Wenda calls on Euro politicians to sign Brussels Declaration on West Papua

Asia Pacific Report

A leading West Papuan advocate has welcomed this week’s launch of the Brussels Declaration in the European Parliament, calling on MPs to sign it.

“The Declaration is an important document, echoing the existing calls for a UN High Commissioner for Human Rights visit to West Papua made by the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), the Organisation of African, Caribbean, and Pacific States (OACPS), and the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG),” said United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) president Benny Wenda.

“I ask all parliamentarians who support human rights, accountability, and international scrutiny to sign it.”

The Brussels Declaration, organised by the International Parliamentarians for West Papua (IPWP), has also launched a new phase in the campaign for a UN visit.

European parliamentarian Carles Puigdemont, formerly president of the state of Catalonia that broke away illegally from Spain in 2017 and an ex-journalist and editor, said during the meeting that the EU should immediately halt its trade negotiations with Indonesia until Jakarta obeyed the “will of the international community” and granted the UN access.

“Six years have now passed since the initial invite to the High Commissioner was made — six years in which thousands of West Papuans have been killed and over 100,000 displaced,” said Wenda.

“Indonesia has repeatedly demonstrated that words of condemnation are not enough. Without real pressure, they will continue to act with total impunity in West Papua.”

‘Unified call’
Wenda said the call to halt European trade negotiations with Indonesia was not just being made by himself, NGOs, or individual nations.

“it is a unified call by nearly half the world, including the European Commission, for international investigation in occupied West Papua,” he said.

“If Indonesia continues to withhold access, they will merely be proving right all the academics, lawyers, and activists who have accused them of committing genocide in West Papua.

“If there is nothing to hide, why all the secrecy?”

Since 2001, the EU has spent millions of euros funding Indonesian rule in West Papua through the controversial colonial “Special Autonomy” law.

“This money is supposedly earmarked for the advancement of ‘democracy, civil society, [and the] peace process’,” Wenda said.

“Given that West Papua has instead suffered 20 years of colonialism, repression, and police and military violence, we must question where these funds have gone.

‘Occupied land’
“West Papua is occupied land. We have never exercised our right to self-determination, which was cruelly taken from us in 1963.

“States and international bodies, including the EU, should not invest in West Papua until this fundamental right has been realised. Companies and corporations who trade with Indonesia over our land are directly funding our genocide.”

Wenda added “we cannot allow Indonesia any hiding place on this issue — West Papua cannot wait any longer”.

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