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The Young Heroes of West Papua

In celebration of the Indigenous Peoples Heroes Day on November 10, we are taking this opportunity to put the spotlight on the historic role of the Indigenous youth of West Papua who carry the banner of the national struggle for self-determination and liberation.


Youth groups Papuan Student Alliance (AMP); Papuan Student, Youth, and People's Movement (GempaR Papua); West Papua Independent Student's Forum (FIM-WP), and the National Solidarity of Students and Youth of West Papua (Sonamapa) unite under the Papuan Student Struggle Union (SEPAHAM). The union stands against imperialism, colonialism, militarism, capitalism, and sexism which they recognize as the enemies of the Papuan people.


Photo Credit: Suara Papua


Komite Nasional Papua Barat (KNPB) Chairperson Agus Kossay reads the declaration of the KNPB 2nd Congress in Jayapura in October 2018. One year later, Agus Kossay is among those arrested and charged with treason by the Indonesian state in relation to the massive protests of the 3rd quarter of 2019. The Komite Nasional Papua Barat is a national mass movement campaigning for West Papua self-determination which was founded and prominently led by Indigenous youth.


Photo Credit: Suara Papua



Young women activists took part in the anti-racism protests in West Papua and Java during the West Papua uprising. The themes of the protests have since escalated into calls for self-determination through a referendum. The Widodo Adminstration continues to turn a deaf ear to appeals from both local and international organizations.


Photo Credit: Mas Agung Wilis/NurPhoto, via Getty Images



In the heavily-militarized highlands of West Papua, where the presence of the TNI have caused uncountable deaths, torture, and resource plunder, it is not uncommon to find the youth among the freedom fighters that opt to take up arms to defend the Papuan homeland. 19-year-old Egianus Kogoya leads a unit of the West Papua Liberation Army in the conflict-area of Nduga. Many more before him, including his father, have offered their lives to the dream of a free and independent nation.


Photo Credit: TPNPB