West Papuans have no free choice

Letters, Normal

I REFER to the letters published in The National about the human rights abuse against West Papuans in Indonesia.
I share their sentiments purely on humanitarian grounds and would like to thank our MPs Powes Parkop, Jamie Maxtone-Graham and Boka Kondra for joining international community in support of West Papuans’ quest for freedom and eventual independence.
These national leaders in my view are visionary and in the class of their own.
As a Melanesian, I applaud their audacity to publicly declare their stand.
It is indeed a worthy cause.
I believe that prior to 1969, when the controversial “act of free choice” was first introduced and referendum conducted on same under the supervision of the dictatorial regime at the time, West Papuans were and still are a distinct group of people with unique tradition and cultures similar to that of other Melanesian brothers and sisters stretched across the Pacific Ocean.
In the international community, it is now common knowledge that a few West Papuans who were cronies of the dictatorial regime at the time were handpicked and allowed to vote in a purported referendum to remain as part of Indonesia.
Although Indonesia continued to maintain that the referendum was conducted through the supervision of the United Nations, I believe that Indonesia, in collaboration with the United States, influenced the ability of the world body to decide fairly in the interest of humanity, and in the process, coerced and subverted the ability of the Melanesian people to exercise their right to self-determination.
In essence, the act of free choice of 1969 is not what it is saying today but rather an act of aggression against the Melanesian people.
Many West Papuans now believe that the act of free choice at the time was in disguise of an act of aggression sponsored by the State against the Melanesian race in West Papua.
Present generations of Melanesian people in Indonesia today feel threatened and are on the verge of extinction through intermarriages with other races in Indonesia.
Our neighbour encourages intermarriages with Melanesians to achieve its ultimate end of eradicating Melanesian race in West Papua.
Is it not implicit genocide against the race of our people?
I leave that for you to judge.
Countries such as the US, which have direct interest in the harvesting of abundant natural resources, especially minerals, in West Papua continue to ignore the gross violations of human rights committed by Indonesia against the Melanesian people.
Even neighboring countries like Australia and New Zealand have turned a blind eye to the West Papuan cause for freedom simply for political convenience and expediency.
In the Pacific region, PNG’s stance against the West Papuans’ cause has always been the slap in the face of other Melanesian brothers and sisters in Fiji, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands.
PNG has demonstrated time and again its inability to stand up and fight for its smaller brothers and sisters in the region in times of need.
It has compromised the interest of humanity for political diplomacy, convenience and expediency even to the extent of ignoring the plight of its own kind in West Papua.
I am ashamed to be called a Melanesian in PNG.
It is time for reasonable leaders from free and democratic nations to stand for what is just and fair in the interest of humanity. 
The global community should conduct thorough investigations against the Indonesian regime to determine the extent of human rights abuses against the West Papuans. 
Ultimately, Indonesia must be held accountable for its atrocities against the Melanesians in the country and assist West Papuans determine their future.


Puria Igini
Hale Kambe, Hela