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West Papua: the forgotten Pacific nation

West Papuan People's Representative Office
PO Box 1571, Port Vila,
Republic of Vanuatu

Media Statement

14 August 2003


West Papua remains in a state of military oppression, increasing environmental degradation, and cultural genocide under brutal Indonesian occupation.

Following the Indonesian military takeover in 1963 and the fraudulent Act of Free Choice in 1969 - in which less than one per cent of the population participated - the people of West Papua have been struggling for human rights and the right to self-determination. At least 100, 000 West Papuans have been killed since the takeover.

"We are Pacific people, we are Melanesian people, and if our pacific Islands brothers and sisters don't act urgently, we will continue to die. The question of West Papua is a question of survival," said Dr John Ondawame, spokesperson for the West Papua delegation to the Pacific Islands Forum.

The delegation is calling on the Forum to:

  • Send a fact-finding mission to West Papua to investigate the human rights situation;
  • Press Indonesia to:
    • a) end military operations in West Papua, start the process of de-militarisation and halt the activities of Laskar Jihad and all militia forces;

      b) renew efforts to resolve the conflict by peaceful means in accordance with the call by the people of West Papua for their country to be made a Land of Peace;

      c) ensure the safety and protection of all human right defenders, enabling them to carry out their activities without intimidation or obstruction;

      d) bring to justice those responsible for serious crimes committed in West Papua, including the killing of Papuan leader Theys Eluay in November 2001.

  • Condemn the violations against West Papuan women and children as a result of the Indonesian militarisation of the territory;
  • End all forms of military cooperation with Indonesia, including the training of military personnel;
  • Condemn the systematic destruction of the environment and cultural structures of the West Papuan people;
  • Address the dire humanitarian situation of West Papuan refugees in Papua New Guinea and to take steps to protect their legal and human rights;
  • Encourage a process of dialogue between the representatives of the people of West Papua and the Indonesian Government;
  • Support widespread demands for the United Nations to review its conduct at the time of the Act of Free Choice and for West Papua to be re-inscribed on the UN List of Non-Self-Governing Territories;
  • Assist West Papua to resume its rightful role in Pacific regional affairs.
  • "The question of West Papua will not go away," added Dr Ondawame.

    West Papua index page

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