1 May 2008

West Papuan activists mark 45 years of occupation by Jakarta

7:42 pm on 1 May 2008

The West Papua National Coalition of Liberation says Indonesia can point to little in the way of progress in the Papua region since its occupation in 1963.

West Papuan activists around the world are using May 1st, the 45th anniversary of Indonesia's occupation of West Papua, to renew their call for international dialogue on Papuan self-determination.

The Coalition, which represents a wide range of Papuan political and civil society groups, has ruled out pushing for independence in the foreseeable future.

But the Coalition's spokeswoman Paula Makabori says they'll keep lobbying for dialogue because under Indonesian rule, Papuans' fundamental rights have never been respected.

"The only thing showing on the ground is the human rights abuses increasing since back to the year when they take over West Papua. Today the West Papuans are trying to manage themselves and say, look, here we are and we're ready to take you to the international arena to solve the problems in fair and respectful, peaceful dialogue."

Paula Makabori