Jayapura, Jubi – An historic step on the road to freedom for West Papua was taken in London today. At a meeting of the International Parliamentarians for West Papua in the Houses of Parliament, a new declaration was made calling for an internationally supervised vote on the independence of West Papua.
The meeting was attended and supported by Samuela ‘Akilisi Pohiva the Prime Minister of Tonga; Bruno Leingkone, Minister for Foreign Affairs in Vanuatu; Rex Horoi, MSG Special Envoy on West Papua, Solomon Islands; Ralph Regenvanu, Minister of Lands and Natural Resources in Vanuatu; Gary Juffa, Governor of Oro District, Papua New Guinea; Lord Harries of Pentregarth, UK House of Lords, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Leader of the UK Opposition; and Benny Wenda, international spokesperson of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua and several other British MPs.
The Prime Minister of Tonga offered his country’s full support for the ongoing struggle of the people of West Papua. He explained how it was the responsibility of the United Nations to ensure human rights were upheld in West Papua and how he would continue to push for this.
Jeremy Corbyn spoke of his personal interest in West Papua and his role as a UN observer in East Timor. He talked of the need for justice and human rights to be delivered to the people of West Papua and stated that the world could either continue having this conflict or could choose to live in a world of peace and justice which would come from the recognition of human rights for everybody – a cornerstone of foreign policy.
He reiterated his support for the struggle for freedom of West Papua and how he would like this to be written in the policy of the British Labour Party.
A statement by the Prime Minister of Guyana, Moses Nagamootoo was read by Melinda Janki, an international human rights lawyer. He offered his country’s ongoing support of the right to self determination for the people of West Papua.
Ralph Regenvanu told of Vanuatu’s long term support for West Papua. He spoke of how the first Prime Minister of Vanuatu, Father Walter Lini, had stated that “Vanuatu would not be truly independent while any other Melanesian country is not”. MSG commitment He spoke of the commitment by Melanesian countries to bring West Papua into the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) and that Vanuatu was working for West Papua to gain full membership of the MSG at its upcoming meeting.
Rex Horoi special envoy from the Solomon Islands highlighted the key areas of the Solomon Islands support for West Papua which involved: urgency of stopping Human rights abuse in West Papua, recognsising the political identity of the ULMWP and the strategic engagement of the Solomon Islands government with neighbours in the Pacific and around the world. He also redefined the importance of the Pacific by renaming the “small island states” as the “big ocean states”.
Gary Juffa also mentioned his personal connection with the people of West Papua. He told of how his father had captained the first boat of refugees from West Papua and how he promised them that he would do everything he could to fight with them for their freedom. He explained that regrettably PNG still recognised Indonesian sovereignty but a large movement in PNG was emerging in support of West Papuan freedom and that he would continue to be one of the main political voices of this movement.
Lord Harries remembered meeting Benny Wenda when he first came to the UK in 2003, how the issue was almost unknown at this time and what a long way it had come today with representatives from the “big ocean nations” championing the cause.
He continued to read out a statement of support by Reverend Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu:
“Dear people and friends of West Papua. Please accept, from the southern tip of Africa, the love and blessings of a retired fellow-traveller for justice. Human rights and justice are universal values. It has been very heartening to witness the growth of the movement to secure justice for the people of West Papua. Your call for an internationally supervised vote to determine the will of the people of West Papua has my support. God bless you.”
Finally Benny Wenda, described his feelings around being here now after a long journey, declaring that the Indonesian occupation is illegal and must be ended now. He finished by reading out the declaration that was signed by all international parliamentarians present.
The secretary-general of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua, Octovianus Mote, rounded it off thanking everyone including the various generations of freedom fighters for Papua represented here.
The declaration reads as follows:
Westminster Declaration for an Internationally Supervised Vote in West Papua
We the undersigned Members of Parliament, being members of the International Parliamentarians For West Papua:
I. Declare that continued human rights violations in West Papua are unacceptable.
II. Warn that without international action the West Papuan people risk extinction.
III. Reiterate the right of the people of West Papua to genuine self-determination.
IV. Declare the 1969 ‘Act of Free Choice’ to be a gross violation of this principle.
V. Call for an internationally supervised vote on self- determination in accordance with UN General Assembly Resolutions 1514 and 1541 (XV).
Palace of Westminster, the 3rd of May, 2016
ULMWP appeals to PIF for support on West Papua issue at UN
“There are two topics in the West Papuan struggle; one — Pacific leaders facing natural disasters and two – we in West Papua are facing genocide in our country.
