Lawyer Veronica Koman has received international support for her work exposing Indonesia's human rights abuses in West Papua, writes Susan Price. Now, an international fundraising campaign may have scuttled the Indonesian government's latest attempt to disrupt her work.
Indonesian occupation of West Papua
August marked one year since the racist attacks on West Papuan students in Surabaya sparked a new uprising. Green Left spoke to Indonesian human rights lawyer Veronica Koman about the escalating conflict in West Papua and prospects for independence.
A selectively edited and captioned video clip of a recent West Papua solidarity protest outside the Indonesian consulate in Sydney has been circulating on Twitter. It purports to show that the protesters were paid $50 each to attend the protest and agreed to burn the West Papuan Morning Star flag for $100, but only off camera.
Surya Anta Ginting, the national spokesperson for the pro-independence Indonesian People's Front for West Papua — who along with five other Papuan activists is being held in Jakarta's notorious Salemba prison awaiting trial on treason charges — is reportedly seriously ill.
Anta's wife Lucia Fransisca told reporters that she visited him on November 29 and found that he and the other five Papuan detainees were ill and were not receiving proper medical treatment.
West Papuans and their supporters around the world traditionally raise the Morning Star flag — the symbol of an independent Papua — on December 1. This is an act of defiance, as flying the flag is outlawed by the occupying Indonesian government.
New Zealand-based West Papua solidarity activist and author Maire Leadbeater looks the new uprising in West Papua and the repression being carried out by Indonesian security forces while governments, including NZ’s, remain silent.
The recent uprising in West Papua was sparked by racist attacks on Papuan students in the Indonesian city of Surabaya. However, the West Papuan people have been struggling for more than 60 years against Indonesian occupation, human rights violations and for the right to self determination.
Indonesian occupation has led to human rights abuses, disappearances, kidnappings, extrajudicial killings, forced displacement and the death of an estimated 500,000 Papuans.
The decades-long struggle of the West Papuan people for self-determination has intensified in recent months — and Australia’s role in aiding and abetting the Indonesian occupation is once again being brought under international scrutiny.
Indonesian People’s Front for West Papua (FRI-West Papua) spokesperson, Surya Anta was arrested in Jakarta on August 31 and accused of “subversive” acts in relation to his advocacy for West Papua.
On August 17, Indonesian Independence Day, armed Indonesian police, soldiers and radical Islamic militia stormed a student dormitory in the Indonesian city of Surabaya (on the island of Java), which housed West Papuan students, arresting 43.
In response to the crackdown on activists and protesters in West Papua, which has followed this attack, regional left organisations have issued the following joint statement.
On August 17, Indonesian Independence Day, armed Indonesian police, soldiers and radical Islamic militia stormed a student dormitory in the Indonesian city of Surabaya (on the island of Java), which housed West Papuan students, arresting 43. The attack reportedly took place because the students had allegedly refused to raise the Indonesian flag.