Australia and Japan turn a blind eye: Indonesia oppresses West Papua

Australia and Japan turn a blind eye: Indonesia oppresses West Papua 

Kanako Mita, Sawako Utsumi, and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The oppression of West Papua by Indonesia is ongoing. This includes the changing demographic and religious identity of West Papua that is being subdued by endless anti-West Papua policies. Yet, the response of Australia and Japan – two nations that are increasingly using the “human rights card”against China and the Russian Federation continue to turn a blind eye to Indonesia’s oppression of West Papua. 

Australia, Indonesia, and Japan share important geographic, geopolitical, and economic spaces that can’t be overlooked – especially with Australia and Japan being members of Quads that are focused on a free and open Asia-Pacific. After all, what is free and open about West Papua under the rule of Indonesia?

UN News recently reported (March 1, 2022), “Shocking abuses against indigenous Papuans have been taking place in Indonesia, UN-appointed rights experts said on Tuesday, citing child killings, disappearances, torture and enforced mass displacement.” 

The Special Rapporteurs said, “Urgent action is needed to end ongoing human rights violations against indigenous Papuans.” 

Instead, America and France have sold more military weapons to Indonesia because West Papua isn’t on the agenda of America, Australia, Japan, and other nations that espouse human rights. This only encourages Indonesia to crush any forms of West Papuan resistance. 

UN News reports, “Between April and November 2021, we have received allegations indicating several instances of extrajudicial killings, including of young children, enforced disappearance, torture and inhuman treatment and the forced displacement of at least 5,000 indigenous Papuans by security forces.”

The Ecologist says, “West Papua is home to the world’s third-largest rainforest, and is rich in natural resources, including gold, copper natural gas, minerals, timber and palm oil.”

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida only espouses human rights providing it mainly concerns China and the Russian Federation. Hence, Japan – similar to Australia but with even more extreme disinterest – seeks to keep a low profile when it relates to the oppression of West Papua. 

Modern Tokyo Times recently reported, “The endless Javanization and altering of the ethnic and religious dynamics of West Papau are never-ending. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida of Japan is obsessed with human rights providing it concerns traces of anti-China and anti-Russian Federation angles. However, when it comes to West Papua, it isn’t only silence but more trade with Indonesia without a care in the world.”

Joe Collins, the spokesperson for the Australia-West Papua Association, is extremely skeptical about the approach of Australia concerning West Papua. He uttered (last year), “We can expect all the usual statements about regional stability, peace, economic prosperity, terrorism, and defense cooperation, but highly unlikely anything about human rights — unless it is criticism of China’s record.”

Australian Foreign Affairs reports (Dominic Simonelli), “…successive Australian governments have turned a blind eye to Indonesia’s brutal oppression and economic exploitation of the indigenous peoples of West Papua, prioritizing cooperation with Indonesia over the welfare of West Papuans. Indonesia’s pervasive abuse of ethnic Papuans has become institutionalized in the decades since its independence. Left unchecked by foreign powers, the West Papuan crisis is the Asia-Pacific’s “silent genocide”.

Australia and Japan – similar to America, France, and the United Kingdom – are not only silent about the crimes committed by Indonesia against the indigenous of West Papua: they tacitly support Indonesia and knowingly turn a blind eye to events in West Papua. 

Nations belonging to the G7 and Australia express concerns about human rights when it suits their respective agendas. Hence, G7 nations – and Australia – need to be challenged for their respective complicity in the ongoing oppression in West Papua. This concerns the horrendous demographic and religious changes that seek to crush the Papuans by stealth – and the endless exploitation of the resources of West Papua. 

https://news.un.org/en/story/2022/03/1113062

https://www.australianforeignaffairs.com/articles/next-voices/2019/09/west-papuan-independence/dominic-simonelli

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