FORMER PRESIDENT OF NAURU

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REPUBLIC OF NAURU

The Honorable Kinza G. Clodumar, MP Parliament House Republic of Nauru Central Pacific Phone: 0438 361 458

MEDIA RELEASE

August 16, 2001

CLODUMAR SUPPORTS WEST PAPUA

"The Pacific Islands Forum should not disregard the concerns of the people of West Papua," said the former President of Nauru Kinza Clodumar. "Human rights and military abuses are issues that the members of the Pacific Islands Forum should not have left off the Forum agenda. I regret that the representatives from the Papua Presidium Council, a body officially acknowledged by Nauru, is not able to attend the Forum in Nauru.

"The excuses are purely political. We, the people of the Pacific, should standup for our Melanesian brothers and sisters in West Papua.

"The people of West Papua are racially different from all other parts of Indonesia. They are Melanesian and are part of the island of Papua. These ethnic differences alone make it clear that their separate identify should be recognized by the international community and they should have the right to self-determination in their own land."

He went on to say that "West Papuan people are victims of the 1960’s cold war."

West Papua was first colonized by the Dutch at the end of the nineteenth century. In 1962, the Indonesian government (with the support of the U.S.S.R. and the U.S.A.) forced the Dutch to relinquish control of the area known as Netherlands New Guinea to the United Nations. As with East Timor, the Indonesians swept through the territory in 1963 during a period of transitional administration by the United Nations.

In 1969, of 1,026 West Papuan "representatives" appointed by the Indonesian military government for the self-determination vote, only 175 signed the integration statement; the remaining 851 abstained. This was the result of the so-called Act of Free Choice of 1969. The Indonesians had refused to carry out a full plebiscite of the indigenous Papuans.

For thirty-seven years, West Papuans have opposed the Indonesian colonial regime and have tried to find a peaceful means to be accorded rights of self-determination.

It has been claimed by the West Papua Council that more than half a million lives have been lost through shocking human rights abuses since Indonesia took control. The trans-migration of approximately three quarters of a million Javanese has also resulted in the forced alienation of tribal land. West Papuans have continued to suffer these abuses from the time of annexation to the present day.

"Unfortunately, it appears that the issue of West Papuan right to self-determination is getting lost and confused in different political agendas. We must not loose sight of the important human rights questions that are troubling the region."

Mr. Clodumar welcomed the actions of the Papuan Council Presidium in engaging a legal team to advise on legal options and strategies, stating "the plight of West Papua should not be struck off the Pacific Islands Forum agenda."

For further information, contact: The Honorable Kinza Clodumar MP Republic of Nauru Phone: Australia (0438) 361-458 International: (61) 438 361 458

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