14TH AUGUST 2009

15th August 2009 marks the 47th anniversary of the New York Agreement - a bilateral treaty between Indonesia and the Kingdom of the Netherlands to resolve the status of the Dutch colony of West Papua.

In that treaty Indonesia and the Netherlands agreed that the indigenous peoples of West Papua would freely exercise their right to self-determination – a right guaranteed by international law and the UN Charter.

Instead of complying with international law requirements for universal adult suffrage and a free choice, Indonesia held a so-called ‘act of free choice’ in 1969 in which Indonesia coerced 1022 West Papuans to declare in favour of Indonesia.

Indonesia’s conduct of the ‘act of free choice’ constitutes a violation of the following international legal obligations:

• the New York Agreement – its bilateral treaty with the Netherlands;

• the UN Charter, including the sacred trust to bring West Papua to self-government;

• the legal right of self-determination held by the West Papuans.

Despite these flagrant violations of international law the ‘act of free choice’ has served as the rationale for Indonesian authority over West Papua for the last 40 years.

ILWP considers that the ‘act of free choice’ provides no legal or moral justification for Indonesian sovereignty over West Papua.

Indonesia was a colonial power when it took over administration from the Dutch government via a temporary UN authority in 1963. Indonesia’s presence in West Papua is a continuation of colonialism and as such it is a violation of international law. It is trite law that colonialism is illegal and a colony is entitled to independence.

West Papuans have never exercised their right to self-determination. They have consistently pleaded for their right to do so. Those pleas have been met with violence by Indonesia. Their pleas and the violence perpetrated against them by Indonesia have largely been ignored by the international community.

We call on the international community of states and the United Nations:

• to ensure that a genuine act of self-determination is held in West Papua in accordance with international law;

• to bring to an end the subjugation of the indigenous West Papuans by Indonesia, an alien power.

ILWP notes with deep concern the increasing human rights violations by the state of Indonesia against the indigenous peoples of West Papua. We ask the international community of states and the UN to act immediately to uphold the international rule of law and enable the indigenous peoples of West Papua to live in freedom, peace and dignity.

Sign By

Charles Foster MA (Cantab), of the Inner Temple, Barrister (England), and of the Kings’ Inns, Dublin, Barrister (Ireland), Outer Temple Chambers, London, and the Ethox Centre,University of Oxford Founder and Co-Chair.

Melinda Janki LL.B, BCL (Oxford), LL.M, Former Solicitor (England), Attorney-at-Law (Guyana); International Human Rights Lawyer; Founder and Co-Chair.

Jennifer Robinson, LLB (Hons)/BAsian Studies (ANU), BCL (Oxon), MPhil in Law (Oxon), Rhodes Scholar and Solicitor Australia and England.