SINCE 1969, some West Papuans treated the “Act of Free Choice as an Act of No Choice” and decided to “vote with their feet”.
This has forced West Papuans to scatter throughout PNG and other Melanesian countries.
We are now seeing a bilateral approach between the Indonesian government and ours to repatriate the West Papuans.
Prior to that, we have seen how harshly Papua New Guineans have treated our landless Melanesian brothers and sisters, forcing them to turn to the UNHCR.
To date, we do not know what has become of these people.
Maybe they are in the first batch of West Papuans to be repatriated.
While the people and churches may share similar sentiments with the West Papuans, our PM has given his undertaking to his counterpart, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in Singapore recently that he will make it his business to ensure West Papuans are repatriated.
This undertaking leaves PNG with little choice in our dealings with West Papuans.
This gives a perception that West Papuans are illegals.
However, we also see three of our politicians – Powes Parkop, Jamie Maxtone-Graham and Boka Kondra – joining hands with other friends and supporters of West Papuans to bring the issue to the attention of the United Nations to relook into the Act of Free Choice it sanctioned 40 years ago.
I am of the opinion that this is the way forward as Indonesia will comply with any decision on the future of West Papuans that comes from the UN.
As long as UN is quiet on West Papuan issue, the Melanesians will continue to witness gross human rights violations which will lead to total eradication of a Melanesian race.