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MSG Delegation Visits Papua Under Heavily Armed Guard

What Is Indonesia Hiding?

Jayapura, Papuan Province, Indonesia – 13 January 2014

A Delegation of Foreign Ministers of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) visiting the troubled province of Papua this date were met and escorted under heavy guard by the Joint Indonesian Military (TNI) and Indonesian Police (POLRI). Even peaceful demonstrations were banned by the Police. Around 46 indigenous Papuan activists were arrested in Jayapura for attempting to demonstrate, including well known figures Markus Haluk and Yusak Pakage. All are believed to have been released in the late hours of the afternoon.

The MSG Delegation’s visit is in response to an invitation from Indonesia in mid 2013 prompted by the MSG 19th Summit’s consideration of an application for membership by Papua in June 2013. An application which caused significant debate within the Summit at the time and since and which has seen ceaseless efforts during the last 6 months by Indonesia to undermine the application.

Members of the Indigenous Papuan community were not given even the slightest space to be able to access let alone meet with members of the MSG Delegation, who were heavily guarded every moment of their time in Papua. The Delegation met only with Government Officials from the Provincial level of Government. The Indonesian Government’s attitude was that they invited the MSG Delegation so it was the Government that would meet with them.

Students in the afternoon responded by blockading the main road leading from Jayapura city to the airport by burning tyres on the road. As there was no other road route to escort the MSG Delegation back to the airport so they were taken instead by Helicopter from the Military Headquarters.

By these means Indonesia has isolated Papua yet again. The Government has silenced the indigenous population of Papua and closed down any possible space for democracy. The MSG Delegation wanted to visit Papua to see the situation for themselves first-hand yet they have not been able to access the people.

The MSG Delegation was escorted by the Indonesian Armed Forces as if indigenous Papuans wanted to kill their fellow Melanesian brothers and sisters. Indigenous Papuans know and live by what is required by their culture and their religion and it’s absolutely absurd to even consider that they would harm or make things difficult for their Melanesian brothers and sisters visiting Papua. The culture of terrorists in this region is the culture of others and not of Papuans.

The events of this date in Papua tell the world that the State of Indonesia is still hiding something in Papua from the rest of the world. That something is the humanitarian evil that is being committed by the State of Indonesia against Indigenous Papuans. The events of this date in Papua also tell the world that the State of Indonesia is not yet mature in its practice of democracy.

ENDS

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