ONCE AGAIN the united nations IS SILENT ABOUT VIOLENCE ON ITS DOORSTEP. – mutopai west papua
We must act urgently to protect West Papuans from Indonesian brutality. Response to the conflict from foreign governments including Australia, the country nearest to West Papua with the exception of PNG, are remaining silent, echoing the 1999 reaction to the violence spreading in East Timor.
Human rights monitors report a ”military siege involving horrendous destruction and violence”, including torching of villages and chapels, deaths and forced evacuations.
Clearly, lethal force is used as the first resort against West Papuans, branded as ”treasonous” and ”terrorists”. Indonesian authority is viewed by West Papuans as repressive and neo-colonial, lacking in concern for their welfare.
Indonesia’s pledges appease foreign governments who are compelled to stand up for human rights, but who are also pursuing their own national and commercial interests.
A history of neglect has seen West Papua fall behind on all human development indices. It has the country’s highest poverty and the lowest standards on all health indicators, the highest infant and maternal mortality rates and highest national HIV/AIDS infection rate found in the general community.
It has the lowest education standards as measured by school attendance, trained teachers, infrastructure and availability of resources.
While the conflict persists, advancement in wellbeing will continue to elude the bulk of the indigenous population. With limited or no access to development agencies, the people will stay poor and illiterate, dying from preventable illnesses. Mistrust, violence, intimidation and psychological abuse will continue, as West Papuans are pushed further aside.