West Papua an Occupied Nation for 45 Years
A widely ignored region cries out for recognition
West Papuans celebrated today (January 8th) what is long held to be West Papua's Independence Day despite Indonesian dictatorship and suppression of West Papuan culture.
The event, celebrated around the world and in the country, counted with the support of the Free West Papua movement in London and the support of International Parlamentarians for West Papua, first established in 2008 and International Lawyers for West Papua. In London, the symbolic launch of the book "An Act of Free Choice - Decolonisation and the Right to Self Determination in West Papua" by P.J. Drooglever, marked the day, with talks at no1 Parliament Street, culminating in MP Andrew Smith alongside West Papuan Chief Benny Wenda delivering the book to the Foreign CommonWealth Office, in a gesture to "educate the UK Government and the world" of the situation in West Papua.
A demonstration in front of the Indonesian Embassy in London also took place as well as letter which was delivered by hand by West Papuan Chief Benny Wenda and wife Maria, despite Indonesian Embassy officials refusing to personally receive the letter. Drooglever's book deals with a 1969 act which was presented by Indonesian military and is largely regarded as a whitewash with a claim that West Papuans had chosen Indonesian rule rather than independence.
For this effect, the Indonesian government had selected a little over 1000 Melanesian men as West Papuan representatives, around 0.9% of the population, to make the claim. Although the UN General Assembly Resolution 2504 recognised that there was indeed an event under the denomination of Act of Free Choice, it was not recognised as an act of self-determination. There were severe doubts about the entire process and the men who were selected also claimed that they were blackmailed into signing up for the act.
Ever since, the small yet naturally rich country has endured 45 years of a bitter independence struggle under Indonesian rule and great number of human rights abuses and genocide have been reported but the media blackout imposed by Indonesian rule as made the situation largely unnoticed to the outside world. Reports of genocide, rape and disappearances by Indonesian military as well as suppression of West Papuan culture and national identity are nowadays frequent and more widespread as exiled Chief Benny Wenda and the worldwide Free West Papua movement alongside the International Parlamentarians for West Papua initiative have ensured that such reports have global reach.
An exposing documentary, Forgotten Bird of Paradise * by British film maker Dominic Brown, the first foreign national to have gone undercover into West Papua and to have spent time with the country's independence fighters, is now available. The revealing piece exposes the extent of human rights abuses and the extent of West Papua's struggle for independence.
Thanks to BadGals Radio - http://badgals-radio.com/
New Illuminati comments: Since the effective annexation of western New Guinea by Indonesia almost half a century ago at least 100,000 Papuan people have been killed; this is likely to be a gross underestimate. This mineral and timber rich ‘province’ of the Indonesian hegemony is beset by corporate interests as well as the colonial designs of nearby countries, including (until the 1970s) Australia.
The Indonesian transmigration program – in which Javanese settlers have been moved into West Papua and other ‘underdeveloped’ regions in droves for many decades – has altered the local mix dramatically. Division and resentment has smouldered for decades, along with sporadic, asymmetrical and unreported actions, including clashes along the New Guinea border.
It’s high time the West Papuan peoples’ voices were recognised and heard.
* See the trailer for Forgotten Bird of Paradise at http://vimeo.com/7128811 or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5jpx3Nj9AAo
Images - http://freewestpapua.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/picture-11.png
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