Speaking at the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Vanuatu, on Saturday, called up the world body not to ignore the rights of the people of West Papua. Vanuatu's Prime Minister Moana Carcasses Kalosil urged the United Nations to appoint a Special Representative to investigate alleged human rights abuses in the Papuan provinces of Indonesia. He also called upon the UN to discuss the political status of the province and rectify some historical errors.
Prime Minister Kalosil said, West Papuans have been consistently denied any sort of recognition by the world body.
"We are now deliberating on the issue of Syria, but when it comes to the issue of the rights of the people of West Papua, our voices are muted even in this podium," he told the General Assembly.
"How can we then ignore hundreds of thousands of West Papuans who have been brutally beaten and murdered?" he asked.
"The people of West Papua are looking to the UN as a beacon for hope... Let us, my colleague leaders, with the same moral conviction yield our support to the plight of West Papuans. It is time for the United Nation to move beyond its periphery and address and rectify some historical error," he said.
"It is clear from many historical records that the Melanesian people of West Papua were the scapegoat of Cold war politics and were sacrificed to gratify the appetite for the natural resources which this country possess," Prime Minsiter Kalosil said.
"Today they are still the victims of ignorance of the UN," he added.
Earlier, in May 2013, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay had voiced concern over a crackdown on mass demonstrations in the Papuan provinces. Indonesian police reportedly shot and killed two protesters on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the former Dutch New Guinea, becoming part of Indonesia in 1969 following a referendum of elders.
The UN Commissioner for Human Rights had called on the Indonesian Government to allow peaceful protests and hold accountable those responsible for the violence. "There has not been sufficient transparency in addressing serious human rights violations in Papua," she said.
Separatists in West Papua have all along questioned the legitimacy of the referendum which was called the 'Act of Free Choice'. They term it as the 'Act of No Choice' as 1025 West Papuan elders were assembled under threat and Indonesian military surveillance to vote on behalf of nearly 1 million West Papuans regarding the territory's political status.
Following the referendum, Indonesia declared West Papua as a military operation zone. The Indonesian military is alleged to have systematically repressed the Papuan separatist movement. Activities groups claim that some 100,000 West Papuans have been killed by Indonesian security forces.
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