The Norwegian Support Committee for Western Sahara stands in solidarity with the people of West Papua and their struggle for self determination. West Papua, the western half of the island of New Guinea, is a former Dutch colony occupied by Indonesia. It borders the independent state of Papua New Guinea.
Previously a Dutch colony along with the islands that now make up Indonesia, West Papua remained under Dutch control when the Republic of Indonesia became an independent nation state in 1949. The Dutch government began preparing West Papua for independence throughout the 1950s. At the end of 1961, West Papua held a Congress at which its people declared independence, and raised their new flag - the Morning Star.
Within months the dream was crushed: the Indonesian military invaded West Papua and conflict broke out between the Netherlands, Indonesia and the indigenous population regarding control of the country. The US intervened and engineered an agreement between Indonesia and the Netherlands, which in 1962 gave control of West Papua to the United Nations and one year later transferred control to Indonesia. The Papuans were never genuinely consulted in an acceptable way. However, the agreement did promise them their right to self determination - a right which is guaranteed by the UN to all peoples on Earth.
The Norwegian Support Committee for Western Sahara supports the demand for self determination of people of West Papua. The similarities between the occupation of Western Sahara and West Papua are many. They too were a colony in the process of decolonization when they were invaded and occupied by their larger neighbour.
The colonial era is something the international community should have rid itself of during the 20th century. The decolonization of Western Sahara and West Papua is long overdue.
The Norwegian Support Committee of Western Sahara demands that Indonesia ends its occupation of West Papua and lets the people of West Papua hold a referendum in which they decide their own future.
This resolution was adopted by the annual assembly of The Norwegian Support Committee for Western Sahara on 26 March.
Since 1975, three quarters of the territory of Western Sahara has been occupied by Morocco. A majority of the population is still living in refugee camps in Algeria. Those who remained in their homeland are subjected to serious harassment from the Moroccan occupiers. For more than 40 years the Sahrawis have been waiting for the fullfilment of their legitimate right to self-determination.
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