Parliament of Uganda has pledged to support West Papua, a province of Indonesia fighting for independence to realise its dream.
This is after its leader petitioned parliament and presented heartrending accounts of sufferings under the rule of the island nation.
In a petition presented to the Parliament deputy speaker Jacob Oulanya on Friday, Jacob Rumbiak, the executive director of United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) said they want Uganda to influence other countries in the region to support their bid for independence at the United Nations.
He told Saturday Vision that he believes Uganda’s strength at African Union (AU) can galvanize the African vote in New York and help them clinch independence by 2019.
Saturday Vision has learnt that besides Parliament, the group also wants to meet President Yoweri Museveni over their bid.
With a land size of 162, 371 square miles, West Papua is nearly twice the size of Uganda. However, Uganda boasts of a population eighteen times bigger and has better human development indicators than West Papua’s two million people according to online sources.
Rumbiak blames the above on an orchestrated genocide and the brutal rule they have suffered under Indonesia since 1969.
He claimed there is a systemic agenda by Indonesia — a Muslim dominated country — to destroy their way of life, and exterminate the Papuans, a black people of African descent.
West Papua blames the West, particularly US, for turning a blind eye to the violations, which they say is a compromise with Indonesia for mining rights in the resource-rich island.
Saturday Vision has learnt that West Papua is pushing for independence via a United Nations sponsored referendum, the way East Timor did in getting independence from Indonesia in 1999.
Oulanyah said parliament was ready to support the group’s cause using its connections with parliaments in other countries. “We will do whatever our parliament and the nation can to ensure that by the end of June this year, that resolutions is heard and discussed in the UN,” he said.
He added: “Parliament can also identify different legislators to propose the motion, support and debate it in House. We can send the resolutions to other East African Parliaments including the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in Eastern Africa countries.”
Oulanyah advised the group to mobilise the young people but through the diplomatic and international protocols in their country to mount pressure on the existing colonizers.
Rumbiak said his country has the largest Gold and copper deposits in world. “It is one of the reasons we are being colonized,” he said. –