Papuans want UN Decolonisation Agenda; Indonesia rolls out tanks

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MEDIA STATEMENT, 2 August 2018

Majority support for listing West Papua on UN Decolonisation Agenda despite the Indonesian government rolling out tanks, commandoes and police onto the streets of Manokwari and Jayapura

Political rallies in Jakarta, Jayapura, Manokwari and Merauke, alongside profound ceremony in St Paul’s Anglican Cathedral (Australia), critiqued the United Nation’s infamous ‘Act of Free Choice’ in West Papua in 1969 and called for West Papua to be listed on the UN Decolonisation Agenda. In West Papua the show of diplomatic force provoked an extraordinary response from the Indonesian government, which declared an emergency and rolled tanks, commandos, soldiers and police onto the streets.

The UN supervised Act of Free Choice in 1969 wasn’t the referendum that Indonesia signed onto in the New York Agreement, but a series of assemblies, over nineteen days, wherein 1,022 West Papuans (0.01% of the population) ‘voted’ for integration under the gaze of Indonesian military commandoes. The UN should have charged Indonesia with non-compliance of an international treaty, but instead licenced the failed state to take control of 416,000 hectares of richly resourced Melanesian land.

Under Indonesia since the Act of Free Choice, the West Papuan nation has dropped from 99% of the population to 47%, with half-a-million (546,126) men, women, and children shot, poisoned, exiled, starved, born dead or not at all. The Papuan population growth rate is 1.84%; the Indonesian transmigrant rate is 10.8%. Papuan land, the people’s source of spirituality and sustainability, continues to be ravaged by foreign mining and logging companies. Waters, pristine in 1962, are heavily polluted, with many rivers flowing unfiltered into the Casuarina and Arafura Seas. Unique flora and fauna is flogged in black markets across Java and Sulawesi.

Given Jakarta’s intransigence the only antidote to this chronic geo-political situation is to list West Papua on the UN Decolonisation Agenda. During the 2017 General Assembly, ULMWP Chair Benny Wenda presented 1.8 million West Papuan votes for independence in several large boxes. At the rally on 2 August 2018 at the University of Papua in Manokwari, organised by the Student Legislative Forum and Student Independence Forum, Spokesperson Rumanudin Kelkusa said there is majority Papuan support for the UN motion generated by the United Liberation Movement for West Papua. The motion, to list West Papua in the UN Decolonisation Agenda, is now supported by the Melanesian Spearhead Group and a bourgeoning coalition of Pacific, African, and Caribbean states.

Jacob Rumbiak
Spokesperson, United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP)

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