What's happening at the
Thursday 17 Aug 2017 | 20:26 | SYDNEY
Thursday 17 Aug 2017 | 20:26 | SYDNEY

Reader riposte: More on West Papua

By

COMMENTS

6 March 2013 13:27

Andrew Johnson writes:

Your reader George Darroch made no attempt to address the trusteeship issue which I raised. Whatever the Indonesians or the West Papuans are doing would likely become irrelevant if the United Nations accepts that West Papua is still a UN trust territory.

And as readers can verify for themselves, only UN Charter chapters VII and XII permit the use of UN forces whether for peace or colonial administration purposes. As it was General Assembly resolution 1752 (XVII) that authorised UN possession of the territory there is little prospect of disputing that the colony became a trust territory in 1962; and as with all trust territories irrespective of which member or organisation is chosen to administrate the trust, the trusteeship only ends when article 78 of the Charter has taken effect.

Joe Collins from the Australia West Papua association (Sydney) writes:

George Darroch states 'the OPM rebels are not significantly concerned about reprisals on the civilian population, as they expect these will feed into domestic pain and increase their power'. How does he know?

However, it's now 50 years since Indonesian took over administration of West Papua and the West Papuan people are still marching peacefully with demonstrators holding banners calling for a referendum or for self-determination. A definite failure by Jakarta to win the hearts and minds of the West Papuan people. This should confirm to Jakarta and the international community that the issue of West Papua is not going away.

If Yudhoyono is opting for the welfare approach, other officials are not.  Antara News reported that Indonesia's Deputy Defense Minister Sjafrie Sjamsoeddin said that the TNI will take a firm stand by conducting tactical action against the armed groups that killed the soldiers and civilians in Papua last week. 'The tactical action includes to chase, apprehend and destroy'. Statements such as this create fear in the West Papuan people, who are well aware of what sweeping operations against so call separatists mean.

Both the Australian and US Governments offered condolences to the families of the soldiers who died. All deaths in a conflict are tragic but I don't think I have ever seen condolences offered to the families of West Papuans who have died or been tortured by the security forces. The West Papuan people have been calling on Jakarta to dialogue with their representatives for years to try and solve the problems in West Papua. Now would be a good time to start.

You may also be interested in...