A talk and video showing by Rev. Peter Woods at a West Papua Information Night at St Hilary’s, Kew, Melbourne
24th October, 2010

Let's see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=feLomjavuzo

1. Crisis for The West Papuan People

You may say, what’s changed in West Papua to call this a crisis now? In most ways there is nothing new for the West Papuan people. Papua has always been a poor place from a western perspective. In Dutch times the majority of Papuans did not have access to education or health resources. It must be said however that nobody died of starvation and most lived off the land or the sea in a land of rich natural resources. However there is now a significant crisis: what is new in West Papua is that in the last 48 years there has been a vast erosion of the general health of the population and education resources for the people. Despite the growing standard of living across the world, and in Indonesia, the two provinces of Papua and West Papua are coming out consistently at the bottom of the scale in all measures of poverty, health resources, child maternal death, access to education, level of HIV/AIDS and childhood death. With modernisation and the loss of traditional ways of life people are stuck in poverty, unemployment and increasing marginalisation by the flood of non-Papuan migrants.

Apart from those damning assessments, every report coming out of West Papua, whether it is from the churches, the Customary Council or other representative groups, say the people are living in increasing intimidation and fear, and constantly being subjected to human rights violations.
The Melanesian/Papuan people are now the minority in many places in West Papua. Indonesia has allowed, and organised by government policy, this vast dislocation of the local inhabitants. If the boot was on the other foot I think we would know how the Javanese would feel if there were 100 million West Papuans moved into the island of Java.

2.The crisis for the people in the highlands of Puncak Jaya is immense.

The miitary operations that have gone on this year in the highland regions have been brutal. Recently the combined Papuan churches put out a statement criticising the Ind. Govt and the military for what thas been happening and demanding access to what has become a closed area. We will see shortly video recently sent of houses burnt down. Gardens are wrecked and people are killed as the army searches for rebel groups and supporters of those accused of ‘separatism’. The population flees into the jungle and people die from malnutrition and sickness. Last week the Baptist church sent out videos of arrested men (one a pastor) showing the interrogation methods of the army in this area. We will see film clips from news reports from around the world.

The new crisis for West Papuans is that now they are getting the visual reports out to the world. They are organising politically and the leadership no longer being interested in unilateral dialogue with Indonesia to settle their situation. As they say “our request for dialogue for years now has only been met with violence and charges of treason, and we have finished with that now”. In June and July they handed back the Special Autonomy foistered on them 10 years ago, in a public gesture commemorated by a march and mass demonstration of tens of thousands of people. The crisis is that the nature of the demonstrations are quite sharply defined: a rejection of special autonomy and a demand for a referendum for self-determination.
Many Papuans are now choosing to be prepared to die opposing what they see as Indonesian colonial rule rather than see their people wiped off the face of their land. While Kelly Kwalik the Free Papuan movement military leader in the highlands has been murdered this year, others have taken their place. What is more important however is that the political elites are now coalescing through dialogue across the forums and privately; three major groups have formed a National Consensus. The provisional government The West Papuan National Authority is being increasingly recognised as a major organiser of resistance and the political executive in the three elements an alternative nation state structure.

3. Crisis for The Republic of Indonesia.

The central government seems to be in a crisis of disarray and contradiction concerning policy and practice regarding West Papua. It is in acute sensitivity and contradictory mode regarding the growing public call for referendum within Papua, the rejection of Special Autonomy, the lack of development within the country despite large budget allocations (claimed), the growing international attention and condemnation – in this past month West Papua has been the subject of a US Congress sub-committee meeting in Washington, and a debate in the Scottish parliament with various parliamentarians signing on for international support.

The intellectual elites and human rights organisations within Indonesia have been urging a change of approach for a long time – they see where all this is going, yet the military’s influence is still significant, as is the ultra nationalist and Islamic parties which have resisted the very implementation of Special Autonomy.
The Indonesian President SBY has mused publicly, puzzled as to why there is unrest and slow development in WP, claiming that huge amount of funds are pouring into the provinces. The answer has come back, if in fact that money has gone into the country, that 80% of the allocation has gone on beaurocracy and corruption. After resistance SBY has at last agreed to a throrough review of of Special Autonomy - next year. He will find, as every Javanese leader has found in the last 48 years, that it is not just too little too late, but Special Autonomy has been the offering of a stone and a poisonous snake whereas the people were needing bread and fish (Matthew 7:9-11).

