A Historic Choice: West Papua, Human Rights and Pacific Diplomacy at the Pacific Island Forum and Melanesian Spearhead Group

A Historic Choice: West Papua, Human Rights and Pacific Diplomacy at the Pacific Island Forum and Melanesian Spearhead Group


This report analyses political developments and human rights violations in West Papua by the Indonesian state in response to the West Papuan people’s aspirations for self-determination. It covers the period between January 2014, when a delegation of Melanesian Spearhead Group Foreign Ministers’ visited the territory, and 15 July 2016, the day after Melanesian Spearhead Group Special Leaders meet in Honiara and decided to defer a decision on the United Liberation Movement for West Papua’s application for full membership. That decision will now be made by MSG leaders in Port Vila, Vanuatu before September. The purpose of the report is to provide political decision makers in the Pacific – both at the Melanesian Spearhead Group and the Pacific Island Forum as well as civil society leaders in the Pacific, Non-Government Organisations, the Churches and solidarity groups in particular – with accurate, detailed and timely information about political developments and the human rights situation inside the country, a region that few manage to visit, let alone for any extended period. The authors hope that this information will assist them in their deliberations over the ULMWP’s application for full membership of the Melanesian Spearhead Group as well as the request before the Pacific Island Forum for an international human rights fact finding mission. In light of the worsening human rights situation, a rapidly approaching demographic catastrophe and the Indonesian government’s failure to protect West Papuans this report underscores the need for international remedies. The most obvious and powerful is to take the issue to the United Nations, including to re-list West Papua on the United Nations Committee for Decolonisation and to formally include the ULMWP in regional and sub-regional fora. As a priority the ULMWP should be granted full membership of the Melanesian Spearhead Group. West Papuans need to have a seat at the table, to be the ones making decisions about their own future. Amongst other things, West Papuans need sub-regional and regional leaders to demand that the territory to be opened up to foreign media and international human rights observers. What emerges from the findings is a detailed picture of human rights violations, carried out largely, but not exclusively, by the Indonesian police. Abuses are both systemic and systematic,

please click on link below for full report



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