[Sinn Fein]

11th December 2001

SF TD urges Government to support independence for West Papua

Sinn Fein TD Caoimhghín Ó Caolain has written to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Brian Cowen TD, urging him to publicly support the right to national self-determination of the people of West Papua, a nation occupied by the Indonesian state. Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

``The Chairperson of the Papuan Presidium Council Theys Eluay was murdered by pro-Indonesian forces in November. This has greatly increased fear among the people of West Papua of an intensification of repression which to date has resulted in the deaths of some 10,000 people. I urge therefore that the Irish government publicly call upon the government of Indonesia to recognise and vindicate the rights of West Papua.

``In reply to my Dáil Question of 5 July the Minister for Foreign Affairs stated that the Irish government supports the plans for regional autonomy for West Papua `without affecting the territorial integrity of Indonesia'. The former Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations Chakravarthy Narasimhan has recently described as a ``sham'' and a ``whitewash'' the so-called Act of Free Choice by which West Papua was transferred to Indonesia from its Dutch colonisers. The former UN official was centrally involved in supervising the transfer.

``In light of these developments I urge the Government to state publicly its support for self-determination for the people of West Papua.

``Earlier this year I met a representative of the West Papuan people, Sem Karoba, and pledged the support of my party for their self-determination demand.''

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