Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Timor and West Papua - September 2014 West Papua Report

West Papua Report September 2014 


This month's PERSPECTIVE is by ETAN's John M. Miller. It looks at differences and similarities in the historical experience of Timor-Leste (East Timor) and West Papua.

French journalists Valentine Bourrat and Thomas Dandois
currently under arrest in West Papua. Photo: AFP
UPDATE examines the potential impact a Joko Widodo administration may have on West Papua, noting high expectations for a new focus on the "neglected region." Two French journalists have been detained by security authorities in West Papua; this action may be intended to challenge President-elect Widodo who has spoken of his intention to open West Papua to international media scrutiny. "Development" plans in the Bintuni Bay area appear to be ignoring the voices and interests of local Papuans. Security forces have detained and beaten two Papuans in Manokwari. Widodo plans to establish a human rights court are encouraging, but it is not clear whether the court will address the extraordinary abuses of the 1965-66 period or the systematic abuse of human rights in West Papua extending back even further.

CHRONICLE highlights appeals to President-elect Widodo by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch regarding the need to make human rights a priority. Both appeals include a focus on West Papua. A comment by Pat Walsh offers the view that the Widodo administration may offer the "best prospect" for progress on the decades-old "Papua problem."

Tangguh LNG plant at Bintuni Bay, West Papua. Photo: Tempo.

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