Joint Media Conference, Parliament House, Canberra, Monday 9 September 2019 : 12.30-1pm
Jacob Rumbiak, United Liberation Movement for West Papua
Len Cooper, Chair, International League of People’s Struggle
Today thousands of Australians join with the thousands of West Papuans who in recent weeks have taken to the streets demonstrating against racist abuse, calling for the UN to be allowed access to West Papua and asking for a supervised referendum on independence.
“The people who signed this petition understand that the root cause of the uprising in West Papua is the fact that Indonesia is illegally occupying West Papua. For 57 years West Papuans have maintained their struggle for self determination” said Len Cooper, Chairman of the International League of People’s Struggle, one of the sponsors of the petition.
“Legally West Papua still has the right to self-determination under international law. We ask for a free and democratic referendum, supervised by the international community, so that we are able to determine our own destiny” said Jacob Rumbiak the Spokesman for the United Liberation Movement for West Papua.
In recent days the United Nations Human Rights Commissioner has sounded the alarm over the escalation in human rights abuses in West Papua.
“As our people exercise their rights to free speech, as they call for a referendum on independence, some of them have been killed” stated Rumbiak. “Australia, as a member of the Pacific Islands Forum has asked, alongside other Pacific leaders, for United Nations Human Rights Commissioner access to West Papua. This access is urgently needed.”
“Alongside the thousands of Australians who signed this petition, we call on the Australian government to support all motions at the United Nations that allow for UN access to the region, and for a free independent referendum to take place”.
During the Press Conference the petitions are handed to Ged Kearney MP, Andrew Wilkie MP, and Senator Richard di Natale, who is tabling them in the Senate at 3.30pm. The petitions are then flown to New York for the opening of the UN General Assembly on 17 September.
Jacob Rumbiak T 0497 867 070
Len Cooper T 0438 389 302