4 Dec 2002

Academic says the UN must right its wrongs over Papua

6:04 pm on 4 December 2002

A British academic says the United Nations has to re-examine its role in the controversial handover of Papua to Indonesia in the 1960s.

Indonesia gained control of the province formally in 1969 through the so called Act of Free Choice, which saw a unanimous vote in favour of Jakarta by 1022 handpicked Papuans.

But Dr John Saltford, in his book "The United Nations and the Indonesian Takeover of West Papua - the Anatomy of Betrayal" says the world body actively colluded with Indonesia and other countries in the handover.

Dr Saltford has drawn on recently declassified UN, British and Australian documents and says the UN betrayed the people of Papua.

Dr Saltford says there is growing international pressure for the UN to re-consider its role and he says for its own legitimacy it has to do so.

"it won't go away, it certainly won't, and the UN as I say, have a reputation, I mean I'm a supporter of the UN..... they have a reputation to keep, and if they ignore something like this, then it really undermines their legitimacy of something that has a greater moral standing than a nation state"