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  • Writer's pictureMerdeka Secretariat

On President Jokowi's 2nd Inauguration

Updated: Oct 23, 2019

On 20th October 2019, Joko Widodo, popularly known as Jokowi, was sworn in for his 2nd term as the President of Indonesia.

Among Jokowi’s top priorities in his 2nd term is Indonesia’s economic growth. Despite Jokowi’s promises for development, as long as the same neoliberal policies are maintained, there will be continued exploitation of peoples, lands, and natural resources for the benefit of a few. For the people of West Papua, it will mean the continuing occupation of their nation.

Human rights violations will also continue to intensify as Indonesia will impose to maintain its control over West Papua by exercising fascism in all forms to pacify the people’s call for independence, which is what is happening now.

Over the decades, Papuans have lost their lands and lives to so-called development projects - giant mining corporations, plantations, and other multinational and transnational businesses that have also exploited both Indigenous and non-Indigenous workers. Jokowi’s first term of presidency already enabled a significant rise of foreign investments, particularly on machinery and electronics, electricity, gas and water supply, chemical and pharmaceutical industry, and of course, the mining sector. [i]

The Grasberg mine in Timika, the world’s largest gold mine and second-largest copper mine, is the best illustration of Indonesia enabling and pushing for imperialist (US) plunder of West Papua. The Grasberg mine is owned by Freeport, the single largest taxpayer to the Indonesian Government.

Not to forget Jokowi’s “tutup mata, beri izin” statement [ii] earlier this year encouraging investments in Indonesia that was also on the pretext of boosting the country’s economy through export and import-substitution goods. West Papua, a resource-rich territory, is inevitably one of the main targets of this policy.

Jokowi, as President, is also maintaining his title as Commander-in-Chief of the Indonesian Army (TNI). Until today, human rights abusers in the TNI continue to walk free, including the former army commander and notorious war criminal Wiranto who now holds the position of the country’s Chief Security Minister. At present, the TNI continues to terrorize the people of West Papua, with tens of thousands of Papuans still unable to return to their homes such as in Nduga with the continued military operations in the highlands.

The administration has essentially criminalized freedom of speech and assembly with its prohibition of all forms of public demonstrations surrounding the period of the inauguration. Jakarta Police Chief Inspector Gatot referred to this as respect to global state leaders attending the event as Indonesia is known as “a nation that is polite and courteous”.

The never-ending massacres in West Papua, the arbitrary arrests and criminalization of rights defenders all over Indonesia, the state’s inaction over the fires that ravaged the forests of Kalimantan, and many other state-perpetrated violence are more than enough justifications for the people’s dissent. We have witnessed before, and especially in the past weeks, how Indonesian forces have violently suppressed critical voices, especially those who attempt to speak up on the realities of West Papua both in and out of the country.

The Merdeka West Papua Support Network will continue to extend its solidarity to the people of West Papua. We commit to stand with you as you persevere in the struggle for self-determination and liberation.

We call on to the Indonesian people to stand with West Papua and call for the end of all human rights violations in the country, including Indonesia’s occupation of West Papua. We also call to the international community to persist on pressuring the Widodo Administration to not only be accountable for all its human rights violations, but to recognize Indonesia’s illegitimate administration of West Papua.

End Indonesia’s occupation of West Papua! Free West Papua!



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