Wednesday, February 13, 2013

For NZ Leaders, New Zealand-Indonesian Trade Relationship more important than Rights of West Papuan Indigenous People

New Zealand's Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully refuses to meet with West Papuan Independence Leader Benny Wenda:

McCully Snubs West Papuan 
Isaac Davison
The New Zealand Herald

Earlier, Indonesia repeated its claim that Benny Wenda is a criminal in order to pressure the New Zealand government not to speak to Wenda.  The fact that Wenda is being blacklisted by the Indonesian government was covered in a UK Guardian article last summer:

Benny Wenda's plight has highlighted the misuse of Interpol
Alex Tinsley
UK Guardian

It is an all too familiar pattern where national leaders choose to value trade relationships over human and indigenous rights.  I can understand the importance of maintaining trade relationships, but it is short sighted to think that the rights of indigenous people are less important to the national self interest than the business interests of a narrowly held set of multinational corporations.  In the case of New Zealand, there are corporations involved in mining, oil and gas in Indonesia.  Protecting the wealth of these corporations are clearly more important to New Zealand's national leaders than the human rights of the West Papuan people.


terryt said...

It's great you're taking up the cause of papuan independence (at least taking it up to some extent). I hope Papua doesn't finish up like East Timor though.

Marnie said...

As you might have guessed, I've become interested in how the political crises and economic circumstances of indigenous people is sometimes being ignored by the population at large and moreover by the anthropologists and population geneticists who study these groups.

These groups do have a lot to tell us about how humans have become distributed across the globe today, but they also have their own personal stories. It seems wrong to be blogging on and on about this population or that when the very survival of some of these groups is at stake.