MAPW National Conference in Sydney
The Medical Association for Prevention of War held its national conference in Sydney on Saturday the 29 October.
Topics included, Refugees and Australia, Health Professionals under Fire, Nuclear Waste and Nuclear Weapons, Australia and War
West Papua was one of the topics on the panel “Australia and War” and Dr Keith Suter gave an excellent presentation on the issue.
A very informative day with excellent presentations by speakers on all the issues
Dr Anne Noonan, Convenor of NSW branch opens conference.
Barbara Flick and Jonny Nicol acknowledgement of country.
The below update on West Papua was included in the Conference folders.
West Papua –an update
On the 15 August 1962 an agreement was signed between the Republic of Indonesia and the Kingdom of the Netherlands concerning West New Guinea. A vote on a Dutch/Indonesian resolution was adopted by the UN General Assembly in September 1962 and included this statement:
“The Agreement contains certain guarantees for the population of the territory, including detailed provisions regarding the exercise of the right of self-determination
In 1969, Indonesia chose 1025 electors (one representative for approximately every 700 Papuans) to vote in the UN sanctioned election. Under coercion the electors voted to integrate with Indonesia. The West Papuan people call this act, “The act of no choice” Its now 53 years since Indonesian took over administration of the territory and West Papuans are still marching in the streets risking arrest and torture to bring to the world’s attention the injustices they suffer under Indonesian rule. A total failure on the part of Jakarta to win over the West Papuan people.
Progress in the Pacific
There is increasing support for West Papua internationally, particularly in the Pacific region. This support includes Civil Society Organisations (CSO), churches and governments. Seven Pacific leaders raised the issue of West Papua at the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September 2016 . The Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu all raised concerns about the human rights situation in West Papua.
From the Solomon Islands Prime Minister H.E. Mr. Manasseh Sogavare statement in relation to West Papua.
“Solomon Islands is gravely concerned about the human rights violations against Melanesians in West Papua. Human rights violations in West Papua and the pursuit for self-determination of West Papua are two sides of the same coin. Many reports on human rights violations in West Papua emphasize the inherent corroboration between the right to self-determination that results in direct violations of human rights by Indonesia in its attempts to smother any form of opposition.
Recently a new “Pacific Coalition on West Papua” was formed. The initial membership comprises the Solomon Islands Government, Vanuatu Government, Front de Liberation Nationale Kanak et Socialiste (FLNKS) and the United Liberation Movement of West Papua and the Pacific Islands Alliance of Non-Governmental Organisations (PIANGO). Two new members are the governments of Tuvalu and the Republic of Nauru.. The other two parties who indicated support for the initiative when it was introduced in Honiara at the margin of the 4th Pacific Islands Development Summit are the Kingdom of Tonga and the Republic of Marshall
Crack down on peaceful rallies
The security forces in West Papua continue to crack down on peaceful rallies throughout the past year with thousands of West Papuans arrested simply because they were taking part in peaceful rallies. Although the majority of activists are eventually released, during the arrests activists are regularly beaten and in some cases face torture.
The Australian Government should realize the issue of West Papua is not going away and should be doing all it can to raise concern about the human rights situation with the Indonesian Government and not be training the Indonesian military. In an article in the Antara News (27 October 2016 ) Indonesia’s Defense Minister said that Indonesia and Australia would discuss efforts to deepen their military relations at the 2+2 meeting scheduled to be held in Bali on Friday. "We will discuss how to deal with the South China Sea issue as well as the threats of terrorism which are our common enemy. The talks will be aimed at deepening our relations," he stated after a press conference on "Two Years of Concrete Work by Jokowi-JK," at Bina Graha, the state secretariat, and "I will never meddle in the affairs of other countries and similarly other countries also must not meddle into our affairs," he stressed (West Papua?).