Silent genocide unfolds in Papua

Policy seeks to change population figures forever

IN a neglected region of the Pacific, the world’s latest genocide takes place with an indigenous people being killed and replaced every day of the year.
Earlier this month, five Papuans were arbitrarily shot and killed by Indonesian troops in what was – at the time of printing – the latest violence against innocent civilians.
It took Australia 20 days to comment on the atrocity.
Perhaps this should not be a surprise, given reports that Australian-supplied helicopters were used by the Indonesian military to kill civilians in West Papua in the 1970s.
The allegations were among other abuses detailed in the report, by the Hong Kong-based Asian Human Rights Commission (AHCR), which contains graphic detail of the alleged murder, rape and torture of more than 4000 Papuans by Indonesian military in the late 1970s.
The report named numerous Indonesian military commanders, including the late President, General Suharto, as those responsible for ordering or failing to stop the violence, and says they should be tried by a human rights court.
In the report “The Neglected Genocide – Human Rights abuses against Papuans in the Central Highlands, 1977 – 1978” the AHCR attempted to document violence that occurred when Indonesia launched several military operations around Wamena, in response to independence uprisings after general elections in 1977.
The AHRC conducted field visits, interviewed witnesses and examined historical records and later claimed that Papuans in the Central Highlands were victims of napalm bombing and indiscriminate shooting from the air, sometimes from aircraft supplied to the Indonesian military by Australia and the US.
According to the report two Australian-supplied Iroquois helicopters, along with US-supplied Bell UH-1H Huey helicopters, were used by local command in the attacks. Other aircraft were also used.
In one reported incident, villagers in the Bolakme area were told they would be receiving aerial aid from Australia, only to be bombed by American-supplied planes.
Advocates collected the name of 4146 people believed to have been killed by the Indonesian military and claims the total number of victims who died from torture, disease and hunger as a result of the violence could be well over 10,000.

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By Netani Rika