Would An Independent West Papua Be A Failing State? :: JapanFocus

Would An Independent West Papua Be A Failing State? :: JapanFocus

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Would An Independent West Papua Be A Failing State?

David Adam Stott

“Where it cuts across the island of New Guinea, the 141st meridian east remains one of colonial cartography’s more arbitrary yet effective of boundaries.”1

On July 9, 2011 another irrational colonial border that demarcated Sudan was consigned to history when South Sudan achieved independence. In the process an often seemingly irrevocable principle of decolonisation, that boundaries inherited from colonial entities should remain sacrosanct, has been challenged once again. Indeed, a cautious trend in international relations has been to support greater self-determination for ‘nations’ without awarding full statehood. Yet Kosovo is another state whose recent independence has been recognised by most major players in the international community.2 In West Papua’s case, the territory’s small but growing elite had been preparing for independence from the Netherlands in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and Dutch plans envisaged full independence by 1970. However, in 1962 Cold War realpolitik intervened and the United States engineered a transfer of sovereignty to Indonesia under the auspices of the United Nations. To Indonesian nationalists their revolution became complete since West New Guinea had previously been part of the larger colonial unit of the Netherlands East Indies, which had realised its independence as Indonesia in 1949. In West New Guinea, most Papuans felt betrayed by the international community and have been campaigning for a proper referendum on independence ever since.

Read the full paper here:

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New Hope for West Papuan – or yet another False Dawn?

by Kim Peart

Is Indonesia about to lose its grip on the western half of New Guinea, a territory the size of France and ancient homeland of the Melanesian West Papuans?

Addressing questions at a press conference in New Zealand yesterday, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, made the following statement:

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at today's press conference in Auckland. Photo: Henry Yamo / PMC

“Again this issue should also be discussed at the Decolonisation Committee of the United Nations General Assembly. And when it comes, again, to whether you are an independent state or non self-governing territory, whatever, the human rights is an inalienable and fundamental principle of the United Nations. We will do all to ensure that the people in West Papua, their human rights should be respected.” [1]

 

To read of West Papua being raised in the context of the UN Decolonisation Committee by the Secretary-General is quite startling, for one specific reason: West Papua was removed from the list of colonised territories in 1969. This is unlike the situation in East Timor, which had not been removed from this list, becaming the trigger for their 1999 vote on self determination.

East Timor was a clear case of invasion in 1975, brutal suppression by a foreign power and liberation in a baptism of blood and fire in 1999. On the other hand, the West Papuan people were the victim of a brutal play of Realpolitiks during the Cold War.

After Indonesia gained their independence from the Dutch in 1949, Holland retained their territory in western New Guinea, preparing the indigenous population for independence. In 1957 Australia signed an agreement with the Netherlands to work toward the independence of the whole island of New Guinea and many Australians were involved on the ground in this preparation. [2]

In 1961 the Dutch administration formed a local parliament, including indigenous representatives and raised the West Papuan morning star flag, which flew along with the Dutch tri-colour across the territory and 1970 set as the year of independence. In this bright dawn of Papuan democracy, Australia helped to raised the hopes and expectations of the people of West Papua for freedom and self-determination.

Since 1949 Indonesia had been demanding control of the western half of New Guinea, even though it was, like the eastern half of the island, an ancient Papuan land. The Indonesian response was now to begin invading and a full-blown war with Indonesia appeared imminent, in which Australia would have fought along-side Papuans trained by the Dutch to defend their island homeland.

Wishing to avoid being drawn into a war with Indonesia, the United States intervened and told the Dutch to get out, Australia to butt out and gave the green light for Indonesia to take over half of New Guinea, as the new colonial master. This was deeply humiliating for the Netherlands and also Australia and brought into question the true independence of Australian foreign policy.

In this play of Realpolitiks, West Papuan lives, land and resources were used by Washington to buy a nominally pro-Western alliance with Indonesia and also access to Indonesian and Papuan resources. This action was nothing short of a slave trade and theft of land and property on an unimaginable scale.

The West Papuan morning star flag, which first officially flew in New Guinea in 1961, when Australia was working on the ground with the Dutch toward the independence of the whole island of New Guinea.

 

Indonesia became the new colonial power in New Guinea in 1963 and the atrocities began, with as many as 400,000 Papuans being killed in an ongoing genocide, which has pushed the Papuan aside to make way for Indonesian occupation and immigration. When a vote for self-determination was held in 1969, the United Nations allowed Indonesia to run it completely and even the UN observers on the ground only witnessed 20 percent of the vote.

