#AceNewsServices – Featured Post: Jan 03 – The silence on the genocide is our backyard is shameful and startling, for as we speak another exercise is being carried out by the Indonesian security forces that are intentionally raping and killing women and children civilians at some massacre point inside resource-rich province of Papua.
During 1950s, West Papua was under Dutch Colonial rule, but by 1961 were moving towards independence with their own flag, the ‘Morning Star’, and Papuan government officials.
In the early sixties, however, “Conflict erupted over West Papua” between The Netherlands and Indonesia, and a United Nations agreement gave control of the colony to Indonesia for six years. This was to be followed by a referendum.
These six years of Indonesian control saw well-documented cases of violence and abuse by the military.
Then in 1969, Indonesia conducted a referendum called the Act of Free Choice. Only 1025 Papuans, representing a population of one-million were hand-picked to vote and under duress, opted to remain a part of Indonesia.
Despite a critical report by a UN official who was present at the voting results, citing serious violations, the UN shamefully sanctioned the vote and West Papua officially became a part of Indonesia. Most Papuans’ call this referendum the ‘Act of No Choice.’”
The sheer complicity of United Nations, Indonesia and European Union’s democracy Netherlands helped the beginning of the end for the WEST Papuans who are ethnically and culturally totally diverse to the so-called Indonesian identities.
Today the world looks away as Indonesian enjoys complete impunity to conduct the racial genocide of indigenous Papuans. Since 1962, some 1962,100, 000 people have been killed or disappeared thanks to the wonderful military operation going on inside Papua. The Free West Papua has recorded with evidence the issue of mass-killings, sexual violence including rape and torture of girls and women.
What strikes me most in the context of west papuan struggle to self-determination is the multifaceted stakeholders that hold the reins that hinder the people of Papua. Nobel laureate American diplomat Henry Kissinger of the Vietnam war fame and chairing director of the infamous company Freeport-Mcmahon that has enjoyed a great stake into the gold mining missions should not be forgotten, off-course American, followed by Australia with tall claims of peace and democracy are carrying out the plundering of the world’s biggest coal and gold mine owing people out of their resources.
The issue of sexual violence to silence the whole struggle of the papuans continues to be shrouded into mysteries and unheard because foreign media and journalists presence, as well as aid agencies are banned from entering the province. Never-the-less, local media activism is ensuring to share the plight of the people stuck within this nightmare.
A report “Enough Already” has been documented with help from West Papuan women representation and highlights the horrifying tales of violence against women that took place during 1963-2009. It was presented to the Papuan Indigenous People’s Council, an official body established by the Special Autonomy law for Papua to protect Indigenous People’s rights, and to the National Women’s Commission.
Real Life Testimonies of West Papuan Women
–In 1967, military operations were conducted in the town of Biak and began to move to the villages. In 1969 [we] went home to Swaipak, Biak staying there during the Sadar [military] operations. The Yospan [Papua’s traditional dance] became a threat to parents, because they had to let their young daughters [participate]; in fact, some parents pressured their daughters to go to the Yospan rather than be targeted with physical violence or threatened… In the middle of the night the people were woken up… the young girls were made to dance Yospan then have sexual relations. The Indonesian troops said to the parents and husbands, ‘You must understand.’
– During a dance party organized by the troops in Jayapura district, around 1989, a fight broke out between some community members. Some soldiers intervened: The soldiers brought my sister-in-law and told her to swallow a battery, until she was coughing. They wouldn’t allow us to bring her to the hospital . The next day, they brought me and [a young man who was involved in the fight] to their post . They opened our clothes, and told us to stand in water for hours . Then they made us sleep on the beach for about one hour. We were given no food; we were very hungry. Then they forced [the young man] to rape me. After that they made us walk to the post naked; at the post a picture was taken of us.
But we also heard stories of violence in the home:
Fighting in families in my neighborhood usually happens after our husbands consume alcohol CT (a local brand). When we wives are beaten to almost half dead by our drunken husbands, the crazed husbands don’t get arrested or taken away. Maybe this is also because other than some people who sell CT, there are also policemen who sell and consume (alcohol). So how will the police take care of security?
Leonie Tangahma, one the West Papuans negotiators based in Netherlands recently said that “women now don’t have a choice but to be involved. In the past it was because the men were fighting, we had to make sure that we were there for them and we could provide for the food and all that. But after a while we have been taken more positions actively as demonstrators, so we do have a role within the struggle itself.”
The world slumbers on a soundless sleep. But, the west papuan women marred by four decades of oppression and subjugation have risen and as they rise, let us all rise with them in their struggle for self-determination and liberation from atrocities.
We shall see the rise of ‘Morning Star’ soon. Long Live West Papuans!