A meeting held today (22nd January 2024) at the European Parliament called for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to urgently be allowed to investigate the human rights situation in occupied West Papua.
The meeting, titled ‘UN High Commissioner visit to West Papua and the EU-Indonesia Trade Agreement’, was addressed by ULMWP President Benny Wenda, Labour MP and International Parliamentarians for West Papua (IPWP) Chair Alex Sobel, International Lawyers for West Papua (ILWP) Chair Tim Hansen, IPWP Vice-Chair and EH Bildu Senator Gorka Elejabarrieta, and hosted by MEP and IPWP Vice-Chair President Carles Puigdemont.
Indonesia has now refused the UN access to West Papua for over six years, despite over 85 countries demanding that they facilitate a visit. President Puigdemont demanded that the EU cease its negotiations over a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Indonesia until the UN visit is carried out. Alex Sobel and Senator Elejabarrieta described the progress of the IPWP Campaign for a UN visit. Tim Hansen gave an overview of the illegality under international law of Indonesia’s occupation of West Papua, and outlined how this could also make elements of an EU-Indonesia trade agreement illegal. An excerpt from President Wenda’s speech can be viewed below, while the entire event can be watched here.
The speakers unveiled the ‘Brussels Declaration on West Papua’, calling out Indonesia’s continued refusal and demanding a UN visit be facilitated without further delays. Any Parliamentarians or diplomats who wish to sign the declaration should contact [email protected].
Benny Wenda: This February will mark six years since Indonesia first invited the High Commissioner to visit West Papua. Six whole years – how many West Papuans have been murdered, tortured, and mutilated in that time? How much Papuans have been forced from their land? How much of West Papua has been stolen for ecocidal industrial development?
Since High Commissioner Zeid was invited to report from West Papua in February 2018, his term has ended. The term of his successor, Michelle Bachelet, who also failed to gain access to West Papua, has also ended. And in West Papua, over 100,000 people have been displaced from their homes and made refugees in their own land. Over 75,000 of my people remain displaced to this day. They are living in the bush, without adequate supplies of water, food and medicine. Indonesia’s refusal to allow the UN to investigate goes hand in hand with their refusal to allow aid organisations to reach the displaced and hungry refugees.
Press and inquiries about the Brussels Declaration: [email protected].