West Papua: UN must supervise vote on independence, says coalition (The Guardian, 3 May 2016)

West Papua: UN must supervise vote on independence, says coalition (The Guardian, 3 May 2016)

In a meeting in London on 3 May, the West Papuan independence leader, Benny Wenda, joined parliamentarians, lawyers and humanitarians from the UK and the Pacific region to demand the United Nations pass a resolution for an independence referendum, in order to make up for its “mistake” in allowing Indonesia to take control almost 50 years ago. West Papuans are the indigenous people of a region on the Western half of an island shared with Papua New Guinea. Formerly under Dutch colonisation, Indonesia took temporary control of West Papua under a UN–backed treaty in 1963. It later gained complete rule through a UN-sanctioned but discredited ballot in 1969, in which just a little over 1000 Indonesian-picked West Papuan leaders representatives cast votes under threat of violence. Wenda said that vote, so called the “act of free choice”, was a betrayal of West Papuans and now was the time for the United Nations to set it right.