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Issue #1898      December 11, 2019

CPA Party Statement

West Papua

The people of West Papua have never been given the opportunity to express self-determination. Negotiations in the 1960s between the departing Dutch colonialists, the Indonesian government and the US imperialists resulted in a 1969 sham “referendum” among only 1,000 hand-picked delegates.

The UN should never have endorsed this mockery of a vote.

Over the decades the resistance and independence movements in West Papua have fought a bloody struggle for their rights. Estimates of deaths from oppression range from hundreds of thousands upwards, speaking of genocide. Massive gold and copper mines, chiefly controlled by the US Freeport Company, Rio Tinto and Indonesian companies, have exploited the natural resources and damaged the environment. Australian mining companies are also involved.

In August, September and October 2019, widespread protests by the West Papuan people against racism, violence and denial of rights were met by fierce Indonesian government and army repression. Many people died and many were imprisoned unjustly. Restrictions on media prevent full knowledge of what is happening. Progressive forces in Indonesia have supported West Papuan protests against racism and repression, but there are concerns that extremist squads may soon be sent to West Papua.

We express deep concern at the ongoing repression and killings of West Papuans by the Indonesian government.

The Indonesian government must:

  • Allow the visit to West Papua requested by the United Nations
  • Allow open media, including international journalists, in West Papua
  • Release political prisoners
  • Respect West Papuans right to self-determination
  • Withdraw military forces from West Papua
  • Stop racism and discrimination against the Papuan people

The Australian government must support these aims and also:

  • Cease training or in any way supporting military occupation/repression of West Papua
  • Discourage Australian mining interests from exploiting natural resources of West Papua
  • Support the campaign by the United Liberation Movement for West Papua to achieve full diplomatic recognition in the region and a new Referendum.

Communist Party of Australia

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