A new Amnesty International report sheds light on the abuses and murder of West Papuans by the Indonesian police and military. The report documented 69 cases of extrajudicial killing between 2010 and 2018, in which 95 people were murdered.
The cases in the Amnesty report range from military personnel disrupting social events and killing attendees to the targeting of striking workers and pro-independence activists.
The majority of murders have not been investigated, the culprits either getting away with a slap on the wrist or avoiding punishment altogether. In 82 percent of cases documented in the report, no-one has been held accountable.
West Papuans have struggled for self-determination for more than 50 years. They have faced extraordinary violence from the Indonesian state, which suppresses West Papuan national and cultural rights to entrench and maintain Indonesian nationalism.
Sydney University researchers John Wing and Peter King estimate that at least 100,000 have been killed in the last half century.
The 2015 Indonesian Defence White Paper claimed that “separatism both advocated through armed or political movement” is one of main threats to the country’s sovereignty. So displays of national symbols, including the Morning Star flag, are illegal. Many killings that take place in West Papua result from police and the army firing directly at people participating in flag raising ceremonies or prayer ceremonies.
West Papua is rich in minerals and other natural resources such as timber and natural gas. The Indonesian state ensures that maximum profits flow out of West Papua into the pockets of the few at the top.
In no case is this clearer than with the murder of Petrus Ayamiseba and Leo Wandagau in 2011, documented in the Amnesty report. Ayamiseba and Wandagau were employed by the biggest copper and gold mining company in the country. They were shot and killed by Indonesian police during a protest of hundreds of striking workers demanding better wages.