by Mathias Hariyadi
Fr Neles Tebay Pr receives the 2013 Peace Award given by the Korean Tji Haksoon Justice and Peace Foundation for his efforts in favour of dialogue between Indonesian authorities and Papuan separatist groups through the Papuan Peace Network. His dream is to see the parties sit down for real peace talks after decades of tensions and violence.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - In light of his efforts in favour of dialogue between Indonesian authorities and pro-independence Papuan activists, Fr Neles Tebay received the 2013 Peace Award from the Seoul-based Korean Tji Haksoon Justice and Peace Foundation. He has no intention to stop "until real peace talks get underway".
The Indonesian priest, who is based in the Archdiocese of Jayapura (Papua) where he serves as the dean of the Fajar Timur High School of Philosophy and Theology, was recognised for his work in building peaceful channels of communication between the Indonesian government and separatist groups.
Working in cooperation with Protestant clergymen in the Papuan Peace Network (Jaringan Damai Papua or JDP), Fr Tebay, who is also a member of the Papuan Interfaith Forum for Religious Leaders, has nurtured hope for peace in the province.
He has done so by listening to the demands of pro-independence groups and building bridges with the central government, work that is crucial to prevent violence and a region-wide conflict in the resource-rich province.
Speaking to AsiaNews on the eve of his departure for Seoul for the award ceremony, Fr Tebay (pictured) said he would pursue his action until the dream of peace talks is realised.
"Tensions have persisted in the region for at least 50 years," he said with civilians paying the price. Still he is especially happy that his work is appreciated by international organisations as well as local groups.
In 2001, Indonesia granted Papua a high degree of autonomy. However, devolution has never been implemented and indigenous peoples continue to complain about unfair treatment.
Since Indonesia officially annexed in 1969 under strongman Sukarno (1967-1998) by taking advantage of temporary UN rules, the province has had to endure the invasion of foreign and Indonesian companies, sparking the rise of a separatist movement.
The current name of the province came into use in 2002 under then President Abdurrahman Wahid.


Andrew said…
What is meant by “officially annexed” ? Indonesia can also annex America, the Philippines or any territory, but there is no law or right to do so.

The dirty secret is that West Papua is a trust territory. In 1962 the UN sent a military occupation force to West Papua under General Assembly resolution 1752 (XVII), a use of force which the General Assembly is allowed under article 85 and Chapter XII of the UN Charter. At that instant the entire UN including our governments become responsible for the legal duties of articles 76, 87, and 88 of the UN Charter, duties which we still have not undertaken.

A colony is normally external to the United Nations which is why the Security Council can not normally use its powers to help those colonies. But once the UN decides to occupy a territory, that colony remains a UN responsibility a “trust territory” until it becomes free which the UN can only acknowledge when the territory becomes a member of the United Nations. That is why article 78 of the UN Charter is the only means for Trusteeship to end.

West Papua of course has the world’s largest gold mine and US businessmen, in paraticular Freeport director Robert Lovett wanted a cheap mining license for the gold and other mineral wealth of Papua. That is when Lovett’s friend McGeorge Bundy began to tell President Kennedy that the US had to ensure Indonesia got possession of the colony.

But Bundy lied when he told Kennedy that Indonesian occupation was a Cold War sacrifice the US had to make of West Papua; as evidence by fact that Moscow supported the deal. The UN lied when it told the newspapers that the 1962 agreement for for benefit of world peace; as evidence by fact of the killings and suffering of West Papua for fifty years. And the newspapers lied in 1969 when they alleged the UN granted Indonesia sovereignty of Papua; as evidence by the on-going rallies rising the Morning Star flag and demanding the UN return to West Papua.

Legally there is no authority to trade humans and their nation, but the United Nations can invite any UN member to administrate a trust territory colony and the Indonesian military wanted to be in West Papua. But Sukarno and the US businessmen did not want the UN to exercise articles 76, 87, and 88 of the Charter so the 1962 agreement does not use the word “trusteeship” and the newspapers were never told that the UN and Indonesian occupation were being exercised under Chapter XII of the UN Charter.

After the death of Dag Hammarskjold the new UN Secretary General U Thant hosted the negotiations over wording of the 1962 agreement and before he left office the UN members tried to distance themselves from the trusteeship in General Assembly resolution 2504 (XXIV). We can not undo the deaths and fifty years of wrong, but we can call on the UN to undertake its legal duty under the Charter protect the rights of West Papua.

I hope NGOs and governments will do the right thing and ask, is West Papua a trust territory ? Only the International Court of Justice (ICJ) can declare it as a legal fact or not, but the truth is obvious and the lives of our brothers and sisters in West Papua depend on the UN remembering its trusteeship duty.

Please see