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Papua Longing for Freedom (Merdeka)

Papua Longing for Freedom (Merdeka)

West Papua- Formerly Dutch New Guinea- is the western half of the island of New Guinea. It is separated from the North of Australia by Torres' Strait and the Arafura Sea.

The indigenous people of West Papua have been dispossessed of their ancestral lands. More than three hundred thousand have been killed. Thousands of others have been raped and tortured. Food gardens are destroyed, and the village-lifestyle obliterated.

West Papuans are racially and culturally distinct from South East Asian Indonesians. They are Melanesian, and hold a deep and spiritual connection to their land. Indonesian military and foreign corporations are plundering their resources of fish, pristine forests and water, gas and minerals. The unique fragile environment is being davastated.

Indonesia's first president, Soekarno, announced his intention to invade what was then Dutch New Guinea on 1 December 1961. Mayor- General Soeharto led the operation, which became a COLD WAR conflict after Indonesia signed a $ 400 million arms deal with the Soviet Union. This prompted American intervention, and the New York Agreemnet of 1962. The West Papuans were not consulted, but the New York Agreement stipulated that a referendum be held before the end of 1969. What took place, the so-called Act of Free Choice, was not conducted according to United Nations guidelines, and is widely regarded as a sham.

The Indonesian military administration assumed control of the referendum process, and allowed only 1.026 selected West Papuans to vote. This voting took place under conditions of gross intimidation and duress. Neverthless, the outcome was recognized by eighty four members of the United Nations (including Australia) and West Papua was delivered to the Indonesian Republic. Since then, West Papuans have been brutalized and imprisoned for the use of symbols such as their Morning Star lflag, and expressing a wish for justice and self determination.

The West Papuans seek help from the international community to pursue their inalienable right to self determination - a process initiated by the Dutch colonial administration in 1945 and supported at the time by the Australian government.

THE WEST PAPUA NATIONAL AUTHORITY, which has been acting as a transitional goverement for West Papuans in all but the most overt of administrative functions since 2004, believe the international community and the United Nations now has no choice but to review the NEW YORK AGREEMENT of 1962 and ACT OF FREE CHOICE in 1969, and to follow the lead of Vanuatu in promoting the re-insertion of West Papua on the UN Decolonization List in order that the peoples's rights to self determination can be served.

ENDS

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