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Massive Deployment of Indonesian Army Troops to West Papua

September 13, 2015

Massive Deployment of Indonesian Army Troops to West Papua

By Herman Wainggai, former political prisoner, Visiting Scholar, School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, George Mason University, Virginia and a leader in West Papua’s self determination

Posted by jaytee in Human Rights Abuse, politics, West Papua on September 13, 2015 | Edit

To my Professors, friends, colleagues, writers, and journalists from all over the world:

I would like to share with you my concern about my people of West Papua who are being subjected to genocide by The Indonesian military. My people continued to face the military operation in their country of West Papua – their Melanesialand. I cannot say more in these difficult moments, but I hope you will take action and stand in solidarity with my people through whatever means you deem appropriate. I know that writing maybe helpless against Indonesian guns and tanks, and may not prevent the imprisonment of those who are standing up to the repressive and brutal regime of Indonesia, but this is the only thing I can do at this moment.

Indonesian troops

Indonesian troops getting ready for deployment to West Papua

I’m appalled by the latest decision by the Indonesian government to deploy 2,500 Indonesian military troops to our Melanesian West Papua. The number of military troops being deployed all over West Papua in a space of more than five years is estimated to be about 40,000, which I think is unreasonable and highly dangerous. Majority of these troops are stationed near the Papua New Guinea towns of Daru in the South and Vanimo, Sandown province, in the North, and also in the highlands region of West Papua. The Indonesian government is turning my home into a military zone.

Despite the situation in West Papua being made tenser by recent increase in Indonesian troops, nonviolent, human rights and democratic activists in West Papua remained fully committed to their struggle for self-determination through peaceful means. They are firm in their desire and struggle to make Papua a land of peace and not a war-zone. Recently, the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) and various university student organizations, organized peaceful protests across several cities throughout West Papua especially in the main city, Jayapura. BEM UNCEN – The Executive Board of the Cenderawasih University students organization – and other organizations in various different universities, came together to make voices heard, but, again, the military shut them down. These students groups, together with the people of West Papua, urged the governments of Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) members and other UN member states to intervene and mediating a process of self determination for the Melanesian people of West Papua. They is no excuse to ignore the cries of West Papua for freedom!

The West Papuan people strongly condemned the violent behavior of the Indonesian military, and I join them in condemning this irresponsible military buildup and heavy restrictions on peaceful protests. This continues to be an issue throughout West Papua; something I described in my facebook post – “West Papua Today: Under Indonesia military occupation,” which I argued that nonviolent activists of West Papuans (past and present) live in conditions that closely resembled the “Apartheid System” of pre-Mandela South Africa. I can also say that there’s no difference in the massacre of Jews under the NAZI regime and the genocide which occurred in West Papua since its annexation by Indonesia in 1963. There’s no doubt that genocide exists in West Papua. This is a genocide scholars leveled a “slow genocide,” and this massive deployment of Indonesian troops will certainly escalate the tension between locals and soldiers and will certainly contribute to this “slow genocide”. The unprovoked killing of two innocent West Papuans by Indonesian soldiers and the injury of many, and other events in recent past, are a sign that the Indonesian military presence in West Papua is not going to bring peace but tears and heartaches to our people.

I urge the international community and the United Nations to join me in condemning this military buildup in West Papua and the atrocity we are facing today in our lands. The rough handling of peaceful protesters and the incarceration of students and old people are a sign that Indonesian intention in West Papua is a total assault on “freedom of expression,” which is a fundamental right of all free people. Our people are still fighting – peacefully – for their rights, which are guaranteed by international laws.

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