West Papua Blog, Oct. 12, 2017
In late September, Benny Wenda, a murder suspect and separatist leader submitted a fake petition to the United Nations. It partially calls for a decision on West Papua’s autonomy from Indonesia. The petition was allegedly signed by a large majority of native Papuan people before it was smuggled out of the territory. But the U.N. refused to accept it.
Why a small number of separatist terrorist from West Papua maintaining conflict, and how has this effort failed?
When Indonesia won independence from The Netherlands in 1949, the territory of West Papua was not included in the new nation, but remained under Dutch control. After Indonesia liberated the territory in 1963, the separatist movement began.
Rebellion against Indonesia increased after referendum or the Act of Free Choice in 1969. The separatist sentiment defeated because majority Papuan representative voters support for the integration of West Papua into Indonesia. Unable to accept the reality of referendum result, separatist movement continue to disturb public order in West Papua.
To protect the safety of the population in West Papua, the Indonesian government do their best to prevent violent attack by separatist armed group. Unfortunately this effort was seen as militarization of West Papua.
The central government in Jakarta also filters visits by foreign observers and journalists to prevent conflict provocation. For example Dominic Brown from UK who is actually hard core supporter of violent separatist movement. Despite his success in filming Free West Papua armed group from the perspective of separatist, he failed to recognize vast majority West Papuan who despise violent separatist group.
In short, separatist movement in West Papua cannot move from the historical facts of referendum in 1969. They want to repeat the referendum to win. They never think about the impact to the population. They keep on campaigning for conflict. This effort was failed and will fail again and again because the nature of this effort is only emotion. It is not for the best possible option for the population in West Papua.
Why did the U.N.’s decolonization committee reject the petition from West Papua Separatist Group?
“Firstly, the nature of the petition remains somewhat unclear, but it is reported to contain the names of 70 percent of West Papuans, which would be a remarkable administrative exercise in such a forested and mountainous territory under close watch by Indonesian security forces.”
“Secondly, the West Papuans face a legal cul-de-sac in the U.N. system. The decolonization committee refused to accept the petition on the basis that West Papua is not on the list of “non-self governing territories” that the committee has a mandate from the U.N. General Assembly to monitor.”
The decolonization committee says it cannot receive petitions from territories that are not on its list.