G20 Foreign Ministers meet in Indonesia: West Papua, anyone (Japan)?

G20 Foreign Ministers meet in Indonesia: West Papua, anyone (Japan)?

Sawako Utsumi and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The G20 Summit in Bali, Indonesia, will witness certain nations condemning the Russian Federation. Other voices will also rebuke China. Hence, the economic angle will play second fiddle to America’s geopolitical ambitions.

Ironically, all sides – from America, Japan, and the United Kingdom – to China and the Russian Federation – will negate Indonesia’s colonial policies in West Papua. However, the nations of America, Japan, and others, will condemn the Russian Federation for its conflict in Ukraine – despite the Donbass (Donbas) region being mainly pro-Russian Federation and where Ukraine has attacked this region since 2014.

If human rights are going to be used against the Russian Federation, then why aren’t the same nations condemning Indonesia and its continuing occupation of West Papua?

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.” 

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.” 

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

Modern Tokyo Times recently said, “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.”

Hence, it is extremely disconcerting that America, Japan, and other nations will raise the flag of human rights, the occupation of land, and war aimed at the Russian Federation. However, the same G7 and European Union nations will negate West Papua by brushing the severity of the crisis under the carpet despite the G20 meeting being held in Indonesia.

West Papua needs greater regional support and for the international community to be sincere: instead of cynically utilizing human rights, by being a convenient football concerning geopolitics. Crimes against the indigenous in West Papua have been going on for decades. Therefore, when will the profile of West Papua be raised regionally and internationally that is viable – and not piecemeal?

Sadly, the Papuans must be too “dark-skinned” for Kishida and the political elites in Japan to care about. Hence, Kishida condemned the Russian Federation when meeting the leader of Indonesia (President Joko Widodo) and brought up China: but he was silent about West Papua and the endless colonial policies of Indonesia that seek to crush the indigenous of West Papua.

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.


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