West Papua: Activists Claim Successful Boycott of National Elections
In the light of continuing military violence in West Papua since the Indonesian national elections last April , West Papuan activists claim that their boycott of these elections has been a success. The West Papuan boycott stems from the negligence by re-elected Indonesian President Joko Widodo to address any of the human rights violation cases in West Papua.
Below is article published by Asia Pacific Report:
It may be more than a month since Indonesians went to the polls, but the country is still [June 2019] being shaken by violence related to the election, including in the Papua region.
At least six people died in clashes in the capital Jakarta, during protests against the election outcome that saw President Joko Widodo declared the winner over Prabowo Subianto.
There are also reports in the Jakarta Post that post-election violence erupted in the troubled Papua region with investigations taking place into the deaths of four protesters allegedly killed by Indonesian soldiers.
It comes as President Widodo’s re-elected government has promised greater infrastructure development in Papua province.
But West Papuan activists pushing for independence from Indonesia have declared their election boycott was a success, saying that a majority of West Papuans did not vote.
Benny Wenda, the exiled leader of the United Liberation Movement, called for the peaceful boycott to show that West Papuans were not interested in electing Indonesia’s president.
After the preliminary count came in, he claimed that 60 percent of West Papuans had not taken part in the election.
However, the official results from the electoral commission show that 88 per cent of West Papuans did vote.
ULMWP spokesman Ronny Kareni said that while West Papuan activists were glad that Joko Widodo remained in power, they did not think anything would change citing that Joko Widodo had not addressed any of the human rights cases in Papua that he said he would in his first term.
“The trust that has always been there, that gap is widening,” he said.
“The general feeling is that nothing will change, even though Jokowi is back serving for the second time”.
Photo courtesy of Matt Brown @Flickr