Self-determination – West Papua

Following on from my long piece on self-determination and the situation facing the Kurdish people, I thought it appropriate to briefly emphasise a situation a bit closer to home with the West Papuans.

I regularly point to East Timor as an example where their aspiration for a simple act of self-determination appeared to be an impossible dream, yet persistence and determination kept it alive and freedom was eventually achieved.

This sort of optimism is needed for West Papua, where if anything the prospects for self-determination appear to be bleaker than East Timor’s hope at its darkest time. But I believe it is important to keep making people aware of the history and the continuing oppression that occurs.

Perhaps ironically, I have a lot of sympathy for the challenges and difficulties facing the Government of Indonesia in meeting the needs of their people and tackling the transition to an effective and prosperous democracy. However, sympathy for the Indonesian’s difficulties, and Australia’s interests in having a close relationship with that important country should not be used as an excuse to ignore persecution or dismiss the right to self-determination.

This recent piece from The Economist gives a good background, and this article by George Monbiot gives an outline of current behaviour in West Papua.

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  1. thanks andrew for being one of the very few pollies willing to even mention west papua.
    the ALP’s kevin rudd soesn’t even answer letters about it these days and even my “left” local MP tanya plibersek won’t support self determination.
    the brutal abuses in WP should be front page news.
    don’t stop talking about it!

  2. Hi Andrew,
    I guess the best way to help democrasy in Indonesia is to be truthful. The cost to west Papuans and Indonesians of establishing and telling the truth can be lethal. Surely we are sophisticated enough to differentiate between the military and government in Indonesia? We can only strenghen the hand of reform in Indon by condeming and exposing corruption and abuse in west papua. What is the downside?
    Superman fought for Truth and Justice before the American Way – let’s make that our priority.

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