LETTER WRITING COMPETITION 2021-2022
The Pen is Mightier Than The Sword
We encourage letter writing to support the West Papuan peoples’ struggle for self-determination.
Write a letter or email to your local federal politician or relevant politician in Canberra to:
i) Persuade Indonesia to allow the UN fact-finding mission to West Papua it agreed to in 2017;
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.
Win THREE prizes of $100 each from sponsors in three categories:
1. The most politically persuasive letter (word limit 400 words)
2. The most creative and/or emotionally moving letter (word limit 400 words)
3. The most letters sent (word limit 400 words)
An independent panel will judge the letters, with winners to be announced in December 2022. Forward copies of your letters and emails to email@example.com
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 in 2020, Indonesia has stepped up its human rights abuses in West Papua. I am therefore writing to ask you: (1) to pressure the Australian government to push for a UN Fact-Finding Mission; and (2) to support West Papua’s inclusion on the agenda of the UN Special Committee on Decolonization.
Why does Australia continue to support Indonesia’s ‘Special Autonomy’ in West Papua when there has been no reduction in the violence? In fact, the conflict is getting worse. More than 21,000 extra soldiers have been stationed in the Central Highlands since 2018, and they have forced the displacement of thousands of villagers. In 2019-2020 more than 200 Papuan civilians were killed, with no accountability or reckoning by the Indonesian Forces. In contrast, after Indonesia’s head of intelligence in West Papua (Major General Gusa Nugraha) was shot on 25 April 2021, 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 an undeclared war to our immediate north.
An evidence-based report by an independent observer on this undeclared war 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. Since then, the Netherlands, Spain, Poland, and UK parliaments, and the European Union have also passed resolutions.
West Papuans raised a Transitional Government on 1 December 2020 after a petition for independence, hand-signed by 1.8M Papuans, was presented to the United Nations in 2017 and 2019. This is the government of a richly endowed sovereign state, and is accountable to the people’s key political organisations–Federal Republic of West Papua, Coalition for the Liberation of West Papua, and West Papua National Parliament–and to their Tribal Councils and the WP Council of Churches. The parliamentary system has a President, Prime Minister, 12 Cabinet Ministers of working bureaucracies, and governors of the territory’s seven states. President Benny Wenda told media at the 2021 UN Climate Summit in Glasgow “We have a constitution, government, cabinet, and a green state policy framework to restore balance between the human and non-human in our homeland”.
Because it is in Australia’s strategic interests to support a peaceful resolution to a worsening crisis, the government needs to call on Indonesia to grant United Nations access to West Papua without delay, and to support the inclusion of West Papua on the UN Decolonisation agenda.
Thank you, and I look forward to hearing from you.
Sample letter (Word)
[click to download and edit] West-Papua-Campaign-letter
Sample letter (PDF)
[click] West Papua letter – Bullet-point summary
Joint Standing Committee for Foreign Affairs, Defence Trade (PDF)
Members, Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence & Trade
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
Cover Image Dani by Polish photograph Magda Zelewska (magdazelewska.com)