Indonesia

The Indonesian government hosted the fifth Our Ocean Conference in Bali on October 29 and 30. It was the latest in a string of oceans-focused summits — with more on the way, such as the The Economist’s World Ocean Summits and the Sustainable Oceans Summits organised by the industry-coalition the World Ocean Council.

Indonesia has repeatedly fire-bombed a highland village in West Papuam, where indigenous Papuans have lived for thousands of years, the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) said in a July 16 statement.

The Killing Season: A History of the Indonesian Massacres, 1965-66

By Geoffrey B Robinson

Princeton University Press, 2018

429 pages

From October 1965 to mid-1966, one of the worst mass killings of the 20th century took place in Indonesia. Anywhere between 500,000 and more than 1 million people associated with the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) were estimated to have been killed and more than 1 million others jailed, some for more than 3 decades, in an anti-leftist purge led by the Indonesian military.

The United Nations has declared May 3 as World Press Freedom Day. But one place where there is still no press freedom is Indonesian-occupied West Papua.

Local journalists are arrested and tortured. Foreign journalists are not allowed in, or strictly monitored. Even international websites supporting West Papuan independence are hacked, and shut down. 

The occupation of West Papua receives little attention in the UK. This is, in no small part, due to Indonesia’s ban on foreign journalists and its outlawing of West Papuan social movements who try to speak out internationally. However, West Papua has not been forgotten by international corporations, including companies from the UK. For them, Indonesia’s brutal occupation of West Papua provides lucrative opportunities for profit.

The report below was compiled by the Free West Papua Campaign on July 8.

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We have received urgent reports from West Papua that between June 30 and July 6, about 150 West Papuan people were arrested, and many of them tortured, by the Indonesian police for peaceful actions in the Papuan province of Nabire.

There is a very sinister, hellish thing behind the tepid concern that rears its head when a country like Haiti suffers a tragedy.

As 800 people died and 90% of parts of southern Haiti were destroyed by Hurricane Matthew earlier this month, leaving whole towns flattened, and people homeless and without basic infrastructure, the trending hashtag was #PrayForFlorida.

Papua New Guinea marked its independence from Australia — achieved in 1975 — on September 16. But West Papua, a province on the same island, continues its struggle for self-determination in one of the world’s least publicised and longest-running independence struggles.

West Papuans won their independence from Dutch colonialism in 1963, but the country was invaded by Indonesia and officially annexed in 1969 after a controversial referendum in which just over 1000 people voted.

Suspected leftists held by the military during the mass killings that followed the Western-backed 1965 Indonesian military coup.

East Timor’s decision to take Australia to the Hague over Australia’s refusal to obey international law — and grant East Timor its legitimate share of oil and gas resources — comes just weeks after a tribunal at the Hague found Australia was complicit in the murders in Indonesia in 1965.

British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn publicly criticised human rights abuses in Indonesian-occupied West Papua and backed Papuan demands for self-determination, in a May 3 meeting at Britain’s House of Commons.

The meeting was a “historic step on the road to freedom for West Papua”, International Parliamentarians for West Papua (IPWP) said. At the meeting, a new declaration was signed calling for an internationally supervised vote on the independence of West Papua.

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