West Papua is a former Dutch colony that has been under Indonesian rule since 1963, despite having no previous connection to other islands of Indonesia. In that time, Indonesian forces have committed numerous atrocities against the native Melanesian population, killing an estimated 500,000 people. In accordance with United Nations rulings on decolonization, a referendum should’ve been held in West Papua to determine the wishes of the local people. However, the Indonesian military rulers of the time declared that West Papuans were too primitive to cope with democracy, so they consulted with hand-picked leaders who agreed, under duress, to cede sovereignty to Jakarta.
It is time for the United Nations to pass a resolution on holding an internationally supervised vote on independence, so the people of West Papua can decide their own future.
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