– The issue
West Papua is a Pacific Island country under colonial occupation. Since Indonesia invaded and illegally occupied West Papua in 1963, over 500,000 indigenous West Papuan people have been killed. Home to one of the world’s largest rainforests, West Papua (bordering independent Papua New Guinea to the East) is one of the most biodiverse places on Earth.
But today West Papua is home to the world’s largest goldmine, huge palm oil plantations and a massive natural gas field operated by notorious polluter BP. 80% of the world’s biodiversity is protected by indigenous peoples but over 95% of global deforestation takes place on the land of indigenous peoples, with huge companies ravaging places like West Papua for the sake of corporate profit.
Environmental defenders face imprisonment or death and West Papuan villages are being routinely bombed by the Indonesian military while the world remains silent. West Papua is home to the lungs of the world, yet the Indonesian government is intent on carving out millions more hectares of this pristine rainforest. Without this vital oxygenating forest being protected by the people who live there, we cannot hope to combat global climate change.
– The solution
The people of West Papua have never given up their struggle for justice and despite a media blackout have been campaigning for over 50 years in the face of massive oppression.
Now during COP26, the indigenous people of West Papua are showing the world that they have the solutions to fight climate change, and it centers around an exciting vision for the future.
West Papuans are launching their historic Green State Vision at COP26 in Glasgow this November. This bold vision, for indigenous climate justice, is based on traditional Melanesian beliefs around reciprocity between all beings and explicitly places the rights of people and planet before profit. It envisions a truly independent and decolonised West Papua, where ecological freedom and political freedom are both seen as sacred and climate justice is advocated for internationally.
In an appeal for international solidarity with this historic vision, Benny Wenda, Interim President of the ULMWP Provisional Government of West Papua (ULMWP) writes:
“Please support my people in our struggle for climate justice and freedom. Our Green State Vision shows the world that we, the indigenous people of West Papua have the solutions and must be allowed to live in our own land freely. We need all environmental and climate campaigns to adopt West Papua as a major issue. The fate of this planet depends on we indigenous people’s guardianship of the lungs of the world.”
– The action
– Show your support! Please print out, and take photos of yourselves/your group with this placard, upload it to social media and show your solidarity with West Papua!
– Come to the March Against Climate Colonialism! If you can make it, please come to the March Against Climate Colonialism in Glasgow on 7th November. Organised by Global Justice Now and the Free West Papua Campaign, this march will call out the big polluters complicit in human rights and environmental abuses in West Papua and elsewhere.
– Please also use this suggested tweet, which can be used, or modified for Instagram, Facebook, Tiktok etc.