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Canberra looks away while West Papua aflame

Funeral of two-year-old Nopelinus Sondegau
Funeral of two-year-old Nopelinus Sondegau allegedly killed by Indonesian security forces (AWPA)

| Asia Pacific Report

AUCKLAND - The Australia West Papua Association has protested over the “lack of any concern” by Canberra over worsening clashes in the Indonesian military crackdown on pro-independence groups in West Papua.

Joe Collins of AWPA has said in a statement that the harsh ‘behaviour’ of the Indonesian forces would lead to the instability that the Australian government fears.

He said there was a risk that Indonesian soldiers might breach the Papua New Guinean border in pursuit of rebels.

Collins said there have been a number of clashes between the Indonesian forces and the pro-independence Papuan rebel force TPNPB in the town of Sugapa, Intan Jaya Regency.

Media reports have said that in one incident on 26 October a two-year-old infant, Nopelinus Sondegau, was killed and a six-year old, Yoakim Majau, was wounded by Indonesian forces although the police have denied this.

The TPNPB alleged the children were shot because the military “lost control” after one of their personal was shot by the TPNPB, said the statement.

According to Father Dominikus Hodo at the Catholic Diocese in Timika, large numbers of people had fled from the security forces with up to 2,000 taking refuge in a church compound.

At one stage the pro-independence OPM took control of Bilogai Airport in Sugapa subdistrict, leading to the suspension of civil flights.

The commander of the Nemangkawi Law Enforcement Task Force said that a generator, house, kiosk and two motor vehicles, including an ambulance had been set on fire.

Senior Commissioner Faizal Rahmadan said that they would station two platoons of personnel in Intan Jaya to reinforce security.

“It’s hard to understand the lack of any concern from Canberra to what is going on in West Papua,” Collins said.

“It’s in the interest of Canberra to have a stable region to our north, yet it’s the behaviour of the Indonesian security forces that will lead to the very instability Canberra fears.

“West Papuans have fled across the border into PNG and there is always the possibility that one day the Indonesian security forces could follow."

Collins said AWPA would write again to Australian foreign minister Marise Payne expressing concern about the crackdown.


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Henry Charles Sims

West Papua, Dutch New Guinea, Irian Jaya, Papua; all names for the piece of an island which has never been the responsibility of Canberra. Why so now?

Yes, Australia would feel more comfortable if the whole island was united and the many hundreds of tribes capable of a joint governance for such a diverse population which has multiple ethnic groups and a history of division.

Unity will never be, so the Westerners will dominated by the Indons while poor old Papua Besena will totter along it's present path to nowhere, exploited from within and everywhere else.

Not what we expats had hoped as an outcome for the country

Arthur Williams

11/11/2021 - Papua No 1 News Portal | Jubi Jayapura (Reporter: Benny Mawel)

'194 Catholic priests call for ceasefire in Papua and called for the warring parties to prioritize dialogue or negotiation among the stakeholders of the Papua conflict.'

They made this appeal after the shooting of two small children ; one of whom died and a further killing on November 10th.

Finally the Catholic priest's moral appeal urged the Indonesian government to immediately grant access for the United Nations High Human Rights Commission to visit Papua, so that they can see and hear for themselves what the real human rights conditions in Papua are.

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