Report – by Alex Perrottet
Fifteen human rights and social justice movements based in Australia and New Zealand today called on UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to immediately appoint a special United Nations representative to investigate the alleged human rights violations in West Papua and its political status.
Representatives of the groups, meeting at the at Nga Wai o Horotiu marae at AUT University for the past two days, have called for Ban to follow up on his statements yesterday at a joint press conference with NZ Prime Minister John Key.
Replying to a media question, Ban had said that that the West Papua issue should be discussed by the Decolonisation Committee of the UN General Assembly. This comment has encouraged the supporters of West Papuan independence.
He also said he would “do all to ensure” that human rights were respected in West Papua.
The group’s statement also called for the UN 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.”
In support of the requests of Dr John Ondawame, spokesperson for the West Papuan People’s Representative Office in Vanuatu, the statement requests the New Zealand government “play a role in mediating and beginning the process of peaceful dialogue between West Papuan representatives and the Indonesian government”.
‘Cease military ties‘
The statement called on the proposed UN special representative to “review the circumstances and outcome of the 1969 ‘Act of Free Choice’” that enabled Indonesia to assert political control of the former Dutch colony.
It also demanded that New Zealand “cease all military ties with Indonesia” until human rights began to be respected in West Papua.
Today, as the support for West Papua seems to have gained momentum, the participating organisations in support of West Papua called for the Pacific Islands Forum to grant observer status to West Papuan representatives and support their right to self-determination.
They also encouraged everyone in society to “take every opportunity to support West Papuans working for peace, justice, human rights and environmental sustainability”.
Alex Perrottet is contributing editor of Pacific Media Watch and chief reporter of the Pacific Media Centre’s Forum reporting team.
Participating organisations are:
New Zealand-based non-government organisations:
Bicultural Desk of the Auckland Catholic Diocese
Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand, Christian World Service
Coalition for Democracy in Fiji
Indonesia Human Rights Committee
Pax Christi Aotearoa New Zealand
Peace Movement Aotearoa
Philippine Migrant Centre
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Aotearoa Section
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
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Australia Section.