Could it be called a vote, when 1025 selected men were lectured under the shadow of guns, before being invited to step over a line drawn in the dirt? An armed rebellion was going in in West Papua at the time. Wishing to avoid the prospect of war with Indonesia, most nations voted to allow West Papua to be incorporated into Indonesia and be removed from the list of colonial territories. A few newly independent African nations objected.

Would the United Nations get away with such a vote today. Such a bizarre process would not have been accepted in East Timor in 1999.

If the West Papuan people deserve natural justice, then they have a right to a genuine vote on self-determination. If Indonesia wishes to hold its head high as a truly democratic nation, then they will agree to this happening. If Australia wishes to regain honour with West Papua, then we will support the rights of the West Papuan people to self determination, just as we did the East Timorese and the Papuans of eastern New Guinea.

Sadly, all Australians have blood on our hands when it comes to West Papua, because we did not stand and demand justice, but went along with a brutal theft, slave trade and on-going atrocity Just across our northern border, many West Papuans have been shot on sight for raising the morning star flag, or sent to jail for 20 years.

Filep Karma was jailed for 15 years in 2004 for raising the West Papuan flag and when recently offered remission by the Indonesian Government, refused to accept this, saying, “he preferred to serve out his normal sentence and demanded the Indonesian Government to apologise to the Papuan people for all the atrocities it has caused.” [3]

For decades West Papuan supporters around the World have raised the question of the West Papuan right to self-determination and the voice of the indigenous Maori was added to this throng at the recent Pacific Island Forum being held in New Zealand, when the leader of the Mana Party, Hone Harawira, raised the West Papuan issue with Ban Ki-moon, declaring:

“Can I please ask that you support peaceful dialogue between the Indigenous People of West Papua and Indonesia, to put an end to the killings there and to find a strategy to get Indonesia out of a land that isn’t theirs.” [4]

1. United Nations 7 September 2011 (full transcript included below)
http://www.un.org/apps/sg/offthecuff.asp?nid=1929

2. p. 882, ‘Current Notes on International Affairs – November 1957’,
Department of External Affairs, Canberra

3. Engage Media 29 August 2011
http://www.engagemedia.org/Members/numbaymedia/videos/Papuan%20Political%20Prisoners.mp4video.mp4/view

4. 3 News 8 September 2011

Statement from the West Papua solidarity gathering at Nga Wai o Horotiu, Tamaki Makaurau / Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand

from Peace Movement Aotearoa

 8 September 2011

We are very encouraged by the statement of the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban ki-Moon, at a media conference in Auckland yesterday, 7 September 2011, that West Papua should be discussed by the Decolonisation Committee of the United Nations General Assembly.

Noting with appreciation the Secretary-General’s statement that “whether you are an independent state or a non-self-governing territory or whatever, the human rights is inalienable and a fundamental principle of the United Nations”, and “we will do all to ensure” that the human rights of the people of West Papua are respected, we therefore call on:

The United Nations Secretary General to act without delay, and:

  • appoint a Special Representative to investigate the situation in West Papua – to review the circumstances and outcome of the 1969 ‘Act of Free Choice’, as well as the contemporary situation; and
  • use his good offices to persuade the Indonesian government to allow free access to West Papua for media representatives from the international community and for non-governmental human rights organisations.

The Pacific Island Forum Leaders meeting in Auckland to act without delay, and:

  • send a fact-finding mission to West Papua to investigate the human rights situation;
  • support the West Papuan people in their call for peaceful dialogue with the Indonesian government;
  • grant observer status to West Papuan representatives who support the people of West Papua’s right of self-determination; and
  • recommend to the United Nations General Assembly that West Papua be put back on the agenda of the Decolonisation Committee.

The New Zealand government to act without delay, and:

  • play a role in mediating and beginning the process of peaceful dialogue between West Papuan representatives and the Indonesian government; and
  • cease all military ties with Indonesia until the human rights of the people of West Papua are respected.

Civil society to:

  • support the West Papuan call for peace and justice, and for a process of peaceful dialogue with the Indonesian government; and
  • take every opportunity to support West Papuans working for peace, justice, human rights and environmental sustainability.