“In addition West Papua is also saving the planet because as the second largest rain forest after the Amazon, we simply say politically, West Papua is the lung of the world and by saving it; we are also saving the world. Who knows what is going to happen in one hundred years’ time because the islands are sinking. West Papua can become the home of the Pacific (people) during sea level rise. I always tell Pacific leaders that when you save West Papua, you save the Pacific. When Vanuatu presents the West Papua Case to PIF, it is our prayer that other Pacific leaders will also support Vanuatu to take West Papua to the UN Decolonisation Committee”.
That is the message of the Chairman of the United Liberation Movement of West Papua (ULMWP), Benny Wenda, to the Pacific Islands Forum’s 49th Session at Nauru this week.
Member of Parliament for Ambrym Albert William says what Father Walter Lini said about West Papua is true that Vanuatu must continue to support freedom for West Papua.
“Now the issue of climate change has reached critical stage in West Papua and especially seeing what is happening in nearby Australia now. The signs are there. It is visible, you can feel it, you can see it. The Great Barrier Reef is facing a lot of stress from the negative excessive impact of development. It is a threat to all the reefs of the islands. When there is no reef, there is no fish and there is no food for humanity. The Australian Government has no other way but to step in to help farmers who are facing drought now”.
That is the view of MP William, a former Director of the Department of Environment of the Vanuatu Government.
He entered the Grand Hotel to join members of the ULMWP Executive as it finalised its stand ahead of the Pacific Islands Forum 49th Meeting in Nauru, where climate change is one of the prominent issues on the agenda.
Speaking for Geobjects, an organization that has developed a software to help Governments to better manage their environments while the Governments are allowing private companies and international conglomerates to exploit natural resources like what the American company is doing mining mineral resources in the second largest open cast mine in the world at Free Port Mine in West Papua, Geobjects Global Operations Manager Paul Montague of Australia says the advantage of the software is that it shows all the impacts of such giant or minimum developments and also predicts what is going to happen in the future.
Montagne says the software was developed to help Governments in Africa, Asia and the Pacific to better equip themselves in the way they allow their natural resources to be exploited.
Asked how a member country of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) can have access to the software, Montagne explains, “We would go into the countries that are interested in our product and sit down with them and try and establish a base line.
Asked if a PIF country has shown interest in the software, Montagne says countries further afield including Nigeria and Chana in Africa and the African Union have shown interests in the software.
While on the subject of Africa, he says the challenges facing Africa are similar to West Papua where foreign companies set up to reap the benefits from the countries’ natural resources while on the long run, leaving behind environmental damages difficult to correct.
Chairman of Liberation Movement of West Papua Benny Wenda says his country has become a regional issue and cannot go away from the PIF. “So far Vanuatu has been the only country to talk about the plight of West Papua but now we need more leaders from the Pacific to take up the West Papua issue. For example the PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neil has already stated that West Papua has to be taken back to the UN and so the Pacific has to be duty bound to take the case to the UN”, Wenda says.
“We are not asking the Pacific to invade Indonesia, we are asking them to sit down and discuss the issue as to whether the UN or Indonesia is right or wrong. We have to revisit the West Papua Issue. As members of the UN, Pacific leaders have a moral obligation to bring this case to the UN.
The human rights issues in West Papua are getting worse and worse. Last month in August, 49 West Papuan students were arrested across West Papua; killings and rapes by Indonesian soldiers are happening. Even last month in Dunga, there were displacement of Melanesians and human atrocities but nobody was there to report on the issues while Indonesia is assuring Melanesians, Polynesian and Micronesians that they are the good guys promoting democracy in the islands. But you cannot bring development on top of suffering. (*)
By Len Garae for Vanuatu Daily.
PIANGO wants Pacific leaders to commit over West Papua
Pasific, Jubi – Pacific Island civil society says the Pacific Island Forum leaders must support Vanuatu’s effort to take the issue of West Papua to the UN.
The executive director of the civil society umbrella group, PIANGO, or the Pacific Islands Association of Non Government Organisations, Emele Duituturaga, said they continue to be concerned with ongoing human rights violations in Indonesia’s Papuan provinces.
Ms Duituturaga said the issue of West Papua has been on the leaders agenda for decades without evident progress.
She said PIANGO had raised its concerns over the last two years, but nothing had changed.
Her organisation has called for a UN Special Rapporteur on West Papua to investigate continued human rights violations; support for a UN General Assembly Resolution to include West Papua on the UN Decolonisation List; and scrutiny of development co-operation with Indonesia and participation in the Pacific Island Forum.
Selected people representing civil society will meet with Pacific leaders next week at the leaders’ summit in Nauru. (*)
What Drives Indonesia’s Pacific Island Strategy?
By Grant Wyeth
Indonesia has recently been lifting its presence in the Pacific, courting a number of Pacific Island countries in an attempt to quell the region’s sympathies for the independence movement in the Indonesian province of West Papua.
