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West Papua’s right to self-determination

June 26, 2013

Statement by human rights lawyer, Yan Christian Warinussy

As a human rights activist in the Land of Papua who won an international award for human rights – the John Humphrey Freedom Award – from Canada in 2005, I hereby state that the indigenous Papuan people are part of the Melanesian people who have the right to self-determination.

This is in accord with the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well as the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People.

I would like to remind the authorities in the Land of Papua and throughout Indonesia that the basic problem of the Papuan people is not about their welfare and economy but relates to a difference of opinion about Papua’s history in the context of Papua’s integration into the Unitary Republic of Indonesia (NKRI). which has not been resolved.

This is why the problem of West Papua was recently raised in an international forum, namely the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) at its meeting in Kanaky, New Caledonia.

During this meeting, the MSG made it clear that the leaders of the MSG are aware of human rights violations in the Land of Papua and they agreed on the need to support the application being made by the West Papuan National Coalition for Liberation (WPNCL). The most remarkable thing is that in their statement, they supported the right of the West Papuan people to self-determination, as is stated in the preface to the MSG Constitution.

This means that the West Papuan people, the indigenous Papuan people, have this right based on Law 21/2001 on Special Autonomy for the province of Papua, as amended in Law 35/2008, and that they are part of the indigenous people round the world who have the right to self-determination.

Recognition of this right must be accepted by all sides, including the Indonesian Government under the leadership of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and the regional government in the Land of Papua.This means that the international mechanisms and democratic principles as well as basic human rights apply internationally and this should be implemented under the supervision of the United Nations.

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