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REGION: New call for United Nations to back decolonisation for West Papua

May 22, 2014

REGION: New call for United Nations to back decolonisation for West Papua

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Item: 8621

BRISBANE (Pacific Media Watch / International Forum for West Papua / Radio New Zealand / Islands Business): New calls have been made for the United Nations to add West Papua to its list of Pacific nations that must be decolonised.

The UN’s Pacific Regional Seminar for the Eradication of Colonialism got underway in Fiji today. It aims to accelerate decolonisation ahead of 2020 and will report to the UN General Assembly on the state of several Pacific island nations which remain colonised.

Radio New Zealand International reported that the Australia West Papua Association asked for the UN Special Political and Decolonisation Committee to actually visit West Papua to witness the realities of Indonesia’s colonisation of West Papua.

Joe Collins of the Australia West Papua Association says the committee visited New Caledonia in March and it should also now visit West Papua.

"He says it is an accepted fact that the so-called act of free choice in 1969 was a farce and the UN has a moral responsibility to the West Papuans for the betrayal of a people," RNZI reported.

The International Forum for West Papua, based in Brisbane, Australia, today released a petition calling on the chairperson of the UN Special Political and Decolonisation Committee, Carlos Enrique García González, to add West Papua to the list of nations requiring urgent decolonisation.

The political and legal status of West Papua needs to be reviewed to examine the historical failure of 1969 in which only 10 percent of total population were allowed to choose between independence or colonisation by Indonesia, said the International Forum’s president Amatus Douw.

Douw called on the UN to add West Papua to the decolonisation list this year.

He also called on member states of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, and the Kanak and Socialist National Liberation Front of New Caledonia) to push the UN to grant West Papua decolonisation status.

Islands Business magazine reported today that a joint Pacific Regional Non-Governmental Organisations Alliance called for freedom for the indigenous people of Guam, New Caledonia, French Polynesia, Tokelau and West Papua – all of which are currently colonised – so they could chart their own future.

“The right of people in non self-governing territories, whose countries are ruled by colonial administrations, to determine their own political future, and we call on our Pacific peoples in all walks of life to stand up, speak out and be actively engaged in their struggle,” the alliance’s spokesperson, Peter Emberson, told Islands Business.

“The peoples of our non self-governing territories have not given up. They have been repressed, their rights taken away, they have been tortured and killed, imprisoned, and pushed to the margins of political and economic life but they are not backing down,” Emberson said.

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