Asia Pacific Report newsdesk
A 17-year-old youth has become the latest victim of Indonesia’s six-decades-long colonisation of West Papua, alleges the United Liberation Movement of West Papua.
“Killed on March 6, Melianus Nayagau has been murdered in Intan Jaya, where Indonesian military operations have displaced thousands of my people,” said ULMWP interim president Benny Wenda in a statement today.
Separately, a video has shown an Indonesian police chief in Java telling demonstrating West Papuan students that they are “a legitimate target”, and giving the order to “shoot”, said the ULMWP website.
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“This is the reality of what we face in West Papua. As the people of West Papua resist Jakarta’s re-imposition of ‘Special Autonomy’, Papuan students are being beaten by Indonesian nationalist gangs and arrested by colonial police,” Wenda said.
The cold-blooded killing and viral video came just after the Indonesian military killed a 36-year-old deaf disabled man, Donatus Mirip, on February 27.
Late last year, West Papuan pastor Yeremia Zanambani, Catholic catechist Rufinus Tigau and other religious figures were tortured, shot and killed by troops, and three school children were executed by an Indonesian state death squad on November 20, 2020, reports the ULMWP website.
Several soldiers were recently found to have killed two other family members of Pastor Zanambani last year, burning the bodies and throwing their ashes into a local river.
Tens of thousands of West Papuans have been displaced by these military operations since December 2018.
Hundreds have died from lack of water, food and medicine, in the middle of a global pandemic, said Wenda.
“As the largest religious organisation in our nation, the West Papua Council of Churches, has stated, ‘The Land of Papua has become a Military Operation Area’.
“No one can deny that this is an absolute humanitarian catastrophe, a pattern of systematic human rights abuses targeted at the Indigenous population of West Papua by the Indonesian colonial regime.
“This is serial, repeated murder of the young, of religious figures, of displaced women and children. We are treated with inhumanity on our own land.”
The ULMWP website said Indonesia’s response to this undeniable disaster had been to deploy 1350 more highly armed troops to West Papua yesterday, joining the thousands of additional security personnel deployed since 2019.
‘Concealing the blood’
“The Indonesian state is trying to conceal the blood that is dripping from its hands,” said Wenda.
At the UN Human Rights Council last month, the Indonesian Foreign Minister denounced “double standards” and “politicisation” of the council, something Indonesia had done more to promote than any other state, Wenda said.
“While they take a noble stand on the Palestinian and Myanmar struggles, they lie to the world about what they are doing to their own neighbours in West Papua,” he said.
“I’m calling on the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to pay urgent attention to the situation in West Papua. This is not one-off killings and human rights violations.
“This is a systematic attempt to subjugate the Indigenous population, to destroy our will to resist, to eliminate our culture and way of life. But we will not give up until we win back our right to self-determination, stolen from us in the 1960s.
“We need regional leaders in Melanesia and the Pacific to listen to our cry. All 83 countries that support the visit of the UN High Commissioner to West Papua must redouble efforts to ensure the visit takes place as a matter of extreme urgency, before more of my people are murdered.