Kamis, 08 Desember 2011

Obaut West Papua: Do the British Still Rule India?


David Hill

 

Writer and journalist

Or do the French rule Algeria? The Portuguese, Angola? The Italians, Libya?
No, obviously. So why is it that Indonesia rules West Papua, the western half of New Guinea and 1000s of kilometres from Jakarta?
This kind of colonialism, in which people from one part of the world lord it over other, entirely different people from some other part of the world, and commit all manner of atrocities while they're at it, should have been abolished by now. After all, it's almost 70 years since the UN's founding Charter recognised, among other things, the principle of 'self-determination of peoples.'
West Papua was in the UK's national news last week, which is no mean feat since journalists are banned from visiting. The reason: that a West Papuan political refugee, Benny Wenda, based in Oxford, is wanted by Interpol.
Wenda's supposed offence? 'Crimes involving the use of weapons/explosives.' Wenda, founder of the Free West Papua movement, denies the charges, saying they're politically motivated and an attempt to muzzle him.
'Indonesia is trying to stop my campaign to bring justice to the people of West Papua who have suffered under Indonesian occupation,' Mr Wenda says. 'The issuing o
f this Interpol notice will not stop me. It just makes me more determined than ever to help end my peoples' suffering by bringing a referendum that is held in accordance with international law. Nothing will stop me in my endeavours to reach this goal.'
The Indonesian takeover was brokered in the 1960s, mainly by the US, the UK, the UN and the Dutch, the previous colonial rulers. An estimated 400,000 West Papuan deaths later, and the rape of countless women including three of Wenda's aunts, Indonesia is still there.
Pro-independence rallies are planned in West Papua tomorrow, 1 December. 

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