- Published on Thursday, 16 February 2017 04:33
On Tuesday 24th January 2017 the International Parliamentarians for West Papua together with the Free West Papua Campaign launched the global petition in support of the West Minster Declaration in the British parliament at the Palace of Westminster. The launching was chaired by Rt Hon Andrew Smith MP, co-founder of the International Parliamentarians for West Papua and Benny Wenda, Spokesman for the United Liberation Movement for West Papua. The advocacy groups have also planned an additional initiative named 'Swim for West Papua', which should serve the purpose to highlight and promote the petition.
A team of West Papua supporters will prepare themselves for the 'Swim for West Papua' initiative – they will swim 69km with the signed document across Lake Geneva and subsequently deliver it to the United Nations. The petition is addressed to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, and can be signed on the global action and campaigning platform Avaaz until August 2017. Similar as the West Minster Declaration, the petition calls on the United Nations to voice the human rights situation in West Papua and to ensure West Papua’s right to self-determination through an internationally supervised referendum.
The so-called West Minster declaration was adopted during an international meeting by the advocacy forum International Parliamentarians for West Papua (IPWP) on 3rd May 2016 in London. The meeting was attended and supported by Samuela ‘Akilisi Pohiva the Prime Minister of Tonga; Bruno Leingkone, Minister for Foreign Affairs in Vanuatu; Rex Horoi, MSG Special Envoy on West Papua, Solomon Islands; Ralph Regenvanu, Minister of Lands and Natural Resources in Vanuatu; Gary Juffa, Governor of Oro District, Papua New Guinea; Lord Harries of Pentregarth, UK House of Lords, Jeremy Corbyn, MP, Leader of the UK Opposition; and several other British politicians. The West Minster Declaration, recognizes the 1969 UN-supervised 'Act of Free Choice', by which the former Dutch New Guinea (today commonly referred to as West Papua) was incorporated into Indonesia, as a gross violation of indigenous Papuans right to self-determination, and calls for an internationally supervised vote on the independence of West Papua.