The Guardian October 11, 2000


West Papua: Urgent appeal for action

by Andrew Jackson

A campaign of terror by the Indonesian military in West Papua has resulted 
in dozens of deaths during the last week, and may be only the beginning of 
widespread bloodshed, human rights groups fear.

Thousands of soldiers, including the elite Kopassus troops widely held 
responsible for some of the worst atrocities in East Timor, have been flown 
into the province in a show of strength designed to frighten the local 
people and intimidate independence supporters.

The initial deaths occurred in the town of Wawena, where people refused an 
order by the Chief of Police to lower a "Morning Star" independence flag. 
This simple protest soon turned deadly as troops and police opened fire on 
a crowd that had gathered to defend the flag.

Since then over 30 people have been killed and dozens more injured as 
clashes continued.

West Papuans held a Congress earlier this year at which they rejected the 
results of a 1969 "plebiscite" which resulted in the province being ceded 
to Indonesia. Only delegates selected by Jakarta were allowed to vote in 
the UN sponsored election.

Guardian readers are asked to contact the Foreign Minister Alexander 
Downer and to urge him to formally protest against the Indonesian 
military's campaign of terror in West Papua.

Hon Alexander Downer MP
Minister for Foreign Affairs
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600
Tel: 02 6277 7500
Fax: 02 6273 4112
e-mail: minister.downer@dfat.gov.au
(Note all email correspondence should include a postal address.)

Back to index page