In effect, the West Papuan people remain conquered after the Dutch and under the Indonesian Republic they are denied of ancestral lands and resources, and they are denied democratic self-rule of any form whatsoever from the local to the national level.  The Indonesian state’s policy of militarization and migration continue with ethnocidal effects while its socio-economic impositions destroy the West Papua society in the name of "national development" of Indonesia.  The dominant superstructure of the Indonesian social system actively disables traditional or customary socio-political processes, commercializes indigenous cultures and perpetuates discrimination against Indigenous Peoples in various ways.

Liberation from National Oppression as the Expression of the Right to Self-Determination

It is axiomatic that the ultimate expression and assertion of the right of self-determination from an oppressive state or aggressor is to fight for liberation, fight for independence and secession by a nation.

For Lenin, the key was for the Great Russian working class and the revolutionary party to make clear their unequivocal opposition to every manifestation of Great Russian oppression, privilege and racism. The party had to be the leader in fighting for equality of language rights, equality of education and of cultural rights. He was confident that the unity

PDF icon Keynote_Tujan_West Papua Study Conf.pdf766.25 KB
Global Region: