5 Mar 2012

Academic says UN move helps profile of West Papua

8:16 pm on 5 March 2012

An academic says the bid to register an independent West Papua at the United Nations 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."

Richard Chauvel