The Truth has Died in West Papua

A number of reports from Andreas Harsono, Indonesian Human Rights Watch researcher, are very often recording human rights violations in Papua. From state violence against civilians through burning villages and evictions, from silencing peaceful political action to political imprisonment, from sporadic shootings to Papuan youth to restrictions on press freedom, and so on. Even the topic of Papua has always been the point of discussion in every annual Human Rights Watch report on the condition of human rights issues in Indonesia. Human Rights Watch report on the restrictions on the free press in Papua about West Papua news concluded that journalists in Papua, especially those with ethnic Papuans, faced “serious obstacles” when touching sensitive issues. “Covering corruption and land grabbing can be dangerous anywhere in Indonesia, but the national and local journalists we interviewed say the danger is strengthening in Papua. Journalists in Papua experience interference, intimidation and violence at any time from officials, community members, and pro-independence forces, “the report wrote.

Harsono said the situation in Tembagapura, the location of the PT Freeport Indonesia gold mine, as well as blurry information related to Papua, originated from the surrender of the easternmost territorial authority to Indonesia in 1963. In 1969, Papua was officially within Indonesian territory after a poll was held. Violence follows political and economic efforts on the Papua region. Since 1961 when Papuans sought to build legitimacy and autonomy for their independence, Indonesia carried out military operations to erode the demands of the Papuan people and it creates West Papua conflict. This operation was built in three stages: infiltration, open attack and consolidation.

The Free    West Papua Organization, a guerrilla group that has been scattered and has minimal strength until now, was formed to demand independence of the West Papuan Nation. In 1967, Freeport received a mining contract signature with Indonesia. In the 1970s, the OPM was formed in Timika, together with mine operations, one of the largest tax contributors to the Indonesian government. During 1963 until now, there were many civilians killed and displaced. Some of the Papuan leaders who were killed included the Mambesak group musician and anthropologist Arnold Ap in the early 1980s, as well as Papua Council Presidium Chair Theys Eluay in 2001.

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