- “This is systematic ethnic cleansing, part of a long-running strategy of Jakarta’s occupation to take over our lands and populate them with Indonesian settlers and multinational corporations.”
Indonesia has been accused of hypocrisy after it rejected a United Nations resolution calling for the prevention of genocide and ethnic cleansing.
Leader of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) Benny Wenda blasted Jakarta for speaking out about Myanmar and Palestine while at the same time “desperately trying to cover up its own crimes against humanity in West Papua and trying to ensure their perpetual impunity at the UN.”
Indonesia formally annexed West Papua via a sham referendum, the so-called Act of Free Choice, in 1969: just over 1,000 people — less than 0.01 per cent of the population — were hand-picked to ratify the occupation, many of them at gunpoint.
Since then, an estimated 500,000 West Papuans have been killed as Indonesian forces have continued to wage a brutal clampdown to crush the independence movement.
Resistance to the Indonesian occupation has been branded “terrorism” by current President Joko Widodo, who ordered a major crackdown last month in response to the assassination of a key military intelligence official.
Jakarta mobilised some 21,000 troops to West Papua, with popular peaceful resistance leader Victor Yeimo detained earlier this month and ULMWP political bureau official Frans Wasini also arrested.
“The evidence is now overwhelming that Indonesia has committed crimes against humanity, colonialism, ethnic cleansing and genocide in West Papua,” Mr Wenda said.
“The same week as the UN vote, the Indonesian military — including ‘Satan’s troops,’ implicated in genocide in East Timor — were attacking Papuan villages, killing unarmed women and children and adding to the over 50,000 people displaced since December 2018,” the independence leader said.
“The stated aim of the operations is to wipe out all resistance to Indonesian colonialism. When you displace villagers, they lose their hunting ground, their home, their entire way of life.
“This is systematic ethnic cleansing, part of a long-running strategy of Jakarta’s occupation to take over our lands and populate them with Indonesian settlers and multinational corporations.”
Mr Wenda said that units now deployed to West Papua have held sickening competitions “to see who can kill my people more efficiently” and steal the most land.
“Those most able to wipe out our population will gain in rank. My people have been turned into an object of Jakarta’s imperial games,” he said.
The independence leader has called for Jakarta to stop blocking the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights from sending a delegation to West Papua and called on all Indonesian troops to leave West Papua to prevent a catastrophe.
Mr Wenda was elected interim president of a provisional government-in-waiting last December. But Indonesia has refused to recognise the legitimacy of the administration and has ignored pleas to meet to negotiate a peaceful settlement.
NEWS/PHOTO SOURCE: Morning Star Online | Media Agencies