As part of his visit to Aoteaora New Zealand, on 10th May Benny Wenda attended an historic meeting of the International Parliamentarians for West Papua (IPWP). At the New Zealand Parliament (Pāremata Aotearoa) in Wellington, the IPWP launched the Westminster Declaration for an Internationally Supervised Vote in West Papua. The declaration was then signed by Aotearoa New Zealand parliamentarians.
This declaration, first launched in the United Kingdom parliament at Westminster provides the political catalyst in affirming West Papua’s legal right to self-determination. The declaration reads:
We the undersigned Members of Parliament:
Declare that continued human rights violations in West Papua are unacceptable.
Warn that without international action the West Papuan people risk extinction.
Reiterate the right of the people of West Papua to genuine self-determination.
Declare the 1969 ‘Act of Free Choice’ to be a gross violation of this principle.
Call for an internationally supervised vote on self-determination in accordance
with UN General Assembly Resolutions 1514 and 1541 (XV).
It is being supported on the ground by the people of West Papua, and internationally at a grassroots level and through increasing numbers of foreign governments. More information about the global movement and petition in support of the Westminster Declaration for West Papuan self-determination can be found here.
The IPWP described the Wellington launch of the declaration as “another big success and leap forward for IPWP and the case for West Papuan self-determination.” As Spokesperson for the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (IPWP), Benny Wenda is confident at the launching of this historic declaration in West Papua’s neighbour and fellow Pacific country of Aotearoa New Zealand. In 2013, Benny Wenda was barred by the New Zealand Speaker of the House from addressing parliament, reportedly due to concerns of upsetting the Indonesian government.Benny Wenda now being able to speak there freely is evidence of the growing acceptance of the legitimacy of the West Papuan cause and the West Papuan people’s fundamental right to self-determination.
Benny Wenda is very grateful at the incredible support he and his people have received from the people of Aotearoa New Zealand as part of his latest visit and he encourages everyone to continue to support West Papua and the Global Petition in support of the Westminster Declaration. Through meeting with Maori and Pasifika leaders, parliamentarians, students and many other people at civil and grassroots levels, Benny Wenda is encouraged at the growing solidarity between the people of Aotearoa New Zealand and their neighbours in West Papua. New Zealand’s support for West Papuan self-determination is now more crucial than ever as the people of West Papua continue to endure a brutal genocide and the illegal occupation of their country. It is their firm hope and conviction that the people of Aotearoa New Zealand will not let them down but will join the growing number of Pacific nations supporting West Papua and the West Papuan people’s fundamental right to self-determination.
More photos and information about Benny Wenda’s visit to Aoteaora New Zealand will soon be available.