The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for West Papua held its Annual General Meeting on March 16th, the first time the group had been able to meet in person since the beginning of the Covid pandemic. The meeting was well-attended, and was Chaired by Alex Sobel, MP for Leeds North West. Sobel shared an update on the work of the International Parliamentarians for West Papua and its progress, including the EU’s recent call for a UN visit to West Papua.
Also speaking was Benny Wenda, Interim President of United Liberation Movement for West Papua Provisional Government. Wenda provided an overview of recent developments in West Papua, including the ongoing humanitarian crisis and the large number of displaced people resulting from intensified military operations. He also drew the group’s attention to the recent UN experts’ statement, which ‘shocking abuses’ against indigenous Papuans by Indonesian troops, including torture, extrajudicial killing, including of young children, and the forced displacement of 5000 Papuans.
Tim Hansen represented the International Lawyers for West Papua at the meeting, who again outlined the status of West Papua as an illegally occupied territory according to international law. He also offered suggestions to the group on ways they could productively engage with the multiple human rights crises currently occurring in West Papua.
The meeting was also joined by Roy Lee, Director of Solon Law, who provided a briefing outlining the significance of West Papua’s groundbreaking Green State Vision for tackling the climate emergency.
The vision was developed by indigenous West Papuan leaders, grassroots gatherings inside Papua, and consultation with international lawyers. It contains world-leading proposals including revoking resource-extraction permits, centering on indigenous land management practices, and opening up New Guinea for climate refugees fleeing rising seas in the Pacific.
The Group also released its list of officers, which was registered as follows:
- Chair & Registered Contact: Alex Sobel (Labour)
- Treasurer: Anneliese Dodds (Labour)
- Vice Chair: Jeremy Corbyn (Independent)
- Vice Chair: Lord Lexden (Conservative)
- Vice Chair: Lord Harries of Pentregarth (Crossbench)
- Vice Chair: John Howell (Conservative)
- Vice Chair: Dr Alan Whitehead (Labour)
- Vice Chair: Lloyd Russell-Moyle (Labour)
- Vice Chair: Caroline Lucas (Green Party)
- Vice Chair: Chris Law (Scottish National Party)
- Vice Chair: Patrick Grady (Scottish National Party)