Free West Papua!

April 11, 2006 Off By leigh

The bluster by Indonesia, feigning great indignation that Australia this time actually met it’s obligations under the U.N Charter of Human Rights and accepted West Papuan refugees from the abuse by Indonesian military, is hardly surprising.

Indonesia signed the U.N charter and enjoyed its support when struggling against brutal Dutch occupation. That charter recognises the right of self-determination for all peoples. Like the people in East Timor and in Aceh, the mostly Melanesian people of West Papua deserve the right to hold a referendum to determine their independence. Like those two independence struggles, it is obvious that the Indonesian military is pursing it’s own self-enriching agenda against the national interests of Indonesia and brutally against the people of West Papua.

As the Indonesian oligarchy accurately notes, the Howard government in Australia has had an inconsistent policy towards refugees, comparing the response to asylum seekers from the Middle East and towards a small number of members of the West Papuan independence movement. But in a bizarre logic, they council that Australia should be consistently abandoning it’s human rights obligations and reject all people seeking asylum!

The opposite obligation is on the Howard government: to accept at least the minimum number of refugees and asylum seekers as mandated under the U.N conventions on human rights regardless of their origin and to end the brutal and inhumane incarceration of refugees in concentration camps in the deserts away from their support communities.