Torture in West Papua by Indonesia on Tape: Indigenous Christians Seek Freedom

Torture in West Papua by Indonesia on Tape: Indigenous Christians Seek Freedom

Noriko Watanabe and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The indigenous Papuans of West Papua are overwhelmingly Christian and ethnically different from the Javanese – who dominate mainly Muslim Indonesia. However, for decades, the world continues to stand by and tolerate the massacres of Papuans, Javanese colonialism, the exploitation of Papuan resources, and other brutal facts on the ground to take place in West Papua.

It matters not if G7 democratic nations or China and the Russian Federation – or regional powers like Australia. All pay lip service to the ruling colonial elites in Indonesia based on the exploitation of resources, military contracts, and geopolitics.

In rare footage of torture in West Papua (Indonesia keeps prying eyes out), the world is seeing the reality of how the state apparatus treats Papuans.

The Guardian reports, “Graphic footage of a West Papuan man bound in a water-filled barrel and being beaten and cut with knives by Indonesian soldiers has drawn a rare apology from the commander of Indonesia’s military in the province.”

Two videos show a Papuan being tortured repeatedly after the armed forces of Indonesia launched a raid in Central Papua (Puncak regency – Omukia and Gome districts).

ABC News says, “The video emerged online last week and depicted a defenseless Papuan man being punched, kicked in the face and lacerated with a machete as he sat in a barrel of water that increasingly turned red.”

During his torture by Indonesian security forces, they also racially abuse him.

He later died from his injuries, according to Amnesty International.

During the same military operation, another Papuan died. The military claims the second person died after jumping from a vehicle with his hands tied. One can only imagine his fear. Therefore, doubts persist about him dying from head injuries – after jumping from the moving vehicle.

The World Council of Churches said, “The Communion of Churches in Indonesia (PGI) has issued a statement unequivocally condemning torture against civilians in Papua, following the emergence of videos which appear to show the violent mistreatment of indigenous Papuans by members of Indonesian armed forces.”

 Human Rights Monitor said, “Cases of torture have been rampant in West Papua due to the widespread impunity in the region. Perpetrators are not held accountable in public trials, while the internal court processes, particularly police internal disciplinary procedures, lack transparency and independence. The perpetrators often receive sentences that are disproportionately lenient with regard to the severity of the crime.”

Benny Wenda (President of ULMWP – the United Liberation Movement for West Papua) pointedly said (1998 Rome Statute) “Indonesia has not signed this treaty — against torture, genocide, and war crimes — because it is guilty of all three in West Papua and East Timor.”

Wenda continued, “I ask everyone who watches the video to remember that West Papua is a closed society, cut off from the world by a sixty-year media ban imposed by Indonesia’s military occupation. How many victims go unnoticed by the world? How many incidents are not captured on film? Every week we hear word of another murder, massacre, or tortured civilian. Over 500,000 West Papuans have been killed under Indonesian colonial rule.”

Wenda further said, “International agreements such as the EU-Indonesia trade deal should be made conditional on a UN visit. States should call out Indonesia at the highest levels of the UN. Parliamentarians should sign the Brussels Declaration.”

The armed forces had no option but to confirm the video. It is the tip of the iceberg. However, if the international community fails to act, the endless brutality will continue in West Papua.

It is abundantly clear that Papuan civilization, culture, ethnicity, history, and religion have nothing in common with the colonial occupiers of Indonesia. Accordingly, the rights of West Papua need to be addressed regionally and internationally – if not, another indigenous community will be crushed to the point of no return.

Also, regional support for the people of West Papua in Fiji, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, and others must develop to challenge the colonialization of West Papua by the Indonesian ruling elites in Jakarta.

The Guardian says, “Indonesia has controlled West Papua since invading in 1963 and formalizing its annexation through the controversial, UN approved, ‘Act of Free Choice’. Security forces are accused of severe human rights violations during the occupation with an estimated 500,000 Papuans killed.”

The colonial yoke of West Papua needs to end.

Paradise Bombed – Video documenting the hidden West Papua (Important video to watch about West Papua) The International Parliamentarians for West Papua (IPWP)

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