Keith Hyams, Professor in Interdisciplinary Ethics & Political Theory, University of Warwick
FLJS Policy Brief calls on UK to end political and constitutional conflict in West Papua
The Foundation for Law, Justice and Society is pleased to announce the publication of a Policy Brief in conjunction with the University of Warwick Politics of Papua Project, which presents 14 recommendations for the United Kingdom to help bring an end to the political and constitutional conflict in the West Papua Region of Indonesia.
Since West Papua was incorporated into Indonesia in 1969, it has been de facto controlled by the Indonesian military, and Papuans have been subject to a number of human rights violations, including arrests for peaceful protests against Indonesian rule. Government restrictions have been imposed on access to West Papua by the foreign media, international observers, and NGOs, and a number of political prisoners remain behind bars.
The policy brief, entitled Political and Constitutional Conflict in the West Papua Region of Indonesia: Overview and Recommendations for the UK and the International Community, calls on the UK government to leverage its strong economic and political ties with Indonesia to play a more active role in the solution of the conflict in West Papua. Among a number of recommendations made by the authors, the policy brief calls for:
- the release of all political prisoners in West Papua;
- free access of media, NGOs, foreign academics, and foreign observers in West Papua;
- an end to all UK military training and equipment to Indonesian military and police forces until reliable mechanisms are put in place to verify their adherence to human rights standards; and
- measures to encourage key Indonesian political and economic actors to engage in an open discussion to peacefully resolve the situation in West Papua.
The policy brief is drawn from a full-length report published by the University of Warwick Politics of Papua Project, which was presented in Parliament earlier this year and endorsed by Jeremy Corbyn.
Associate Professor Keith Hyams, who leads the Politics of Papua Project, said, ‘We are delighted that the Oxford Foundation for Law, Justice and Society is releasing this summary of our work on the politics of West Papua. Our original report, which was released in the House of Commons in May 2016, has now been downloaded over 20,000 times and has been endorsed by a number of prominent politicians, including Jeremy Corbyn, who committed to make the issues raised in the report “central to the [Labour] party’s policies in the future”.
This new summary by FLJS will allow these crucial issues to reach an even wider audience and help to ensure that the ongoing conflict and human rights abuses in West Papua receive the attention of policymakers that they so urgently require.’
The FLJS policy brief provides a summary of the 14 key recommendations and highlights the unique position of the United Kingdom to take effective leadership to resolve the conflict in West Papua. Britain provides training and delivery of military equipment to Indonesian forces, including units deployed in West Papua. The UK has also granted asylum to Benny Wenda, current spokesperson for the United Liberation Movement for West Papua.
The policy brief is published by the Foundation for Law, Justice and Society, an institution affiliated with the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies and Wolfson College at the University of Oxford, as part of its mission to bridge the gap between academia and policymaking and to promote an understanding of the role of law in society.