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.