In August 2021, a delegation of West Papuans and Australian activists are travelling to Canberra to lobby Federal Members of Parliament to i) Persuade Indonesia to allow the UN fact-finding mission to West Papua which it agreed to in 2017, and ii) Shift Australia’s policy from supporting Special Autonomy to voting ‘yes’ for a motion in the United Nations registering West Papua on the Decolonisation List.
You can help by writing to your local federal MP, as well as members of the federal Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade, urging them to support these two objectives. Every letter or email shows that there is a groundswell of support in Australia for the West Papuan people.
While it is better to write a letter in your words, using the bullet-point summary for information, we have prepared a template-letter which you can post or email. Please encourage your friends and family to join the endeavour. The more letters we send, the more the politicians will pay attention!
Sample letter (for copy & paste)
Urgent response needed to current crisis in West Papua
Since the announcement of the Provisional Government of West Papua, Indonesia has stepped up its human rights abuses in West Papua. I am therefore writing to ask you to: 1) pressure the Australian government to push for a Fact-Finding Mission to West Papua by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights; and 2) support West Papua’s inclusion in the UN Special Committee on Decolonization.
Why should Australia continue supporting Special Autonomy 2001, when there has been no reduction in violence? In fact, the conflict is gettng worse. Over 21,000 extra soldiers have been stationed in the Central Highlands since 2018. Military operations have forced the displacement of thousands, malnourished, and injured, and more than 200 Papuan civilians killed in 2019-2020. On 25 April 2021, Indonesia’s head of intelligence in West Papua, Major General Gusti Putu Nugraha, was killed, and the Speaker of the People’s Consultative Assembly, Bambang Soesatyo, called for the government to crush the West Papuan resistance: “Destroy them first. We will discuss human rights matters later.” This has all the hallmarks of undeclared war.
An evidence-based report by an independent observer on the current situation in West Papua is imperative. Indonesia agreed to a UN Fact-Finding Mission in 2017 but has refused to allow the visit. In 2019, the 79 nations of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States, and the 18 nations of the Pacific Island Forum passed resolutions supporting the UN Fact-Finding Mission to West Papua and urged members to address the root cause of the conflict.
In 2020, the Netherlands, Spain, and UK also passed resolutions. Australia’s policy of supporting Special Autonomy is no longer tenable. To avoid more blood-shed, Australia needs to support the West Papuans’ program. Last year the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) passed a constitution settng up a Provisional Government, and in May this year announced a full Cabinet. This means that West Papua now has the prerequisites for statehood: a territory, a people, and a centralised government that can be negotiated with. Australia needs to shift its policy and vote this September for West Papua to be added to the UN Special Committee on Decolonization.
Australia prides itself on being a champion of peace, justice, and human rights, and has recently criticised the oppressive military government in Myanmar. It is in Australia’s strategic interests to support a peaceful resolution to a worsening crisis in West Papua. Australia needs to call on Indonesia to grant the UN access to West Papua without delay, and to support the addition of West Papua to the UN agenda in September.
Thank you, and I look forward to hearing from you.
Sample letter (Word)
[click to download] West Papua letter, Word
Sample letter (PDF)
[click] West Papua letter, PDF
Sample letter, Bullet-point Summary(PDF)
Joint Standing Committee for Foreign Affairs, Defence Trade (PDF)
i) Total warfare imminent in West Papua, PNG dragged into the conflict Tidningen Global, Sweden, 6 May 2021 (journalist Klas Lundström)
ii) ‘We are living in a war zone’: violence flares in West Papua as villagers forced to flee, The Guardian, 11 May 2021