colonialism’s forgotten victim

Following on from the West Papua talk by Sophie Grig of Survival International at the Pacific Study Day on 31st January, Dr Christian Clerk has asked me to report on the West Papua campaign here in Britain and to give some suggestions of what PISUKI members can do to support the people of West Papua in their struggle for fundamental human rights, including the right to self-determination.

“In days, months, years, the Indonesian army will try and kill all West Papuans because we want independence.  

I don’t want to die.  

If you are Australian, Canadian, European or English, and you don’t want West Papuans to die, do something! ” 

Reverend Obeth Komba, West Papuan Highland leader from Wamena, speaking in 2002.

Since December 2003, Reverend Komba has been detained by the Indonesian military together with 15 of his fellow Highland leaders. Amnesty International has designated him as a “prisoner of conscience” and is calling for his immediate unconditional release.

How can we in Britain respond to Reverend Komba’s desperate cry for help?

The West Papua Association-UK campaign is currently lobbying (1) the UK Government, (2) the Indonesian Government, (3) UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, (4) the UN Special Committee on Decolonization and (5) UK trans-national companies with interests in West Papua, Rio Tinto & BP.

Here are some suggestions of action you can take:

(1) The UK Government:

Please write to the Foreign Secretary, with a copy to your own MP; 

Jack Straw MP, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, London. SW1A 2AH

Fax: (020) 7008 0155

 asking the UK Government to:

 Call on Indonesia to enter into a genuine dialogue with West Papuan civil leaders, without pre-conditions, facilitated by a neutral third party mediator. (New Zealand has already offered to assume this role.) 

 The UK government has so far refused to acknowledge West Papua’s case for self-determination. It maintains support for a policy of Special Autonomy in West Papua, but this is a policy that Indonesia apparently has no intention of implementing. In any case, the majority of Papuans, yearning for independence, see Special Autonomy as too small a concession. Meanwhile Indonesia is actually pushing ahead with a contradictory policy of splitting West Papua into three separate provinces.

We are also campaigning for a Foreign Affairs Committee inquiry into the UK’s relationship with Indonesia. Please write to your MP asking for such an inquiry with a copy to: Select Committee on Foreign Affairs, House of Commons, London. SW1 0AA

 (2) The Indonesian Government:

Please write to;

H.E.Dr Juwono Sudarsono, the Ambassador, Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia, 38, Grosvenor Square, LONDON. W1X 9AD

Fax: (020) 7491 4993 

asking the Indonesian Government to: 


(3) UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan:

Please write to:

 H.E. Kofi Annan, Secretary-General, United Nations Secretariat, Rm 3800,

New York, NY 10017, USA

Fax: 001 212 963 2155 --or-- 963 7055 --or-- 963 4879

For more information on the international campaign for a UN Review of the “Act of ‘Free’ Choice” see;    http://westpapuaaction.buz.org/unreview/ 


(4) UN Special Committee on Decolonization:

 Please write to: 

Mr Earl Stephen Huntley, Ambassador for St Lucia, Chairman of the Special Committee on Decolonization, Rm S2977, United Nations, New York, NY 10017, USA

(5) UK trans-national corporations with interests in West Papua:  

Please write to:

 Mr Leigh Clifford, Chief Executive, Rio Tinto plc, 6 St James's Square,

London SW1Y 4LD

Fax: (020) 7930 3249


Sir John Browne, Chief Executive, BP plc, Britannic House, Finsbury Circus, London EC2M 7BA

Fax:  (020) 7496 4630

 asking them to:


For more information, (and if possible) copies of any replies, please contact:  

Richard Samuelson, Oxford Papuan Rights Campaign, 10, Gordon Close, Marston, Oxford OX3 0RG.

Tel: (01865) 241200

E-mail: samoxen@aol.com 

With thanks for your solidarity and support for the West Papuan people.

Richard Samuelson