Image for Will West Papuans now get to vote on their Freedom?

The south of Sudan has just been allowed a vote on self-determination and 99 percent of those voting chose independence. The President of the Sudan, Omar al-Bashir, has declared his support for the outcome and said that he will be travelling south to join the celebrations.

A new nation is born and a long-running conflict is brought to a close.

The Papuans of the western half of New Guinea, a territory the size of France, rich in resources and ancient in indigenous culture, was one of the first places on Earth that saw agriculture developed. During the last ice age New Guinea was part of the Australian continent, but unlike Australia, colonial carving knives saw the island divided and the western half consumed by Indonesia, as if with an eye to the east.

The West Papuans were supposed to be permitted a UN run vote on their independence in 1969, but Indonesia, the colonial master at the time, was allowed to run the ballot, which saw 1025 selected men told to step over a line drawn in the dirt under the shadow of guns.

How could the World accept that?


The so-called ‘Act of Free Choice’ was not free or fair and has served to fuel a long-running conflict between Papuans and Indonesia.

Will the world now wake up to this injustice and grant the West Papuan people the vote that they were cheated of in 1969?

If a free and fair UN run vote on Independence happens and the West Papuan people vote for freedom, will the Indonesian president travel to New Guinea to join the celebrations?

The presence of the Indonesian president and other World leaders may help to avoid the kind of blood-shed and destruction that occurred in East Timor after their vote for freedom.

How many West Papuans need to die before their cry for freedom is heard by the World?

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