The Asia- Pacific Solidarity Coalition (APSOC) joins the world in mourning the passing of Viktor Kaisiepo, revered leader of the West Papuan struggle for self-determination and one of the world’s renowned indigenous people’s rights activist and leader. He may have joined his Creator and ancestors, but he left a lasting legacy of enduring passion, intelligence and resilience in the face of perhaps one of the most challenging human rights causes of our time—the struggle for the self-determination of West Papua and other voiceless, stateless and marginalized peoples.
While we mourn this great loss to the cause of human rights and social justice, and extend our heartfelt sympathies to his family, friends and the noble peoples whose seemingly forlorn causes he staunchly advanced till the end, we celebrate his life and continue to be inspired by his example. A number of us had the privilege to meet with him under various circumstances and recall only the fondest memories of a dedicated, politically astute and gifted activist hiding behind an amiable, serene and unassuming mien.
Gus Miclat, Executive Director of the Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID) remembers him as a fellow traveler several years ago who had the uncanny knack of espousing lonely causes such as the freedom of East Timor, and subsequently West Papua and other issues of self-determination. What made champions like Viktor stand their ground was their enduring belief in the justness of their struggles, their unwavering faith in our common humanity, and the relentless spirit of global solidarity.
The Asia-Pacific Solidarity Coalition (APSOC) will continue to carry on the legacy of Viktor Kasiepo and other heroes and martyrs of indigenous peoples’ causes. The struggle of the West Papuan people’s for self-determination should be carried forward from the margins to the mainstream, and from a forlorn corner to global attention that would eventually lead to the just resolution that it long-deserves.
This way, we honor Viktor Kaisiepo, his sacrifices and his noble deeds.
Rest well and Godspeed, Viktor!
*February 8, 2010
Background on Viktor Kaisiepo:
*Papuan human rights activist, *Viktor Kaisiepo*, passed away in his home town of Amersfoort, in the Netherlands, at the age of 61.
/Kaisiepo/ was a spokesperson for the /West Papua People’s Front/, which is a federation of Papuan organizations in the Netherlands. Kaisiepo was born in /Dutch New Guinea/. His family left for the Netherlands when Dutch New Guinea was handed over to /Indonesia/ in 1962. Kaisiepo’s father was a well-known activist for Papuan independence. Viktor Kaisiepo followed his father’s footsteps, and also became one of the most well regarded activists for Papuan independence.
Kaisiepo frequently lobbied the /United Nations/ to promote the rights of his people as well as the rights of other indigenous peoples. He devoted his life to the right to self-determination of the Indonesian province of /Papua/. Kaisiepo became a familiar face to the indigenous activists throughout theworld, representing the indigenous peoples of Papua at various international conferences. He was the Executive Director of the /Foundation Papua Lobby/, and a member of /Presidium Dewan Papua/ and represented the organization in Europe, the United States, and at the United Nations.
Since 2003, he served as a consultant to the /Word Bank Grants Facility for Indigenous Peoples/. He also co-founded and held positions in various NGOs, including: the /Unrepresented Nations and People’s Organization (UNPO),/ an international organizations with 110 millions members whose aim is to achieve recognition and improvement for peoples through peaceful means; the /InternationalAlliance of Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in the Tropical Forests/; the secretariat of /Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific (NFIP);/ and served as a Human Rights Defender in 1985 for the United Nations.
Kaisiepo will be remembered as one of the most influential human rights activists.
/By Cindy Trinh
Impunity Watch Reporter
Oceania MANOKWARI, West Papua/
*Statement of Unrepresented Peoples’ Organisation (UNPO)
on the passing of Victor Kaisiepo*
On hearing of the demise of Mr. Victor Kaisiepo, the UNPO responded with great sadness. Mr. Kaisiepo was one of the founding members of the UNPO in 1991 at the Peace Palace in The Hague, the Netherlands and acted as the Assistant General Secretary for the Environment in the early 1990’s. Afterwards, he remained a highly regarded member of the UNPO Steering Committee for many years as well as a compassionate speaker at various UNPO events.
Hereby the UNPO offers its sincere condolences to the family of Mr. Kaisiepo and wants to assure them of the highest respect for him and his work.
While born in West Papua, his family left for the Netherlands when the territory was handed over to Indonesia in 1962, and Mr. Kaisiepo lived in Amersfoort, the Netherlands, until his death.
Victor Kaisiepo’s passing has left the West Papuan community in the Netherlands and in West Papua in mourning, as he was a renowned Papuan activist and spokesperson. He also functioned as European Representative of the Papuan Council of the Papuan Presidium (PDP) as well as International Representative of the Dewan Adat Papua (DAP), the Indigenous Papua Council. He partook in the international Papua Lobby, seeking to generate support for genuine dialogue between the Papuans and the government in Jakarta. Moreover, Mr Kaisiepo has lobbied at the United Nations to promote the rights of his people as well as the rights of other indigenous peoples.
Mr. Busdachin, current UNPO General Secretary, on behalf of all 54 members of UNPO pays his respects to this remarkable spokesperson and activist within the West Papuan community, as being one of the founding fathers of UNPO.