Monday, September 25, 2017

Melanesian leaders condemn UN for turning 'a deaf ear' to West Papua atrocities


Solomon Islands and Vanuatu leaders want investigation into alleged abuses and support for independence campaign

Melanesian leaders have accused the United Nations of having “turned a deaf ear” to human rights atrocities in the Indonesian province of Papua and urged the world to support the region’s campaign for independence.

At the UN General Assembly in New York, the prime ministers of the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu called on the UN’s Human Rights Council to formally investigate long-standing allegations of human rights abuses in the provinces.

Vanuatu’s prime minister, Charlot Salwai, said the people of West Papua must be allowed the right to self-determination, to free themselves of the “yoke of colonialism”.

West Papua protest: Indonesian police kill one and wound others – reports

28-year-old man reportedly killed during the incident in Deiya regency, with up to seven wounded, including two children

Read more

“For half a century now the international community has been witnessing a gamut of torture, murder, exploitation, sexual violence and arbitrary detention inflicted on the nationals of West Papua, perpetrated by Indonesia, but the international community has turned a deaf ear to the appeals for help. We urge the Human Rights Council to investigate these cases.

“We also call on our counterparts throughout the world to support the legal right of West Papua to self-determination and to jointly with Indonesia put an end to all kinds of violence and find common ground with the nationals to facilitate putting together a process which will enable them to freely express their choice.”

The Solomons leader, Manasseh Sogavare, said the UN’s sustainable development goal motto of “no one left behind” would be “synonymous to empty promises unless we in the United Nations take active steps to address the plight of the people of West Papua”.

“Failing this, we as a family of nations will become complicit in perpetuating the sufferings and becoming blind to the injustices, missing yet another golden opportunity to remain true to the saying of ‘leaving no one behind’.”

Indonesian-controlled Papua and West Papua form the western half of the island of New Guinea. Political control of the region has been contested for more than half a century and Indonesia has consistently been accused of gross human rights violations and violent suppression of the region’s independence movement.

The people indigenous to the province are Melanesian, ethnically distinct from the rest of Indonesia and more closely linked to the people of Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji and New Caledonia.

Formerly the Netherlands New Guinea, Papua was retained by the Dutch after Indonesian independence in 1945 but the province was annexed by Jakarta in 1963 and Indonesia control was formalised by a 1969 referendum widely condemned as having been fixed bythe Suharto government.

Known as Irian Jaya until 2000, the province has also been split into two provinces, Papua and West Papua, since 2003.

Many Papuans consider the Indonesian takeover to have been an illegal annexation and the OPM (Free Papua Movement) has led a low-level insurgency for decades.


  1. “Rockefeller and the Demise of Ibu Pertiwi” When Australia and Indonesia again go to War
    Author: Kerry B. Collison

    RRP $24.95
    Sid Harta Publishers Melbourne Australia

    In 1961 and one month following the disappearance of Michael C. Rockefeller off the southern coast of what was then known as Dutch Western New Guinea, Indonesia invaded, annexed and commenced the systematic slaughter of indigenous Papuans, to pave the way for a massive wave of transmigrated Javanese.
    With the meteoric rise of the new powerhouses China and India, Indonesian-occupied West Papua’s wealth of oil, gas and minerals precipitates an international power-play for control over the vast, untapped natural resources.
    Decades have passed since the twenty-three-year-old Rockefeller disappeared – long presumed dead, when sightings of the heir are widely reported.
    Demands for West Papuan independence gains momentum and Australia is again drawn into military conflict with the Indonesian Motherland, “Ibu Pertiwi”.
    In Europe, there is growing support for the international community to revisit the flawed 1969 West New Guinea plebiscite. Some member nations of the European Community, including The Netherlands, have suggested that the United Nations might consider reviewing the implementation of the referendum with the purpose of determining whether the process was, in fact, democratic.

    And, more recently, driven by anti-Australian sentiment the groundswell has become evident amongst Western Pacific island states which, in concert with their African counterparts such as Zimbabwe, have become increasingly vociferous in their calls for such a U.N. resolution. And, surprisingly, the lead has now been taken up by Ireland.

    However, the situation is more than problematic for Australians.

    Should the United Nations support a call for a new plebiscite to be held in West Papua, such action would undoubtedly become the genesis of any future confrontation between Australia and Indonesia – fertile ground, indeed, for the growing number of militant religious groups (both Christian and Moslem) that fester throughout the great archipelago that is Indonesia, referred to lovingly as “Ibu Pertiwi”.

    What role will the Melanesian Spearhead Group play in this?
    Book now available worldwide:
    Amazon US –
    Amazon AU – (plus all eleven other Amazon international sites)
    Apple iTunes AU –
    (plus all 50 other Apple iTunes stores)
    Amazon US -
    Barnes & Noble US -

  2. Jakarta's hypocrisy in mounting a campaign in support of the Rohinga and yet genocidal acts continue in their own country. Indonesia accused of arresting more than 1,000 in West Papua
    Activists say detentions taking place during rallies calling for independence referendum
    That insurgency has long been the excuse for significant military involvement in Papua.
    With the heightened police and military presence, there have been reports of security force abuses including extrajudicial killings, torture, arbitrary detention, excessive use of force and mistreatment of peaceful protesters.
    At least 37 Papuans remain behind bars for peaceful acts of free expression or expressing solidarity with the independence movement.
    There is little independent scrutiny of the situation in West Papua, human rights organisations and journalists are restricted from visiting.
    On taking office in 2014, the Indonesian president, Joko Widodo, pledged to boost economic development of Papua and he –ostensibly – eased restrictions on external scrutiny of the region, though travel strictures have not substantially changed. He visited the province in May.
    Last month Jokowi met with Papuan civil society, church and customary leaders to discuss establishing a formal mechanism for debating Papua’s long-standing issues. However, Jakarta opposes independence and regards retention of Papua as a fundamental to its “territorial integrity”.