Recent events in West Papua are worrisome.
Despite congressional pressure, the Obama Admistration has recently decided to lift a ten-year ban on supporting Kopassus (Indonesa’s Special Forces Unit), giving them renewed liscence to put down the indigenous peoples of West Papua, who have been seeking independence for decades.
So it’s no surprise we get this report a few short weeks later. . .
from DAP Hubula Area Office Torched: “Attackers have burned down DAP’s (Dewan Adat Papua – Papuan Customary Council) office in West Papua’s Central Highlands.
“This attack is clearly the work of Indonesian intelligence agents, who are worried about the widespread support for DAP at the grassroots level in the region”
“Coming days before a public event planned there and amidst a state campaign of intimidation against DAP, the attack is believed to have been coordinated by Indonesian military and police intelligence and adds to the climate of repression facing West Papuan activists.
“DAP is a Papua-wide network of customary communities working to uphold the cultural rights and restore the self-determination of indigenous Papuans; its presence is particularly strong in the Wamena region.
“In response to DAP’s growing organized rural community presence, the Kapolres (regional police commander) warned local community leaders against associating with DAP, calling it a ‘wild organization’ and accusing it of disturbing the peace.
“Amidst the growing tension, additional units of Brimob’s (Police Mobile Brigade) US-funded counter-terrorism unit, Special Detachment 88, have been deployed to Wamena from the Papuan capital Jayapura.
The burning of their Hubula office carries all the signs of being organized by state security forces.
“On August 23, members of Indonesia’s state security and intelligence agencies, including the US-funded Kopassus (Military Special Commando) and Regional Police, organized a meeting with a select group of local ‘tribal chiefs’. . . After the meeting, a notice was repeatedly broadcast on state radio urging local people to stay away from DAP activities. . .
“The latest violent incident raise[s] the specter of the type of Kopassus-organized anti-independence militia violence previously seen at the peak of the brutal repression of East Timor’s struggle to secede from Indonesia.
“The escalation in intimidation, manipulation and repression being organized by the state security forces sends an ominous signal. . .
“The latest attack against DAP comes on the heels of unprecedented widespread mass mobilization, with a wide coalition of Papuan groups uniting to reject Jakarta’s Special Autonomy package, demanding a referendum on independence, internationally mediated dialogue, the closing of the US-owned Freeport MacMoran gold and copper mine, and a halt to the transmigration that threatens to reduce Papuans to an indigenous minority.
Mass rallies in all the main towns of Papua have been met with repression and threats from security forces. . .
“Papuan activists such as Filep Karma, Buchtar Tabuni and Victor Yeimo continue to be imprisoned for organizing rallies calling for self-determination, the recent murder of Papuan journalist Ardiansyah Matra’is has extended the climate of intimidation to the press, making it even more difficult to access critical coverage of unfolding events in Papua. . .
“The international community has an important role to play in pressuring the Indonesian security forces and their Western backers to withhold from violent repression of Papuan activists. . .”
Read the Complete Report DAP Hubula Area Office Torched
This is a crucial time for West Papua.