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Papuan effort ‘helps foster international attention’

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, March 5, 2012) – An academic says the bid to register an independent West Papua at the United Nations (UN) helps foster international attention on Indonesia’s Papua region.

The registration was announced by the so-called President of a newly proclaimed Republic of West Papua, Forkorus Yaboisembut, at his and four other Papuans’ trial for treason in Jayapura.

Richard Chauvel from the School of Social Sciences at Australia’s Victoria University says it is a logical step by Papuans to redress the UN-sanctioned process under which their homeland was incorporated into Indonesia.

He says it works in a similar way to the move by Vanuatu’s parliament to raise issues around the status of Papua at the UN:

"Trying to use the international legal system to advance the cause of Papuan independence. We can debate the effectiveness of Vanuatu’s move, and the effectiveness of this attempt to register the Federal Republic with the UN, but it is nevertheless a means of trying to keep the issue of West Papua, to give it some profile at the UN."

[PIR editor’s note: Chauvel also says that the United Nations "played a very substantial part" in Indonesia’s move to control West Papua, "so in Papuan eyes to take the issue back to the UN is a logical consequence of their understanding of that history of how Papua became part of Indonesia."]

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