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Benny Wenda
Benny Wenda
Benny Wenda is a West Papuan independence leader and Chairman of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua. He is an international lobbyist for the independence of West Papua from Indonesia. He lives in exile in the United Kingdom.

Making history – the first ULMWP Congress in West Papua

West Papua news
Image – Benny Wenda, Facebook.

I am greatly honoured to have been elected as President of the ULMWP Provisional Government at the historic Congress that has just concluded in Port Numbay.

I have spoken to Edison Waromi and know that he is overjoyed to have been elected as Prime Minister. We take our mandate from the people very seriously; together, we will continue our work to free our people.

The Congress is the highest body according to our constitution. It represents the people’s will, as well as the democracy that we will create once we have liberated our country. I am ready and willing to work with everyone, inside and outside West Papua, including the National Committee for West Papua (KNPB), the Alliance of Papuan Students (AMP), all church and religious leaders of every denomination, all our solidarity groups in Indonesia and around the world, and of course our three founding fathers, the Federal Republic of West Papua (NRFPB), National Coalition for Liberation (WPNCL) and West Papua National Parliament (PNWP). As Prime Minister, Edison Waromi will work with the seven Regional Executives according to our constitutional setup. We will also work with our military wings towards a peaceful self-determination referendum mediated by international mechanisms: ultimately, this is the only lasting resolution to the Papua conflict. Together, we will implement our constitution and peacefully gain our freedom. Our strength comes from our unity: one people, one soul.

Observing the Congress in Port Numbay, I am reminded of the Papua People’s Congress in 2000. I was present at that extraordinary event, working to mobilise the people. For my actions I was put in prison. I was lucky – I was able to escape – but many of our leaders, including Theys Eluay, were killed or imprisoned. We failed to win liberation, but our mobilisation was a major step forward. Our struggle must recognise and celebrate all the major Congresses in our history: 1961, 2000, 2011 and now 2023. As the first Congress in the history of the ULMWP, this is an historic milestone in our journey towards sovereignty and statehood.

As the highest body of our constitution, the Resolutions issued by Congress supersede and dissolve the previous legal basis of the ULMWP. They must be respected by all parties. I welcome the Congress Resolutions, including the important recommitment to our roadmap of securing a UN visit to West Papua and gaining full membership of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG). Our mission is clear and our spirit is strong. We are getting closer to achieving our goals, and I welcome the Communiques supporting a UN visit issued by the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), Organisation of African, Caribbean, and Pacific States (OACPS), and most recently the MSG. We will work together with every group, especially the KNPB and Alliance of Papuan Students, to find a solution.

I call on all West Papuans, whether in the cities, the highlands, in prison, exile, or living as guerillas in the bush, to support our Congress and support the ULMWP in achieving our goal of peacefully winning our freedom.

God bless West Papua. Papua Merdeka. Wa wa wa wa wa.

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