Help to end the genocide in West Papua

25 August 2017
Author  Sibeta Mundia, Barotseland Post

A petition started by the Free West Papua in the United Kingdom to be delivered to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, has reached nearly 40,000 signatures from across the world on AVAAZ.org  with over 20,000 others on social media giants Face Book and Twitter.

The petition can be found here: https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/SecretaryGeneral_of_the_United_Nations_Antonio_Guterres_End_the_Genocide_in_West_Papua/?boRflhb&v=96772&cl=13051782768&_checksum=9682324475562ab91fffa51824083b436b8a42552e30dd5b4dfbc248e0f34d3a

On why the petition is important, the petitioners have stated that “The West Papuan people are crying for their freedom” and therefore, are calling on more people to sign the petition in support of their rights to freedom from Indonesian domination.

They target to reach 50,000 signatures on AVAAZ.org

“As concerned citizens from around the world, we call on you (António Guterres) to urgently address the human rights situation in West Papua and to review the UN's involvement in the administration of West Papua that led to its unlawful annexation by Indonesia ‐- and the human rights abuse that continues today. We call upon you to: - appoint a Special Representative to investigate the human rights situation in West Papua; - put West Papua back on the Decolonisation Committee agenda and ensure their right to self‐determination ‐- denied to them in 1969 -‐ is respected by holding an Internationally Supervised Vote (in accordance with UN General Assembly Resolutions 1514 and 1541 (XV)),” reads the petition.

BACKGROUND TO THE PETITION

Indonesia’s annexation of West Papua is arguably the world’s longest‐running military occupation and the genocide going on has killed more than 500,000 people, and is destroying the world’s second‐largest rainforest and 50,000 years of civilisation.

WHY HAVEN'T MORE PEOPLE HEARD OF WEST PAPUA?

“Here’s one reason: it’s because the Indonesian government doesn’t want you to know. The country’s authorities are working hard to cover up their brutal occupation of West Papua.

“Indonesia has even criminalised this petition, banning Avaaz across the whole country. West Papuan leader Yanto Awerkion is currently being detained by Indonesian police for signing this petition, and is facing charges of treason, & 15 years in jail.

“Please sign this petition calling on the UN to act urgently on West Papua, & join the voices of thousands of West Papuan people who have risked their lives to sign it.

“We have until August, when this petition (with your name), will be swum 69 kms across Lake Geneva by the Swim for West Papua team and handed straight to the United Nations headquarters. @BacktheSwim

ONGOING HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES

Between 30th June and 6th July, at least 135 people were reportedly arrested, including 79 West Papuan youths and children. Many of them were tortured by the Indonesian police for peaceful actions calling for freedom. One West Papuan activist described how his child was tortured by the Indonesian police: “All night, his weeping made our grief grow. When he was caged in the bars of the invaders, when he was locked up by the executioner, in an isolated space full of torture. The child’s cries did not stop but continued to rage.”

In 2016 alone eight thousand people ‐ including children ‐ were arrested. There are frequent reports of kidnapping and torture by the military and police. Journalists and community leaders are routinely detained and tortured simply for speaking out.

WHEN WILL THIS END?

“This petition directly calls on the UN to act for West Papua urgently.

“With enough international support we know we can make a difference for West Papua, so PLEASE sign & share this petition, and make sure your voice reaches the UN this August.

WEST PAPUANS ARE CRYING OUT FOR INTERNATIONAL ATTENTION

The Indonesian government strictly controls media and NGO activity, allowing West Papua to avoid international attention and continue one of the most brutal “silent genocides” of the 21st century.

“Please sign this petition calling for an end to the genocide and a free and fair independence vote for the West Papuan people.”

In 1969, the Indonesian military marched 1026 West Papuans (0.2 of the population) at gunpoint to the voting station, and told to raise their hand at the right moment, or be shot. Many of their families were being held by the military. They all voted in favour of Indonesia.

The West Papuan people have been fighting for their right for a fair & free referendum for 55 years.

Since then, Indonesia has been occupying the area illegally, killing the indigenous population and bringing in the largest mining companies in the world who are stealing & destroying the natural resources. The people of West Papua have one of the highest poverty rates in the world, and continue to be denied basic freedoms. There is a real fear that without intervention they will lose everything.

“Add your name to the petition NOW!”

Thanks to growing international support, the struggle of the West Papuan people is getting more and more attention and there is hope. Now, they’re calling for your help to gain the freedom they were promised over 50 years ago.

Will you add your name and help us to bring this urgent situation to the United Nations?

You can follow the story of the Swim team and the petition as it goes around the world @BackTheSwim @FreeWestPapua.

Also please go to our website www.freewestpapua.org for more information or to make a donation.

“Together we can put an end to this genocide once and for all.”

Thank you!

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