West Papua Self-determination sign now

WE THE UNDERSIGNED ASK THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES TO ENACT HIS RECENT CALL FOR FREEDOM BY CALLING UPON THE UNITED NATIONS AND INDONESIA TO ALLOW A GENUINE SELF-DETERMINATION REFERENDUM FOR WEST PAPUA (WEST NEW GUINEA) AS WAS CLEARLY INTENDED BY THE SIGNED AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE NETHERLANDS AND INDONESIA AT THE UNITED NATIONS AND MEDIATED BY THE UNITED STATES IN 1962.

AS A WORLD WAR TWO ALLY WHO FOUGHT ALONGSIDE U.S. TROOPS AND CARRIED WOUNDED U.S. SOLDIERS FROM THE BATTLELINES, THE PEOPLE OF WEST PAPUA DESERVE RECIPROCAL AID IN THEIR STRUGGLE FOR INDEPENDENCE AND FREEDOM. THE UNITED STATES SHOULD TAKE PRIDE IN SPEAKING AT THE UNITED NATIONS IN DEFENCE OF THEIR INALIENABLE RIGHT TO SELF-DETERMINATION AND FREEDOM.

BACKGROUND

In November 2001, two senior UN officials, including the head of the UN mission to oversee the handing-over of West Papua to Indonesia, admitted that the Act of Free Choice was a sham - 'a whitewash, designed to appease the Americans and the Indonesians'.

West Papua is the western half of the island of New Guinea. It is not part of Asia but a Pacific island with indigenous kangaroos and other Pacific animals, and populated by a Melanesian people who have farmed and managed their fertile country for tens of thousands of years.

In Asia, the Dutch East Indies fell in early 1942, and in 1945, Sukarno and a volunteer militia claimed independence to create a new nation. The Dutch excluded West New Guinea from Indonesian claims, and accelerated civil development of West Papua in support of a growing desire by the tribal nations to create a unified national identity.

Elections were held in 1959, and a West New Guinea Parliament was inaugurated in May 1961. Responsible for the design and implementation of full independence by 1971, the Parliament approved symbols for the new nation. The people of West Papua celebrated as their Morning Star flag was raised on 1st December 1961.

Indonesia began an unsuccessful invasion a few weeks later.

The 1962 New York Agreement was negotiated in secret, hidden from the people of West Papua. In effect, it made West Papua a trustee territory of the United Nations and Indonesia, and did specify terms for self-determination in accord with Indonesia's decolonization obligations as a UN member. According to the agreement all adults who were not foreign nationals were eligible to exercise their freedom of choice, to happen by the end of 1969 and one year after the UN assumed duties in the territory. Instead, the act was conducted six weeks early.

Indonesia did not allow the West Papuan public to vote, as West Papuans had done in the 1959 elections. An Indonesian system called PEPERA was used instead, in which just a thousand people were selected and given no freedom of choice. Protestors demanding one vote per person were arrested, and crowds singing Christian hymns in protest were dispersed by the military. The West Papuan leaders, Clemens Runawery and Willem Zonggonao escaped to Port Moresby where they purchased air tickets to New York to tell the world of this oppression. They were arrested by the Australian government at the request of Indonesia and held on Manus Island until after the Indonesian process of PEPERA was completed.

Shamefully the United Nations sanctioned this act, and condoned Indonesia's annexing of West Papua as one of its provinces.

Since 1962 hundreds of thousands of people have been killed or have disappeared during the brutal Indonesian military occupation of West Papua. It is clear that the Indonesian invasion was not to liberate or promote the independence of the people of West Papua, but was to capture resources for Indonesia. Murder, torture, rape, summary detentions and destruction of entire townships, continues to this day. A Yale Law School study in 2004 concluded these abuses combined with other factors were consistent with a forty-year act of genocide.

Since 1965 the people of West Papua have carried on a struggle for justice and independence despite the horrific acts of violence, intimidation, and bizarre cruelty by Indonesian security forces.

AFTER 40 YEARS IT IS TIME FOR A GENUINE ACT OF SELF-DETERMINATION FOR WEST PAPUA.

We the undersigned call on the President of the United States to support Congressman Faleomavaega's February 17th call that the United States support the struggle of the West Papuan people for freedom, and ask that the United States call upon the United Nations and Indonesia to allow a genuine self-determination referendum in the spirit of the 1962 Indonesian Agreement.

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Tanisha AndradeBy:
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Petition target:
The Honorable George W. Bush, President of the United States

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