Free West Papua Campaign Launches Global Petition for Independence Referendum
A supervised referendum would enable Papuans to vote on independence – a chance that activists claim they were robbed of in the 1969 “Act of Free Choice”, when less than 0.01% of the population were allegedly handpicked and coerced to vote for integration with Indonesia.
In just a few days since its launch, the petition has already garnered 11,611 signatures, passing its initial goal of 10,000 and still accepting more contributions.
The global petition will remain open until August 2017. It will then be carried by the Swim for West Papua Team across 69 kilometres of Lake Geneva and personally handed to António Guterres, the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
West Papua’s struggle for independence gained international attention when seven Pacific Island nations raised the issue of Indonesia’s human rights abuses in Papua to the UN General Assembly in September 2016.
In October, the UN Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination initiated an early warning and urgent action procedure, and requested Indonesia to formally respond to allegations of racial violence by mid-November. There are no records of their response.
The Free West Papua Campaign recently launched the hashtags #BackTheSwim and #LetWestPapuaVote on social media.The global petition can be signed here.