Indonesia and West Papua: Soldiers mutilate Papuans (Japan)

Indonesian and West Papua: Soldiers mutilate Papuans (Japan)

Kanako Mita, Sawako Utsumi, and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The government of Indonesia keeps the outside world from investigating the crimes committed against the indigenous Papuans of West Papua. However, news of Indonesian soldiers killing four Papuans and mutilating their bodies this time reached the outside world. Therefore, this is a glimpse into the brutality of what West Papuans face in Indonesia, which is usually covered up. 

The utter barbarity should shock the world. After all, democratic nations can’t pick and choose human rights to suit their exploitation of resources or related to geopolitical concerns. 

The BBC reports, “According to police, the soldiers killed them and then dismembered their bodies before stuffing them into sacks and throwing them into a river.”

ABC News says, “Residents of Iwaka village in Mimika district were shocked on Friday by the discovery of four sacks, each containing a headless and legless torso, in the village river. Two other sacks were found separately, one containing four heads and the other eight legs.”

America, Australia, France, Japan, the United Kingdom, and others should re-evaluate their ties with Indonesia – if they claim that human rights are important. Crimes against West Papua are ongoing. This concerns mass Indonesian immigration, the exploitation of the resources of West Papua, outright racism, Islamization, Javanization, murders, military killings, intimidation, and other brutal deeds against the indigenous. 

The West Papua National Liberation Army said the killings are “a crime against humanity by the Indonesian government through its security forces.”

Human Rights Watch reports, “This violence follows a series of anti-racism protests using the hashtag #PapuanLivesMatter, responding in part to President Joko Widodo’s contentious move to divide Papua and West Papua into four separate provinces. Activists are raising concerns that the plans will lead to the further militarization of the region, with critics describing it as a ploy to “divide and conquer” the Indigenous Papuans.”

Benny Wenda, the Interim President of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), said, “Indonesia tells the world they are developing West Papua, but this is a lie. It is not development but destruction. Destruction of our mountain, our forest, our tribal culture. Military operations continue in Intan Jaya because Indonesia is building a gold mine there, Wabu Block. They are building the trans-Papua highway through our rainforest because they want to take our natural resources. Instead of this environmental destruction, the world must support our Green State Vision, which offers a future for all of humanity.” 

Modern Tokyo Times said (in a past article)“Western military arms keep flowing to Indonesia along with the resources of West Papua being exploited by all and sundry (East to West or democratic nations to authoritarian nations). External ethnic groups – and Islamization – are also being utilized by Indonesia to crush the indigenous Papuans economically, ethnically, politically, and religiously.”

The indigenous of West Papua seek the right to break free from the colonialism of Indonesia. It is time for democracies to show that human rights are genuine and not merely empty words. After all, how many more Papuans must die? 

Shamefully, when Prime Minister Fumio Kishida met President Joko Widodo of Indonesia, he kept quiet about events in West Papua. Instead, he talked about Ukraine. Therefore, Japan is only concerned about the economic and geopolitical angle of Indonesia and negates the human rights of West Papua.

UN News 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.” 

Hence, the nations of America, Australia, France, Japan, the United Kingdom, and others, are deliberately closing their eyes. This isn’t good enough and a changed policy for West Papua is urgently needed regionally and internationally. 

Japan is one of the main trading partners of Indonesia. Also, the Kishida government keeps on mentioning “international law” but remains silent about the crimes committed against the people of West Papua. 

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