What’s going on in West Papua? This question has been used frequently to attract readers to read. If you are not satisfied with my version of answering such question, it is your rights to agree or disagree.
Almost every year in August, a small number of groups within Papua and in several countries like Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States conduct a peaceful protest against West Papua’s official and legal incorporation of West Papua to Indonesia via the UN-facilitated ‘Act of Free Choice’ referendum. For Democratic Indonesia, such protest by supporters of West-Papuan independence movement is part of freedom of expression. However, we should also know that there is the limit of freedom of expression.
What’s going on in West Papua and Papua provinces?
First of all, protest by West Papua independence movement is not an innocent and peaceful protest. It was and still is part of a strategy to instigate communal conflict, which has occurred many times for the purpose of being reported in the news and attracted uneducated observers to inflame the conflict further. Why maintaining conflict is important for Free West Papua movement?
It is a matter of being exist in the world, because without conflict, Free West Papua has no reason whatsoever to exist.
Second, for West Papuan freedom movement is also about money to survive either in foreign country or in Papua and West Papua. It is quite common for those opportunist leaders to ask for money from whoever. For example Oridek Ap, an unemployed lazy person who is amazingly become the head EU mission of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), now very diligent begging for money. As we all know, most of the money are used for personal needs and not for campaign.
Finally, for supporters of Free West Papua is about being seen as noble people helping the opportunist Free West Papua leaders. They don’t have better purpose in life so when they found the so called Freedom movement, they join it and act as if they can help solving the problem. What they didn’t know is that their action makes the situation in region worse.
How about human rights violations? Is it real or hoax?
To be honest, I don’t know the detail. However, from reports by Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Amnesty International (AI) we can find that human rights problem exist in the region. For example, World human rights report 2020 mentioned:
“In August, a racist attack against West Papuan students in Surabaya triggered an uprising in Papua and West Papua provinces. It prompted the Jokowi administration to send more than 6,000 troops to the two provinces. At least 53 people, both Papuans and migrants from other parts of Indonesia, were killed in the ensuing clashes. Indonesian authorities also shut down the internet there.”
AI report stated:
“Violence in the Papua region (Papua and Papua Barat provinces) was triggered by two incidents: a violent attack in early December 2018 against 16 construction company workers in Nduga, responsibility for which was claimed by an armed pro-Papua independence group; and racist verbal abuse in Surabaya, East Java, on 16 August. In the latter case, military personnel and members of anti-Papua independence organizations surrounded Papuan students in their dormitory and used racist slurs, including calling them “monkeys.” This abuse was recorded on video and shared widely on social media, prompting Papuans to stage protests, some of which turned violent, in Jayapura, Deiyai, Fakfak, and Wamena, major cities in Papua.”
I tried to capture general views from both respected international human rights organisations to show that Indonesia should never feel dictated or even interfered by those international NGOs. Why? It is simple, both NGOs highlighted cases where people get killed, abused, or their rights being violated. What Indonesia should do is to fix the problem by protecting people’s rights.
What went wrong is when human rights report is used by Free West Papua and their supporters to instigate deeper conflict by pushing the agenda of separation. Indonesian police and army job is very simple: to protect the people and defend the country, so separatism and armed criminal groups is unacceptable. HRW and AI reports mentioning the killing of Papuan and non-Papuan, and as we can see, all incidents are triggered by violent act by armed criminal group.
For deeper erroneous effort by Free West Papua supporters, we can see the depicting all human rights incidents in region in one deceiving campaign: GENOCIDE which never exist in the first place. Without shame and consciousness, all those campaigners never use their heart and mind to see the impact of such evil campaign against the interest of the whole population in Papua and West Papua. They should think twice and double check their intention when provoking conflict by arguing about genocide.
May God protect Papuan from evil campaign and hopefully God will help us to understand fully about what’s going on in West Papua.