A global petition calling on the United Nations to put West Papua back on its decolonisation list has been launched in Britain.
The petition is open to people all around the World up until August, when a team of British swimmers plan to swim it 69 kilometres across Lake Geneva to present it to UN Secretary General António Guterres.
A spokesman for the United Liberation Movement for West Papua, Benny Wenda, said the swim would highlight the West Papuan struggle as a humanitarian issue rather than just a Pacific or a Melanesian one.
Along with the Swim for West Papua event, the petition was launched this week by the Free West Papua Campaign.
It calls on the UN to appoint a special representative to investigate the human rights situation in West Papua and for an internationally supervised vote on self determination.
Free West Papua said the aim of the petition was to demonstrate the growing international support for West Papuans to have the opportunity to decide their own future.
It said this would also build on growing diplomatic backing for a supervised vote.
Such a vote was described as being in accordance with UN General Assembly Resolutions 1514 and 1541 [XV].
While Jakarta said human rights problems in Papua are largely confined to the past, indigenous Melanesians of this region have claim there was a slow motion genocide being perpetrated in their homeland by Indonesia.
Meanwhile, Lord Harries of Pentregarth, co-founder of the International Parliamentarians for West Papua, shared a message of support from Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu which decried the lack of international media attention on West Papua.
He also commended the Swim Team and called for solidarity with the West Papuan people saying ‘we may live in different regions of the world, but we are one family’.
Lord Harries then declared the petition open for signing.