Listing West Papua with UN Decolonisation Committee

Image: MagdaZelewska.com

Federal Republic of West Papua office in Docklands (Victoria) is urging Australia to vote for a motion in the 2019 General Assembly to register West Papua with the UN Special Committee on Decolonisation, where the self-determination of Non-Self-Governing Territories is discussed and monitored.

The motion, drafted by United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), is being raised by Vanuatu and is supported by the African, Carribbean and Pacific Group of States. It requires two-thirds majority support (129 of 193 member-states) so the votes of Australia and New Zealand are critical. At stake for Australia are the security implications of continuing to refute the West Papuans’ right of self-determination.

Nadine in Vanuatu with Morgan Foundation and UNICEF NZ

Campaign Co-ordinator NADINE RUTTER from Christchurch, New Zealand, was guest speaker at the FRWP Open Day in Docklands (Victoria) on 7 April 2019. For the past twelve months she has been working in Vanuatu, where the fate of West Papuans is a top domestic issue for the people and a top foreign affairs issue for the Vanuatu government.

“I find it difficult to accept that Australia and New Zealand care so little about West Papua, that trading with Indonesia cannot co-exist with supporting the West Papuans self-determination” (3CR radio-interview with Nadine, 3 April 2019).

The Federal Republic of West Papua (FRWP) in Docklands is coordinating a petition to spur the Australian government to vote for Vanuatu’s motion to list West Papua on the UN Decolonization Agenda during the 2019 UN General Assembly.

In August 2019, the FRWP Office in Docklands (Victoria) is printing the signatures, putting them in boxes, and transporting them to Canberra to be tabled in the Senate.  On 17 September, the Australian signatures are meeting the 1.8 million West Papuan signatures in the UN Cafe before the opening of the UN General Assembly in New York.  The goal in Australia is to reach 1.8 million signatures to match the West Papuans’ signatures.

To sign the petition, visit decolonizewestpapa.com.  Alternatively, you can download and print a hard copy from the Activist’s Kit at https://dfait.federalrepublicofwestpapua.org/decolonize-west-papua-activist-kit/.  Please send hard copy petitions to FRWP Office by 31 July 2019: Federal Republic of West Papua, Attn: Nadine Rutter, Suite 211, 838 Collins Street, Docklands VIC 3008

If you would like to support the effort to decolonize West Papua in your town or city, more information is available in our Activist’s Kit at https://dfait.federalrepublicofwestpapua.org/decolonize-west-papua-activist-kit/

Please contact us at frwpwomensoffice@gmail.com if you have any questions.

Some Background Information

Petition leaving West Papua for London and Geneva. ULMWP’s Edison Waromi (centre)

ULMWP Chair Benny Wenda with petition for Rafael Ramirez (President UN Decolonization Committee) 30 September 2017

Benny Wenda with petition for UN Human Rights Commissioner, Geneva, 25 January 2019

The New York Agreement (1962-1969) transferred the administration of West Papua from the Netherlands to Indonesia via the United Nations. Australia voted for the agreement, even though UN Representative and Attorney-General Garfield Barwick believed Indonesia’s claim of sovereignty should have been lodged with the International Court of Justice. He warned that “the long-term interests of stability and progress will be served by a bonafide performance of the Agreement’s self-determination provisions” (UNGA 1127th Plenary, 21 Sept 1962). Predictably, the Agreement’s concluding act-of-free-choice in 1969 was not an act of self-determination but an involuntary response by 0.1% of the population to a script written by the Indonesian government.

Special Autonomy (2001-2021) was peddled as ‘development’ but designed to eliminate the independence program (by trebling the number of regencies, from 14 to 41, each with a pre-scribed level of military personnel and hardware). In December 2018 Jakarta’s frustration with its inability to Indonesianize the Papuans escalated: the Indonesian Parliament declared war on West Papua’s Liberation Army; the Airforce dropped bombs of the banned chemical white phosphorous on a number of villages; the government banned local churches and NGOs from helping the villages with emergency food, water and medicine.

Since 2014 the United Liberation Movement for West Papua has coordinated the nation’s independence program. The ULMWP was elected from and is accountable to the nation’s key political identities—West Papua National Parliament, West Papua National Coalition for Liberation, Federal Republic of West Papua. Since its formation, West Papua’s case has been actively prosecuted by a coalition of Pacific states led by Vanuatu and the motion to register West Papua on the UN Decolonization List is supported by an increasing number of African, Caribbean, and Pacific states.

Briefing Paper, Jacob Rumbiak (2019) Reflecting on 1st December 1961, West Papua’s self-determination as a Non-Self-Governing Territory https://dfait.federalrepublicofwestpapua.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/1-Dec-1961-West-Papuas-self-determination-as-a-Non-Self-Governing-Territory.pdf

3CR Radio Interview with Campaign Director Nadine Rutter and Louise Byrne, 3CR Tuesday Hometime, 23 April 2019

With thanks to Polish photographer Magda Zelewska for her wonderful image (MagdaZelewska.com)