West Papua

A number of Wikileaks revelations have shown that US officials, despite their public stance, have been well aware of corruption and human rights abuses of regimes it has supported. In some cases, the US funded these regimes and trained their military.

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Indonesia

A leaked September 2009 US cable indicates that US officials are aware that in West Papua, the Indonesian military (TNI) are responsible for serious human rights abuses and corruption.

Maire Leadbeater is a spokesperson for the Indonesia Human Rights Committee (Auckland). She recently returned from West Papua, a nation that has faced repression since its occupation by Indonesia in 1963. She spoke to Green Left Weekly's Ash Pemberton.

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Can you give your impressions of West Papuan society under Indonesian occupation?

Leaked military documents have confirmed that Indonesia’s elite special forces unit Kopassus routinely engages in “murder [and] abduction”. The documents also show Kopassus officially defines civilian dissidents as its “enemy” in its operations in West Papua.

The documents, posted by journalist Allan Nairn at Allannairn.com on November 9, identify Indonesia’s primary enemies in West Papua as unarmed civilians involved in the independence movement.

Videos showing the torture of West Papuans by occupying Indonesian soldiers have embarrassed the Indonesian government ahead of a scheduled visit in November by US President Barack Obama.

Obama is due to discuss a security deal that would involve the US training Indonesian military units accused of human rights violations.

A video posted at FreeWestPapua.wordpress.com shows two Papuans from Gurage village being tied down and interrogated by Indonesian soldiers about the alleged location of weapons belonging to the Free Papua Movement (OPM).

West Papuan leaders have rejected the possibility of talks with the Indonesian government until it acknowledges human rights abuses and ensures economic development, the October 5 Jakarta Globe said.

Indonesia has claimed West Papua as its territory since a fraudulent vote by handpicked Papuans in 1969. It continues to deny Papuans the right to self-determination, repressing expressions of support for Papuan independence.

Herman Awom of the Papuan People’s Council told the Globe: “We don’t want to talk to Jakarta because Jakarta never wants to talk to us.

Fresh claims have emerged that an Indonesian “counter-terrorism” unit that receives Australian funding and training has perpetrated human rights abuses against independence campaigners in Maluku and West Papua.

West Papuan independence leaders have threatened a "total intifada" (uprising) against Indonesian occupying forces, following the failure of the August 4-5 Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) to discuss West Papua's demands for independence, the Sydney Morning Herald said on August 7.

A unprecedented mass demonstration took place on July 8 in Jayapura, the capital of Indonesian-occupied West Papua, Straighttimes.com said that day.

Thousands of people joined a long march, walking 17 kilometres from the Papua People’s Assembly (MRP) to the Papuan Provincial Legislature (DPRP) to reject the “special autonomy” granted by Indonesia in 2001. Protesters demanded a referendum on West Papuan independence and an internationally-mediated dialogue with Jakarta.

Indonesian military forces have stepped up their campaign of repression in West Papua in recent months. But leaders of the Free Papua Movement (OPM) continue to defy Indonesian demands to surrender.

The campaign for West Papuan independence has been amplified by the continuing repression and lack of improvement of living standards under the current “special autonomy” system.

An eyewitness report from West Papua Media Announcements (WPMA) posted on Pacific.scoop.co.nz on June 16 described a large military mobilisation in the mountainous Puncak Jaya region in central West Papua.

Below is an open letter from Herman Wainggai of the Australia West Papua Association (AWPA) to Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

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