Saturday 2:15pm

PANEL: West Papua's struggle for freedom

Global revolt
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West Papuan’s are fighting for their right to self-determination, against the brutality of the Indonesian military and police, and for basic democratic and human rights.

In this struggle for freedom, they face not only the violence of the occupying forces but other formidable foes - Western corporations profiting from pillaging West Papuan resources and the Australian state who politically and militarily support Indonesia’s occupation, making Australia complicit in the slow moving genocide against Papuans. As many as half a million Papuans have been killed since the 1962 takeover.

The West Papuan struggle for freedom continues. Students in 2019 were at the forefront of the fight once again. In response, Indonesia has escalated its repression. There are nearly 100 West Papuan political prisoners. Indonesia has also broadened its targets to non-Papuan Indonesian solidarity activists, such as Veronica Koman and Surya Anta, who is currently imprisoned and in solitary confinement.

Veronica Koman is an Indonesian human rights lawyer focusing on West Papua issues. Her clients include West Papuans charged with treason for peacefully demanding their right to self-determination. She is now wanted by the Indonesian police on politicised charges, forcing her to live in exile. She was awarded the 2019 Sir Ronald Wilson Human Rights Award.

Ronny Kareni grew up as a ‘border-crosser’ or ‘West Irian’, a phrase referred to West Papuan refugees in Papua New Guinea. He is a musician, community organiser and cultural diplomat with Rize of the Morning Star, a movement which encompasses arts, cultural resilience and creative resistance in the fight for self-determination for West Papua. More recently, Ronny was appointed as the Pacific representative of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) for the 2019-2020 period.

Jefry Yikwa is a West Papuan freedom fighter. He was one of the 43 West Papuan refugees who came to Australia by canoe in 2006. He is also active with the Pacific Climate Warriors.

Readings

Nick Everett, Repression escalates in West Papua, Red Flag 23 September 2019

https://redflag.org.au/node/6895

James Balowski, Scores of Papua activists across Indonesia facing treason trials, Red Flag 8 December 2019

https://redflag.org.au/index.php/node/6970

Max Lane, The Papua Question in Indonesia, ISEAS. 19 September 2019.

https://www.iseas.edu.sg/images/pdf/ISEASPerspective2019_74.pdf

Alex de Jong, The Indonesian counter-revolution, Jacobin 2 January 2019

https://www.jacobinmag.com/2019/01/unmasked-graves-review-indonesia-genocide-communist-party

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