Presently, the Papua are subjected to ongoing oppression within their own country. Their freedom of speech is being systematically violated, their culture is under continuous threat and their habitat is being gradually destroyed due to widespread pollution of the environment. The Papua have no choice but to contend with extinction. The situation in West Papua has been characterised as ‘slow motion genocide’.
International legal professionals and academics have decided to join forces within ILWP in order to maximize awareness of the situation in West Papua within the international community and to explore the prospect of a solution to the complex legal issues at hand.
ILWP is continuously looking for legal professionals with a background in various fields voicing solidarity with West Papua and acknowledging the necessity of a legal action to remedy the injustices suffered.
Could your own legal expertise contribute to finding an effective legal solution to the situation in West Papua? Please join us today in considering possible legal efforts to end the gross human rights violations in West Papua and register as member of ILWP.
For more information on ILWP membership and our upcoming events, please send an email to [email protected]
A Concise History
As a result of the 1969 referendum called ‘Act of Free Choice’, West Papua has officially become a province of Indonesia. However, the ‘Act of Free Choice’ was less referendum than a sham - a carefully handpicked group of 1,022 Papuan electors, representing a population of 800,000, delivered an unopposed verdict in favour of joining Indonesia. Consequently, what supposed to be an act of self-determination resulted in a farce in which people were forced to comply with a gun as the UN failed utterly to discharge it’s mandate in West Papua. Ever since, any opposition from the Papua was met with severe violence by Indonesian authorities. Many decades later, human rights abuses, exploitation of the people and resources is still ongoing. The conflict and West Papua’s struggle for independence still endures.
After the fall of dictator Suharto’s regime in 1998, a period of Reformasi commenced bringing democratic changes to Indonesia. The changed political setting enabled the Papua, though to a limited extent, to exercise their freedom of speech. As a result, news about human rights violations slowly began to trickle out leading to ever growing criticism of Indonesia’s human rights policy in West Papua and advocating for a revision on the UN’s decision on West Papua in 1969.
As of 2014, the Papua are in minority in their own country - transmigration, commercial wood harvest and mining industry are just few examples of Indonesia’s devastating policy in West Papua. Jakarta’s interests are of paramount importance and the (land)rights of the Papua are being severely repressed. Since 1962 the Indonesian military has been responsible for the forced disappearance of over 100,000 Papua, amounting to approximately 10% of the population(!).
In addition to ILWP, student movements, as well as cultural and religious organisations in West Papua and outside have called on the UN to rectify one of the darkest pages of its history.