Participating organisations: New Zealand non-governmental organisations Bicultural Desk of the Auckland Catholic Diocese, Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand, Christian World Service, CORSO Inc., Indonesia Human Rights Committee, Pax Christi Aotearoa New Zealand, Peace Movement Aotearoa, Philippine Migrant Centre, and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Aotearoa Section; New Zealand based Coalition for Democracy in Fiji; and Australian non-governmental organisations Australia West Papua Association (Sydney), Institute of Papuan Advocacy and Human Rights,  Medical Association for Prevention of War, Missionaries of the Sacred Heart Justice and Peace Centre (Australian Province), Pax Christi Australia and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Australia Section.

Photos from some of the West Papua solidarity actions in Auckland: are available at http://www.facebook.com/PeaceMovementAotearoa
Formatted copy of this statement: is available at http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/wp-ngos0911.pdf
 

The hope for Papua’s freedom: ‘Go International’

image

Apologies for delay in posting

Tuesday, 03 May 2011 19:58

Editor : Markus

Tabloid JUBI — The struggle of the native people of Papua for freedom from all the evils they have suffered since their annexation into the Unitary Republic of Indonesia on 3rd May 1963, still echo to this day, not only on the local and national scene, but already internationally.

“At this time, our hopes for freedom for the People of West Papua depend on the support of the world. Privately and through our own organisations we are struggling, but now we have the help and sympathy of all the countries of the world,” said the Head of the National Committee of West Papua, Mako Tabuni, on Tuesday 3rd May 2011.

Support from the international world is growing and becoming stronger,for example from Israel.  This is a long campaign, and this is the way to do it – by gaining friends. “The problems of West Papua are also world problems, and Indonesia has to open itself up to recognise the truths of its history, of what happened some decades ago,” said Mako.

The formation of  two  bodies called International Lawyers for West Papua (ILWP) and International Parliamentarians for West Papua (IPWP), said Mako, came about as a result of the world’s notice and support for West Papua. ‘We are being well supported by the ILWP and the IPWP, which are fighting for the fate of West Papua.”

He said this as on the day after Monday 2nd May, when thousands of people had marched peacefully to assemble at the Post Office in Abepura, Jayapura.

The KNPB (National Committee) had emphasised several important points which are tied to our history, status and the sad fate of the people of Papua.

Firstly, the people of West Papua have not, did not nor ever will give their consent to join the Unitary Republic of Indonesia (NKRI) to become a part of their republic, West Papua.

Secondly, the process of making West Papua part of the NKRI, beginning in 1963 and finishing in 1969, organised jointly by Indonesia, United States of America, the Netherlands and the United Nations, was engineered as a false process, not following the Principles of international justice. The owners of the area of West  Papua were never involved in the process, and the international talks and arrangements took no account of their wishes.

Thirdly, the agreement called “The New York Agreement” was not supervised by the whole of the United Nations, resulting in the “referendum” of 1969, where the people of West Papua were not given their political right to vote on the basis of “one person, one vote”; this “vote” consisted of only 1025 people chosen by Indonesia to “represent” West Papua. This is a violation against the political rights of the people of West Papua.

Fourthly, NKRI has killed and destroyed many of the native citizens of West Papua since they began their DOM (Local Military Operation) to take up possession of the land of West Papua in 1963.

Fifthly, NKRI has pursued, intimidated, terrorised and killed many of the citizens of WP since this operation began.

Sixthly, Special Autonomy was offered as a solution to these problems. This policy was never really implemented as promised and published as policy by Indonesia.

Seventh, the only thing which is supporting Special Autonomy, which is the one thing the NKRI is offering, is part of their colonisation of Papua which nullifies the political rights of the native people of Papua, because the foremost problem for them is their right to determine their own future for themselves, which has been suppressed and undermined by the unilateral annexation of Papua through the so-called Act of Free Choice of 1969.

“We do not recognise the right of the Government of Indonesia, and all the institutions of that country, to stand in the nation of West Papua,” said Mako Tabuni, reading from a petition which had been signed by the whole assembly which had attended the march.

What we, the KNPB, are demanding is, firstly: that Indonesia stop all political manoeuvres using the Special Autonomy, formation of the MRP and the UP$B program in the land of West Papua.

Secondly, Indonesia and West Papua be the subject of an international legal process so that the political status of West Papua can be brought to the table at the International Cpurt, to determine a just policy about the validity of Indonesia’s annexation of the land of West Papua, and a justice for the people of West Papua.

