Mr. Raki Ap, a spokesperson of the Free West Papua Campaign representing more than 1 million Indigenous West Papuans, has been appointed to the Security Commission of the Congress of Nations and States (CNS).
Mr. Ap’s last position was that of Sergeant of Operations at the Netherlands Ministry of Defence, where he assisted the top military staff with command and control support during crucial decision making processes. In 2020, Mr. Ap was a parliamentary candidate who ran for the Greenleft Party in The Netherlands where his campaign focused on Indigenous Peoples Rights and climate solutions.
Along with other Security Commissioners, Mr. Ap’s subject matter encompasses the safety and peaceful political and territorial space of nations and states, with particular consideration of threats to self-government and autonomy, natural disasters, environmental degradation, changing climate, pandemics, all forms of violence, food security, energy security, security from nuclear weapons and nuclear waste, and digital and intellectual property security.
When asked why he is interested in joining the CNS, Mr. Ap said, ‘’there is a dangerous silence about the situation in West Papua, and as a spokesperson for our campaign, I am trying to break through that.’’
‘’The established states in the current international mechanism have not been able to guarantee, protect and fight for the rights of Indigenous people, who are often left out during large conferences, (climate) treaties, etc. All over the world, areas of Indigenous peoples are seized, chased, intimidated and murdered. We clearly need new alternatives, and there aren’t that many, which is why I support this CNS initiative.’’
Of all the major Security Commission’s topics – environmental security, human security, traditional security and arms control and disarmament measure, energy security – Mr. Ap said, ‘’human security is definitely my priority and interest. According to the UN scientists, 5% of the world’s population consists of Indigenous peoples, and their way of life has contributed to the safeguarding of more than 80% of the world’s biodiversity. We can draw the conclusion that the most effective and just climate solution is to protect the lives and rights of Indigenous peoples.”
As the Security Commission held its first mandate session, Mr. Ap shared his impressions of the Congress and its purpose: ‘’I hope that we can share experiences and together create a hopeful new alternative that will appeal to more peoples, nations and states. When we look at the state of our planet, forests, seas, biodiversity and humanity, the answer is very clear: the current international mechanism has not worked enough and, given the UN scientists give us 9 years to prevent global warming, we must try everything we can to bring humanity to its senses. I think Native stories and traditions can give that hope and perspective.’’
The six CNS Specialized Commissions – Economic, Environmental, Culture and Society, Political, Security and Justice – are drafting Protocol Resolutions from February, 2021 to July, 2022, while the Congress is expected to convene in September 2022.
About the Congress of Nations and States (CNS): The Center for World Indigenous Studies (CWIS), working with Indigenous nations and the world’s states’ governments, began planning and organizing the first-ever Congress of Nations and States in the Summer of 2019. The Congress’s purpose is to serve as a new international institution within which Indigenous nations and international states can engage on an equal basis to achieve shared goals. For further information, see www.cnsint.org.