06 November 2013

Petition at World Conference of Churches would call for West Papua to be included on United Nations Decolonisation list


Pacific Islands News Association

A petition being circulated at the World Council of Churches 10th Assembly will call for West Papua to be included on the United Nations list of territories to be decolonized.

Pacific church leaders from 12 countries have signed the petition which also calls on the WCC to send a fact-finding mission to the Indonesian-controlled territory and establish a specific commission to address the issue.

The petition follows an announcement by West Papuan churches of their intention to join the Pacific Conference of Churches as a full member after the assembly.

Today regional delegates, supported by PCC Secretariat staff, circulated the petition which contains a further two demands:

-    The end to arbitrary arrests, detention, brutality, torture and abuse by Indonesian security forces of West Papuan people.

-    The right of West Papuans to self-determination and their rights to exercise political freedom.

The PCC said it was mindful of the quest by West Papuans for self-determination and freedom since 1969 when Indonesia invaded and annexed the region.

Since then more than 100,000 West Papuans have been killed by Indonesian forces who have been responsible for acts of torture, arbitrary arrest and general brutality on the indigenous population.

“We the delegates and participants of the 10th Assembly of the World Council of Churches support the right of West Papuans to self-determination and freedom from oppression,” the petition said.

The plight of West Papua has been highlighted in a static display at the Busan Exhibition and Convention Centre as well as through advocacy by delegates.

A similar petition at the West Papua display area has been signed by many of the 5000 international participants at the assembly.