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  • Writer's pictureMerdeka Secretariat

Statement on the 58th Anniversary of Indonesia’s Occupation of West Papua

Genocide and Occupation is Terrorism

May 1, 2021

The chairman of the Indonesian parliament (People's Consultative Assembly or MPR), openly called on the government to disregard human rights in the conduct of “crushing” West Papua’s Liberation Army which was declared as a terrorist group by the government. This is essentially an invitation to violate international humanitarian laws, and could only further embolden the TNI and POLRI to commit crimes against humanity while granting them impunity.

In the past days, footage of TNI’s indiscriminate shooting in the highlands have once again circulated - a blatant example of terrorism. This act of terror is producing a new batch of IDPs and refugees in addition to Nduga’s IDPs and refugees who have yet to return home since their displacement at the end of 2018.

While the government would attempt to justify its actions as a response to the liberation army’s offensives, it fails to address the bigger picture, that is the root cause of armed conflict.

The decades-long occupation has brought economic and political hardship to West Papua’s working class. Cultures and identities have also been erased and continue to be erased as land-grabs remain rampant under neoliberal policies side-by-side military and police operations. Giant corporations such as Freeport, British Petroleum, and Korindo devastate Papua’s lands and resources, and massacre Indigenous Peoples through direct killings, or through hunger and diseases following displacements and poisoning of food and water sources.

As we also commemorate International Workers’ Day, we salute the toiling peoples of Papua who keep the fire of the struggle for self-determination burning. May the lessons from decades of struggle provide strength and wisdom to the liberation movement.

Long live the Papuan people’s movement! Long live international solidarity!


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