West Papua activists and independence advocates are demanding justice for the killing of young civilians by the Indonesian police last month.
On December 8, 2014, Indonesian security forces allegedly opened fire on about 800 peaceful demonstrators, including women and children in Paniai district. The protest was in reaction to a report that police beat several Papua children the previous night. Five protesters were killed and at least 17 others were injured, according to a report from Human Rights Watch, which explained that human rights abuses are not uncommon there:
The December 8 shootings are emblematic of the routine human rights abuses that security forces carry out with impunity in Papua, in the extreme eastern of the Indonesian archipelago. Over the last 15 years, Human Rights Watch has documented hundreds of cases in which police, military, intelligence officers, and prison guards have used unnecessary or excessive force when dealing with Papuans taking part in protests. While a handful of military tribunals have been held in Papua for security force personnel implicated in abuses, the charges have been inadequate and soldiers who committed abuses continue to serve.
The annexation of West Papua, a mineral-rich and ancient Melanesia country, by Indonesia's military regime in the 1960s has caused displacement, hardship and death for the indigenous population. Yet despite the blatant human rights abuses and institutionalized distilling of the local culture, the colonizing forces have failed to dampen the spirit of self-determination and independence among the people.
Benny Wenda, who is a West Papuan independence leader and living in exile in the United Kingdom, condemned the killing of civilians:
“We are blamed for violence we did not create and persecuted for expressing our desires to be free.”… http://t.co/NmDn4AaUXp
— Benny Wenda (@BennyWenda) January 9, 2015
On his website, Wenda accused the Indonesian armed forces of committing brutality in Timika, West Papua:
I am appalled that such police barbarism can go ahead unnoticed against innocent and defenseless people, especially at such close proximity to the world’s largest goldmine, Indonesia’s biggest taxpayer.
On Twitter, several commented about the suffering of West Papua residents:
If you have ever lost a love one spare a though for the people of West Papua suffering murder rape and torture almost daily inhuman TNI
— Anthony Craig (@justicehealth) February 3, 2015
So is no one going to talk about West Papua? #Genocide — Amen Oyiboke (@Amen2dat) February 2, 2015
#WestPapua It is not war, it is not a conflict, it is an #OCCUPATION, and it is one that receives all around international consent.
— non quis sed quid (@PurePapua) February 2, 2015
#WestPapua situation did not improve in 2014 – human rights abuse continued. Business as usual under Jokowi http://t.co/JO9D0L3u96
— Jen Robinson (@suigenerisjen) January 19, 2015
The Indonesian government has vowed to investigate the killings. A human rights probe will also release a report in relation to the incident.
The World stands condemned for ignoring the plight of the Papua/West Papua people.
During the entire time of the SBY Presidency no action was taken to halt this genocide and brutal torturing treatment of these people by Indonesia’s TNI Military Forces and its Police Forces.
Let you not forget the false claiming American Mining Giant Freeport McMoran, (one of the World’s major polluters) is a supporter of this outrageous oppression against these people.
Nothing will change unless Freeport McMoran’s Giant Grasburg Gold and Copper-mine is penalized and then nationalized. Help stop the genocide in this territory under Indonesian Military Rule.