Thirdly, in order to determine the will of the people of West Papua, a Referendum be held in a democratic way by the United Nations, to find a final solution to the political conflict in West Papua.

To find a framework to support this process to end the problems in West Papua via an international legal and political process, the KNPB puts forward the name of  Ms. Melinda Janki as Head of the ILWP, Mr. Charles Foster and all the members of the ILWP.

Also,  Mr. Andrew Smith as Head of the IPWP, Mr. Caroline Lucas together with all members of the IPWP to support the political process to bring the matter before an  internasional forum, together with the support of a free Papua. Also, the Government of the Republic of Vanuatu, as a member of the United Nations, also gives a similar mandate  to determine the legal status of West Papua through an international legal process at the International Court of Justice.

At the same time, the Spokesperson of the International KNPB, Victor Yeimo, can be a representative and coordinator to express the hopes and expectations of the people of West Papua. For this to happen, we need to form a representative body: a National Council of West Papua.

“It is not just anyone, it is the people of Papua alone who can bring about freedom. So, let us, the people of this land, come together and work and struggle,” said Yeimo.

About twenty Papuan representatives who addressed the assembly signed a petition before the demonstration ended at about 6 pm.

 (Markus)

KNPB to continue to press for a referendum – plus comment

KNPB will continue to press for Referendum

Bintang Papua, 30 September 2010

Jayapura: The spokesman  of the Komite Nasional Papua Barat – National Committee of West Papua, Mako Tabuni, speaking at a press conference, said that political dynamics were moving fast at present at a time when calls for a referendum are spreading throughout  Papua. In a democracy, this is an issue that must be accepted by the Indonesian state and the Indonesian people, together with the Papuan people.

The KNPB, as a national medium of the views of the Papuan people will continue to press for a referendum as the final solution to resolve the political status of West Papua, because this can resolve all the problems in Papua and it represents the best possible solution for the Papuan people. Without a referendum, the Papuan people’s problems will never be resolved.

He said that since Indonesia calls itself a democratic state based on the Pancasila, it can surely understand why the Papuan people are calling for a referendum. Many human rights abuses have been committed in the past and have persisted for 48 years, during which time the military forces have directly or indirectly caused great suffering for the Papuan people.

With the issue of a referendum having become so heated, the KNPB will continue to struggle for this demand.

With regard to the hearing held recently (in Washington)  which was attended by a number of Papuan leaders, including the chairman of DAP, Forkorus Yoboisembu, Herman Awom and others,  nothing has been forthcoming from the US suggesting that it does not support a referendum.

Mako Tabuni said that he is still awaiting reports about the activities of Papuans such as Nicolas Messet and Albert Yoku who were also present at the congressional hearing, nor has there been any official report regarding the results of the hearings. [Note: Verbatim reports of all the discussion have been widely circulated.]

Regarding telephone communications that have been reported by irresponsible elements that have been reported by the media in Jayapura to the effect that the issue of referendum has been rejected, these are quite untrue and provocative, because there has been no official announcement from the US Congress to the effect that a referendum is unacceptable.

Even if that were the case, the KNPB and the  Papuan people will continue to struggle for their political demand because this is their right, and it is a matter that cannot be determined by the Indonesian elite.

[Comment:  If the KNBP says that it is waiting for the decision of the US Congress in response to the call for a referendum, this reflects a misunderstanding of how the US congressional hearing mechanism works. The hearing was itself an unprecedented event, the first time that a US congressional body held a public discussion on the question of West Papua. The verbatim reports of the hearing, including all the testimonies and the discussions between the chairman of the Asia-Pacific sub-committee and members of the audience have been widely circulated, as well as the views of the US government. Everything is in the public domain. The US Congress itself cannot be expected to make a statement on an issue that was discussed by one of its sub-committees.

It now depends on organisations like the KNPB which support the call for a referendum in West Papua to translate these documents into Indonesian so that they become widely known in West Papua and Indonesia. By doing this, they can strengthen support for a referendum in Indonesia and internationally while at the same time revealing the strength of feeling about the issue to the Indonesian government. Arguably, the sudden decision of the SBY government to dispatch a large team of ministers to West Papua for the purposes of making an  ‘evaluation’ is a sign that the government is beginning to understand the strength of feeling and support for the West Papuan people’s demand.  TAPOL]

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