UK CALL TO ACTION: Lobby your MP to join the parliamentary group on West Papua!
June 29, 2017
Following the recent UK general election, we need your help in pressuring the new batch of MPs to take up the West Papuan cause. As parliament is re-forming, we need to restart the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on West Papua, and need cross-party support to make it happen. Here, we lay out what you need to ask your MP to do, and provide a template letter for contacting them.
With Jeremy Corbyn, a long-time supporter of the Papuan struggle, at the head of the Labour Party, there is a massive opportunity to spread awareness about West Papua within the Labour Party. MPs from other parties, including the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives, have supported the Papuans too, and we need their help to restart the APPG.
We need you to get in touch with your local MP, and inform them of the situation in West Papua. It is best to try and organise a face-to-face meeting with your MP, but you can also explain over email. It is useful to send them a copy of the University of Warwick’s ‘Assessment Report’ on West Papua, which you can find here. If you meet with your MP, you can use the report as a basis for briefing them more generally about the situation.
We want to encourage MPs to:
- Join the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on West Papua, which meets a few times a year to discuss developments in West Papua, or to attend the APPG’s meetings without being a member. The APPG will be meeting again following the election this year, and is a crucial forum for building parliamentary awareness and coordination on West Papua.
- Sign the Westminster Declaration, a statement of principles supporting an internationally-supervised vote of self-determination for Papuans, and condemning the Indonesian occupation. Already dozens of parliamentarians have signed it worldwide, including British MPs Andrew Smith, Alan Whitehead and Caroline Lucas, and Lord Harries.
- Raise the issue of West Papua with the UK government, particularly concerning British government training of the brutal Indonesian police unit, Detachment 88, which operates as a counter-insurgency force in West Papua, and the role of BP’s liquefied natural gas project in Papua.
Recent major issues to raise with your MP include:
- The prevalence of mass arrests of non-violent Papuan demonstrators, which hit the thousands in 2016-17.
- Growing international support for the West Papuan struggle, with the Pacific Coalition for West Papua forming and raising the issue at the UN this year. The United Liberation Movement for West Papua has unified the Papuan movement and is making a global diplomatic push.
You can find a template email to send to your local representative here. Please make sure you edit the highlighted sections to suit your own individual case, and feel free to change the text as you see fit. You can find out how to contact your local MP here.
If you want more resources or general assistance in lobbying your MP, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.