West Papua: Indonesia Considering Addressing Past Atrocities
Indonesia has recently announced it is considering investigating the killings of hundreds of thousands of people in the 1965 ‘anti communist’ purge under authoritarian leader Suharto. It is unusual for the Indonesian government to address past atrocities. According to Amnesty International, at least 100,000 West Papuans have been killed since the Indonesian takeover of West Papua.
Below is an article published by the Conversation
Indonesia has recently indicated it is considering investigating the killings of hundreds of thousands of people in the 1965 “anti-communist” purge under authoritarian leader Suharto.
If the inquiry goes ahead, it would mark a shift in the government’s long-standing failure to address past atrocities. It is unclear if they will include other acts of brutality alleged to have been committed by the Indonesian regime in the troubled region of West Papua.
According to Amnesty International, at least 100,000 West Papuans have been killed since the Indonesian takeover of West Papua in the 1960s.
While the number of killings peaked in the 1970s, they are rising again due to renewed activism for independence in the territory. In September 2019, as many as 41 people were killed in clashes with security forces and Jihadi-inspired militia.
Clashes between security forces and the West Papua National Liberation Army have escalated since January, which human rights groups say have resulted in at least five deaths. At least two other civilians were killed in another incident.
The latest violence was sparked by racial attacks on Papuan university students in Java last year, which prompted thousands of Papuans to protest against the government. The protests brought renewed media attention to human rights violations in the region and Papuans’ decades-long fight for autonomy.
However, because the international media have been prohibited from entering West Papua, the broader conflict has received relatively little attention from the outside world. (This week’s feature by ABC’s Foreign Correspondent program in Australia was a rare exception.)
Photo courtesy: Freewestpapua