Friday, April 6, 2012

West Papua Report April 2012 - repressing dissent, oppose U.S. copter sale, soldiers not services

Read the April 2012 West Papua Report here 

An Indonesian court has sentenced five senior Papuans to three years imprisonment following their conviction on "treason" charges. They fell victim to the same undemocratic law employed against more than 90 Papuans and Malukans for their peaceful dissent in recent years. The five were charged for their central role in the October 16-19, 2011 "Third Papuan National Congress," a peaceful assertion of Papuans' right to self-determination that came under brutal assault by Indonesian security forces. In a statement, WPAT calls for an end to that law which was developed during Dutch colonial times, was employed by the dictator Suharto, and now has no place in a democratic Indonesia. 

Banners at protest in Jayapura. West Papua Media
Thousands of Papuans took to the streets in West Papua and elsewhere on the occasion of the visit to Indonesia of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. The largely peaceful demonstrations called for a special referendum to at last allow Papuans a genuine act of self-determination. 

More than 90 international organizations have called on the U.S. Congress to block sale of Apache helicopters. They would significantly expand the capacity of Indonesian security forces to conduct "sweep operations" that have devastated rural Papuan villagers. 

A recent book and a commentary by a Papuan legislator have underscored the Indonesian governments persistent failure to bring essential services to rural Papuans. WPAT observes that for many rural Papuans the face of the Indonesian government is not that of a teacher, doctor or nurse but rather, that of a solider, policeman or intelligence agent.
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