London, New York, 11 April 2019
TAPOL and the East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN) are calling attention to an application for judicial review of the “Act of Free Choice” by the Indonesian Constitutional Court. Recently filed by human rights lawyers on behalf of West Papua customary leaders and churches, the submission states that the highly contested self-determination “referendum” held in 1969 must be deemed contrary to the rights granted under Indonesian constitution, including the rights to freedom of thought and conscience, right to life, right to feel safe, and the right not to be tortured.
This strategic litigation reminds the international community about the root cause of the long-running conflict in West Papua. The right to self-determination is an erga omnes norm which means that every State has the obligation to ensure that everyone’s right to self-determination is fulfilled.
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This 50 years of injustice has cost the loss of hundreds of thousands of indigenous West Papuan lives. West Papuans today still suffer persecution for expressing their rights to self-determination. We encourage the Indonesian government to accept the submission and to acknowledge that the vote staged in 1969 was contrary to rights granted under the Indonesian Constitution.
TAPOL and ETAN believe that the right to self-determination is fundamental and that the people of West Papua have not had the freedom to exercise that right.
TAPOL and ETAN each work to promote human rights, justice and democracy in Indonesia and Timor-Leste. We join West Papuans in calling for an internationally-supervised referendum conducted according to international standards.