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Bob Carr warns Australians

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This week Senator Bob Carr has issued a warning to Australians and appears to have rebuked the Australian Greens for having a policy based on law, a cause de jour.

I myself have repeatedly raised one question of law with Bob Carr that under international law West Papua is not an Indonesian Province but is an international or United Nations trust territory that Indonesia has been administrating on behalf the rest of the UN since 1963. I have also published this argument at

I apologise to fellow Australians and to the Australian Greens for the dictate or warning that has been issued in parliament by Senator Carr, I feel partially responsible for any emotional or mental anguish the Senator may be responding to regarding the sovereignty question of law.

It was not my aim to make Mr Carr's portfolio any more difficult. I was merely pointing out as I thought Australian citizens were entitled to do, that the Australian government appears to be in breach of Commonwealth law the 1945 "Charter of the United Nations Act" regarding a decision Australia supported at the General Assembly to make West Papua subject to an agreement for United Nations administration.

The question of law is whether Australia and the rest of the UN became legally bound to protecting human rights of West Papua under article 76 of the Charter when the UN collectively chose to approve UN administration as the General Assembly is permitted to do by article 85 of the Charter. In short, is West Papua a colony that Australia as a Security Council member has a legal duty to protect by reminding the United Nations of the legal consequences of General Assembly resolution 1752 (XVII)?

The duties of the UN towards a trust territory are quite simple--to respect the human rights including self-determination of the colony, to consider petitions regarding the territory, and to formulate questionnaires about conditions inside the colony. There is no war or blazing of guns involved, just UN acceptance that it should monitor conditions in a trust territory and ask the administration power to allow self-determination.

There is no doubt that DFAT since the installment of the Australia Indonesia Institute in 1989 has done an excellent job of promoting Indonesian interests and concerns here in Australia. What the Australian public has yet to see is convincing evidence that promotion of those interests has been in Australia's best interests.

Bob Carr's performance in parliament this week was interesting and deserves distribution. The below two statements are adapted from an uncorrected proof-of-evidence taken before the Senate estimates committee;

[Senator Bob Carr:] I underline, as I did in the Senate in answering a question from you, Senator, in the last sitting week, that we have long recognised the territorial integrity of Indonesia, including its sovereignty over the Papuan provinces.

[Senator Bob Carr:] I issue a warning to those Australians--

Senator MADIGAN: Minister, I have not mentioned nothing about the territorial integrity of Indonesia in this question.

Senator Bob Carr: I accept that.

Senator MADIGAN: So it has nothing to do with the question I have asked you.

Senator Bob Carr: I accept that, but I just want to issue a warning to those Australians who play the dangerous game of giving encouragement to secessionists in the two Papuan provinces. The Australians who talk up secessionism go home to their beds safely at night, but they potentially encourage people in Papua to go out and take risks, and to take risks with the law if they are drawn into illegal activity. The Australians who wave the flag of Papuan secessionism sleep safely in their beds, but when they fly the flag outside council chambers or make reckless statements and hold out the possibility of an independent Papua, they are inviting Papuans to take risks with the law through flirtation with an insurgency. That is the behaviour of smug people secure in Australia with no thought for the consequences of their actions on foreign soil. I am not suggesting that Senator Madigan is anyone who deserves that description.

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Senator DI NATALE: I want to follow up the questioning from Senator Madigan. I find it deeply offensive that somebody who is, as Senator Madigan is, concerned about the human-rights abuses being perpetrated in the region--a region where there are mass killings, where people's right to protest peacefully is being suppressed--is somehow regarded as endangering the safety of the West Papuan community. It is a very deeply offensive inference to describe as smug our advocacy for people whose basic human rights are being deprived.

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As an Australian with an interest in West Papua I became involved with human rights advocacy and a decade or two volunteer research into West Papua's history and circumstance. During this time I had to learn about several US corporations and their (more...)
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