The people of West Papua demand action against human rights violations

Press release: Foundation St. Legal Aids for the People of West Papua urges UN to condemn Indonesia for human rights violations

The Netherlands, June 24th 2016. Dutch version is to be found here, Indonesian version here.

The Foundation Legal Aid for the People of West Papua, assisted by the renowned Amsterdam-based human rights law firm Prakken D’Oliveira, has filed an official complaint to the United Nations Human Rights Council, on behalf of the Federal State Republic of West Papua (Negara Republik Federal Papua Barat) and its president Forkorus Yaboisembut, as well as on behalf of nineteen unnamed citizens of West Papua. The complaint details a series of vast and continuing human rights violations committed by the State of Indonesia against the people of West Papua.

Demand for legal action

A comprehensive historical and legal document, the complaint sets out a vast and varied array of human-rights abuses suffered by the West Papuan people from the moment of Indonesian annexation of West Papua in 1963 to the present day. After more than fifty years of death and destruction in West Papua, the complainants now submit that it is time for international legal action.

The complainants urge the UN to formally formally condemn the State of Indonesia for committing systemic human rights violations against the people of West Papua. It is hoped that the Human Rights Council will undertake a thorough factual and legal inquiry leading to the passage of a UN resolution condemning the Indonesian government. Additionally, the complainants strive for recognition of the rights of West Papua and the Declaration of Independence that was proclaimed on October 19th, 2011.

Also, the complainants strive for the initiation of formal negotiations between the Republic State of Indonesia and the Federal State Republic of West Papua, and a transfer from administrative power from the former to the latter. Additionally, The United Nations would be called upon to serve as an international mediator.

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Public launch of legal campaign 

The submission of the complaint will mark the beginning of a legal campaign that strives for improved self-determination and independence of the West Papuan community, as well as an end to the ongoing policy of systemic human rights violations committed by the state of Indonesia.

On June 25th, Human Rights lawyer Göran Sluiter of law agency Prakken D’Oliveira gave a presentation about the legal complaint and subsequent legal campaign to the Dutch Papuan community at kerkgebouw De Voorhof (Wiersdijk 8b) in Nieuwegein.

The entire legal complaint can be read or downloaded here.

Unfortunately, as with any complex legal inquiry, the path to potential relief from the Human Rights Council is an extremely long one—one that will be measured in years, not months. From the moment of filing to the moment of resolution, the complainants will be required to vigilantly advocate their case by conducting additional factual and legal research, making additional submissions to the Human Rights Council, lobbying potential partners, and generally raising awareness. If not accompanied by a robust and continuous campaign, the complaint will slowly slip through the UN’s bureaucratic cracks and eventually be forgotten. Your support is crucial.

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