West Papua: Agreement of conflict parties over humanitarian pause

On 14 November 2022, the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) published in a press release the success of a joint humanitarian pause in certain areas of Papua.

The parties referred to in the agreement include the National Commission on Human Rights of Indonesia (Komnas HAM), the Papuan People’s Assembly (MRP), the West Papua Council of Churches (DGP) and the ULMWP. One objective df the agreed humanitarian pause is to allow humanitarian assistance to internally displaced indigenous Papuans in one specific region. The press release has not mentioned which region is concerned.

A second objective is to ensure the fulfilment of basic human rights for political prisoners in Papua.

With this initiative, the parties encourage a “temporary cessation of hostilities and violence, in order to support the exploratory process towards peace negotiations” on the conflict in Indonesia’s easternmost provinces, a region also commonly referred to as West Papua.

A humanitarian corridor is to be prepared for the access of aid providers. The corridor is to be overseen by a Humanitarian Pause Team. The team is to involve local, national and international actors.

The full text of the press release:

“AGREEMENT OVER A JOINT HUMANITARIAN PAUSE”

On this occasion, we wish to convey an important milestone in the exploratory process towards peace negotiations. On 11 November 2022, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed to implement a Joint Humanitarian Pause in the Land of Papua.

The United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) represents a political platform for the Papuan people to struggle for the right to self-determination for the Papuan people in a dignified manner. The ULMWP will also continue to carry out its humanitarian mission and garner political and diplomatic support from the region and the international community, in addition to encouraging the opening of democratic pace through peace negotiations to seek a resolution to the conflict in West Papua.

The conflict between the Papuan people and the Government of Indonesia, which has lasted for 59 years, has taken its toll. In this conflict resolution process, the Parties referred to include the National Commission on Human Rights of the Republic of Indonesia (KOMNAS HAM RI), the Papuan People’s Assembly, (MRP), the West Papua Council of Churches (DGP), and the ULMWP. The Parties have held three exploratory meetings towards peace negotiations, namely on 15 June 2022, 18-19 August 2022, and 10-11 November 2022. All of these meetings took place in the city of Geneva, Switzerland.

On 11 November 2022, the Parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding to implement a Joint Humanitarian Pause in certain areas in Papua. This Joint Humanitarian Pause is conditional and represents a tangible demonstration of the commitment of the Parties in continuing their exploratory efforts towards peace negotiations. This Memorandum of Understanding also regulates the principles, procedures, and mechanisms for implementing the Joint Humanitarian Pause.

The main objective of the Joint Humanitarian Pause is to target the provision of humanitarian assistance to civilians trapped in areas affected by armed conflict and civilians displaced by armed conflict in a certain region and timeframe through a “Humanitarian Corridor”, which will be further revealed in the future. In addition to this, the Joint Humanitarian Pause covers ensuring the fulfilment of basic human rights for prisoners, namely political prisoners in Papua.

This Joint Humanitarian Pause is an effort to encourage a temporary cessation of hostilities and violence, in order to support the exploratory process towards peace negotiations to address protracted conflict in the Land of Papua. During the implementation of the Joint Humanitarian Pause, the Parties engaged in armed conflict will provide a “Humanitarian Corridor” as a safe route for the distribution of aid and provide access to the Humanitarian Pause Team. This Joint Humanitarian Pause will be implemented and monitored by the Humanitarian Pause Team, which will be jointly formed by the Parties, and involve stakeholders at the local, national, and international levels.

The parties involved in the armed conflict are dutybound to uphold the principle of non-aggression, and refrain from carrying out provocations aimed at creating new battlefields in the Land of Papua. It is hoped that the implementation of this Joint Humanitarian Pause is supported and implemented.

Accordingly, this press release is made for distribution.
Geneva, 14 November 2022
The United Liberation Movement for West Papua Delegation, Markus Haluk, Executive Director, Menase Tabuni, ULMWP Founder