The United Nations must pass a resolution for an internationally supervised vote for independence in West Papua, global parliamentarians and independence advocates have said. In a meeting in London on Tuesday, the West Papuan independence leader, Benny Wenda, will join parliamentarians, lawyers and humanitarians from the UK and the Pacific region to demand the United Nations pass a resolution for an independence referendum, in order to make up for its “mistake” in allowing Indonesia to take control almost 50 years ago. Indonesia warns other countries to respect its sovereignty over Papua. West Papuans are the indigenous people of a region on the Western half of an island shared with Papua New Guinea. Formerly under Dutch colonisation, Indonesia took temporary control of West Papua under a UN–backed treaty in 1963. It later gained complete rule through a UN-sanctioned but discredited ballot in 1969, in which just a little over 1000 Indonesian-picked West Papuan leaders representatives cast votes under threat of violence.
Wenda said that vote, so called the “act of free choice”, was a betrayal of West Papuans and now was the time for the United Nations to set it right. “We West Papuans call it the act of no choice,” Wenda told the Guardian. “The UN already made a mistake, they broke their own rule. That’s why the UN needs to correct it now.”
The Free West Papua movement hopes to see a UN resolution within two years to send international peacekeepers to protect West Papuans as they vote on independence. “For 50 years Indonesia massacred my people, 500,000 people. We need international peacekeeping force in West Papua,” said Wenda. “In maybe another 10 or 20 or 50 years time I think my people will become a minority. We need this as soon as possible.”