West Papua

Indonesian police routinely torture, rape and kill with impunity in West Papua and risk fanning separatism there, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a report released on July 5.

Hundreds of Papuans rallied on June 8 during a one-day visit by Hina Jilani, the UN secretary general’s special representative on human rights defenders. In Jayapura, capital of Papua province, protesters welcomed Jilani while others called on her to “stop the genocide of the Papuans” and “stop the killing in West Papua”. In Manokwari, capital of the province of West Papua, protesters called on the UN to pressure Jakarta to overturn the 1969 referendum that resulted in the territory’s incorporation into Indonesia.

Merdeka: Artists from around the world unit in support of the independence movement in West Papua

Dancing Turtle Records, 2007

Only available from <http://www.dancingturtle.co.uk>

February 23 marked the deadline for submissions to the federal parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCT) on the new Australia-Indonesia “security” pact. If there is any uncertainty about the hypocrisy that underlies Australia’s neo-colonial foreign policy, then this treaty — a “mending the fences” exercise after the federal government granted asylum to 43 pro-independence West Papuan refugees in 2006, and, before that, Canberra’s reluctant 1999 intervention in East Timor — should end it.

A January 19 press statement by the Pacific Concerns Resource Centre condemned Indonesian military operations in the Central Highlands (Puncak Jaya) region, which have forced thousands of locals to flee to the bush. The operation follows the killing of two military personnel near Mulia in December, which the military has blamed on the Free Papua Movement (OPM). The PCRC’s Rex Rumakiek said that “the response is again no different from operations in previous years. Instead of the police working with tribal leaders, churches and NGOs to find those responsible, a full military operation is the Indonesian army’s choice of action.” Rumakiek called on the Australian government to send a fact finding mission to West Papua before finalising its bilateral treaty with Indonesia. “Any treaty including the exchange and acceptance of aid in any form with Indonesia at the present time is shameful and must be condemned outright.”

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