Zona Editorial

Indonesian double standards on West Papua

by : David Martin Mep (Anggota Parlemen Uni Eropa)

David Martin Mep

Zona Damai : I noticed that at the recent UN General Assembly Indonesia was in the front line of supporting Palestinian efforts to become a member of the United Nations. Indonesia has been supporting the Palestinian case ever since they declared their independence. But what about the fate of West Papua which has been under Indonesian rule for half a century?

West Papua is one of the most remarkable places on Earth: its rainforests are second only, in size, to those of the Amazon; it contains species such as the bird of paradise and the tree kangaroo.

It is home to sophisticated tribal people whose culture stretches back thousands of years. There are over 250 tribes, each with its own language and culture. All this is being threatened by Indonesian occupation.

West Papua used to be part of the Dutch East Indies until after World War II; the Dutch Empire became the new nation of Indonesia. On the 1st December 1961 West Papua, which had never been part of Indonesia, declared independence. The Indonesian army invaded three months later.

Although the international community intervened Western Governments, led by the USA, chose to appease Indonesia and accept occupation out of the fear of the spread of Communism in South East Asia. A sham, rigged referendum took place in 1969 and the occupation has remained ever since.

An estimated 400,000 people have died as a result of Indonesian occupation and oppression. Much of the tribal land has been taken by the state and given to national and multi-national companies for mining, logging and oil extraction. Non-violent decent has been criminalised and anyone who calls for independence is imprisoned

Surely as a logical consequence of its backing for the Palestinian people, Indonesia should show its commitment for anti-colonialism and support the right to independence and the recognition of the sovereignty of the people of West Papua. If Indonesia is aware that Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories is a state of colonization, then Indonesia has to realize that the occupation of West Papua by Indonesia since 1963 is likewise a state of colonization.

Indonesia as a member of the United Nations should actively participate in promoting and creating world peace. But, what about the fate of the people of West Papua? It has been a while since Indonesia and the international community decided to look away from the suffering of the people of West Papua. West Papuans continue to be victims of the vested interests of Indonesian colonialism and global capitalism on their land.

In accordance with General Assembly Resolution 1514, and through the Decolonization Committee, Indonesia should welcome the statement of UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon in Auckland, New Zealand, on 7 September 2011, when he stated that the issue of West Papua should be discussed again in the UN Decolonization Committee.

The respect for human rights and equality are core principles of the European Union and its global action which includes combating discrimination and exclusion. Indigenous peoples around the world continue to face denial of their rights, marginalization and discrimination.

The need for the protection and promotion of the rights of indigenous peoples and the advancement of their situation is set out in the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples of 2007. The EU strongly supported the resolution adopting the Declaration as to advance the rights and ensure the continued development of indigenous peoples around the world. The EU welcomes the increased international consensus on the declaration.

However, adopting a declaration alone is not enough: realising the rights remains a critical objective and the implementation of the Declaration a genuine challenge. Indonesia must take action and withdraw from West Papua. http://www.blogmartinmep.eu/?p=178
[ EU Tribune ]

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