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.
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What would you do with $1.5 million? You could put down deposits on ten median-priced Sydney houses, or you could buy one outright and spare yourself the crushing mortgage repayments.
The level of suffering in Gaza is more than the human mind can comprehend. As the war enters its twentieth week, it feels increasingly obscene to be going about daily life while an entire people are being systematically destroyed, their lives, histories and culture blown to pieces or buried under rubble.
The Banyule Palestine Action Group has collected more than 600 signatures on a petition calling on Banyule City Council, in Melbourne’s north-east, to pass a motion supporting an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, in line with motions passed in other councils across Australia.
Asked how she stays hopeful as a 63-year-old socialist and Palestinian living in the diaspora, Reem Yunis replies: “I don’t have the luxury not to be inspired. My grandparents died without seeing a liberated Palestine, my parents died and were buried in the diaspora. Most of my people are living in the diaspora, and the ones in Palestine are being robbed of water, resources and every bit of land they have. We need to have hope and fight, because if we won’t fight for a free Palestine, who will?”
Human Rights Watch, an international investigative and reporting organisation, says that it has “significant human rights concerns” about Australia’s treatment of refugees and Aboriginal people.