A particular recent focus has been on boosting relations with a number of Micronesian states as a way of gaining influence in the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF). In July, the President of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) visited Jakarta, holding talks with President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo. Indonesia also has instigated plans to open a consulate in the FSM. Previously, Indonesian consular services in the region were run out of its Tokyo embassy. In February, an Indonesian cabinet minister was dispatched to Nauru for the tiny island’s 50th anniversary of independence, bringing with him a Papuan band. Both Nauru and Tuvalu have recently expressed support for Jakarta’s regional development programs in West Papua.
Beyond Micronesia, in April a delegation from the Melanesian state of Solomon Islands was invited to tour Indonesia’s West Papua and Papua provinces, which seems to have led to a review of Solomon Islands policy toward West Papua. Shifts in position toward the Indonesian province from Nauru, Tuvalu, and potentially Solomon Islands would be considered a significant victory for Jakarta, which previously accused these countries of “misusing” their platforms at the United Nations General Assembly to be critical of Indonesia’s policies in West Papua.
This increased Indonesian outreach comes during the ongoing deliberation over the application of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua to become a full member of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG), an issue that seems to have divided the organization. In late-July the Director-General of the MSG stated that discussions on the situation in West Papua don’t belong in the forum. However, last week Vanuatu appointed a special envoy to the restive province.
Vanuautu remains the most staunch supporter of the West Papuan independence movement, and it is a sentiment held strongly by both political elites and civil society within the country. Former Vanuatu Prime Minister Sato Kilman, who was a driving force behind Indonesia gaining observer status to the MSG, was forced to resign from office in 2013 partly due to a public suspicion that he was too close to Indonesia. The then-incoming prime minister swiftly cancelled a defense agreement with Indonesia, which had Jakarta providing equipment and assistance to the Vanuatu police.
In 2013, with Fiji suspended from the Pacific Island Forum (PIF), Fiji’s then-military dictator, Frank Bainimarama sought to set up the Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF) as a competitor to the PIF. At the following year’s forum then-Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) paid a three day visit to Fiji and delivered a keynote address to the PIDF, pledging $20 million over five years to climate change and natural disaster-proofing initiatives. Since then, Fiji’s opposition Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) has claimed Indonesia has given military support to Fiji in exchange for support for West Papua, and for Indonesia’s observer status in the MSG. The relationship between Fiji and Indonesia seems to be seen by Bainimarama has a potential bridge for Fiji into Asia, by-passing Australia, and for Indonesia, as a way to gain the support of one of the region’s more powerful actors.
The issue continues to create complexity within the Pacific’s Melanesian states. Recently Papua New Guinea Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, has advocated the issue of West Papuan independence be taken to the United Nations decolonization committee. However, the land border that PNG shares with Indonesia has constrained its ability to forcefully advocate for the West Papuan cause. And PNG’s own secessionist movement in Bougainville also requires Port Moresby to tread carefully for fear of reciprocal interference in its own affairs. (*)
Taparu in Kamoro socioculture
Jayapura indigenous school pays attention to children’s rights
KNPB supports Kanaky for self-determination
In Papuan human rights context, Jokowi considered no different from Prabowo
Migration is a factor of increasing poverty in Papua
Enembe plans to review autonomy funds distribution
Avoiding conflicts of interest on indigenous land mapping
Two hectares of forest area burned in Wasur National Park
Special autonomy fund not allocated for government officials
What do people expect for elected Papua Governor?
The on-going conflict in West Papua has many facets
Classes Halted for Two Months as Two Schools Blocked in Nabire
West Papua’s Black Brothers in Pom for Independence Concert
LP3BH: Indonesia continues to lie on human rights violations in Papua
Human Rights violations in West Papua observed by Christian Conference of Asia
Uranium and gold in the Land of New Guinea but in the hand of China and US
Indonesia wrests their control of West Papua through the New York agreement
Gerri Goo’s case will be raised at UNHRC by the Asian Legal Resource Centre
Papuan war cries echoed through the jungle canopy
Solomon Islands delegation visit to West Papua is ‘a visitation by robbers’
Headlines4 weeks ago
A reason behind morning-star pattern bracelet in Uncen’s student orientation
Headlines2 weeks ago
Jayapura Police interrogate students regarding morning star ‘noken’
Headlines2 weeks ago
Police accused of violating higher education law following students’ arrest
Environment4 weeks ago
This is why cassowary becomes extinct
Headlines3 days ago
In Papuan human rights context, Jokowi considered no different from Prabowo
Headlines4 weeks ago
Dozens of students arrested following the 10 hours tensions at Papuan student dormitory in Surabaya
Internasional News2 weeks ago
ULMWP appeals to PIF for support on West Papua issue at UN
Environment2 weeks ago
Mahuze clan seals location of palm oil factory in Muting, Merauke