The example of the way that Indonesia has lost hearts and minds in WP is the recent flood and landslide disaster in Wasior, south of Manokwari. Fresh from SBY’s humiliating disembarkation from the plane on the Jakarta tarmac as it was about to take off for Holland – his advisors had reported to him that a warrant for his arrest to be tried for crimes against the Moluccan political prisoners was going to be served on him - it took days for the President to say anything about the flash flood and landslide, and when he did Hilary Clinton had beaten him to it, and the press reported this. He was going to visit, then didn’t. The navy sent supplies to Wasior, but the survivors had been shipped to makeshift camps in Manokwari and elsewhere. All of this reinforces for Papuans that Indonesia wants Papua for what it gives it, but couldn’t care less about Papuans.

4. Crisis for The Indonesian Security Forces: army and police

The reason for the Security forces resistance to Special Autonomy are firstly because anything that smacks of what they call separatism is against their very charter: they are there to smash down any whiff of rebellion in maintining the sovereignty of the unitary state of Indonesia. But secondly they have functioned as unaccountable warlords since they walked in as conquerors from a battle they never won into a hostile land that would never be theirs. For the last 50 years their involvement in every conceivable money making venture, from dealing in rare buttlerflies and birds of paradise when we there in the lte 70’s and early 80’s, to logging franchises, and import-export etc etc, Papua has been a rich cash cow for the military in general and the generals in particular. Senior soldiers accused or even convicted of war-crimes in East Timor or Aceh have often posted with promotions to West Papua. The crisis now is that they are being prised out of these businesses, on the one hand, and on the other there is growing international criticism concerning the human rights abuses by the military that Indonesia is finding difficult to dismiss.

Indonesian Ambassadors around the world have recently been called in by their host countries to be quizzed about the security forces torture of civilians in the videos. SBY has finally spoken up – and said there will be an investigation.
The crisis for the military is summed up in the words of Joseph k (Indonesia) 2 days ago response to Voice of America report of the torture videos:
The time has come, …The Indonesian government can not hide behind the integrity of Indonesia to justify killing Papuan people, because the integrity of Indonesia is not God, and the people of Papua are the Lord's creatures as well. (tidak bisa pemerintah Indonesia berlindung di balik integritas untuk membunuh masyarakat papua krn integritas itu bukan TUHAN,masyarakat Papua juga ciptaan TUHAN)

5. Crisis for the Australian Government

Human rights will continue to be a nuisance in the relationship between Australia and Indonesia.Australia continues to trot our the line that it respects Indonesian territoral sovereignty over West Papua, and urges Indonesia to fully implement Special Autonomy.

The crisis is that with videos like the ones recently posted on Youtube it is clear that Indonesia has failed to implement Special Autonomy amongst a people who don’t want Indonesia to be there.

An exercise in Bali last month between Kopassus and the Special Air Service Regiment served as an opportunity for the Indonesian regiment's commander to press for a role in terror suppression and to signal Australian authorities' comfort with that…. He claimed Indonesia's law enforcement-led strategy since the 2002 Bali bombings was one of the most successful in the world, with 563 arrests and prosecutions and at least nine terror strikes pre-empted. We need Indonesia in the fight against terror, but as we train the anti- terror troops the human rights issues continue to arise in West papua.

The risks in these policies and practice is seen in New Zealand at the moment. NZ police are actually on the ground in WP training the Indonesian police – they are currently madly peddling to hose down public questions as to whether the Indonesian forces they have trained were involved in the torture videos.
We need you to write letters to the Foreign Minister, your Federal Members regarding our military ties with Indonesia in relation to their behaviour on the ground.

Crisis for The Church in Australia

Will we as a church support the effort for structual change, that is push for self-determination for the WP? Making an occasional cry about human rights will no longer cut it and Christians in WP expect more from you. From us. What this church or the churches you belong to can do to fight structual evil is to support the WP push in Washington and New York that will help lead towards the actual voice of the West Papuans themselves being heard.

Herman Wainggai is going soon, I will be going on Nov 6 and some others to the conference The Washington Solution on Nov. 9.

6. Crisis for The International Community via the UN

This is the crisis that’s awaiting them.

Someone will take up our issue of the Int Court of Justice ruling on the legality of Ind’s takeover of WP. This is uncomfortable territory.

The prophet Amos declared the Lord will arise when violence is perpetually brought against a people. Jesus announced in his sermon the freeedom for the oppressed.
The writer to the Hebrews in ch 13 says remember those in pison and suffering, and join Jesus who has gone out of the security and safety of the camp to suffer with him