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A Slow-Motion Genocide: Indonesian Rule In West Papua

A Slow-Motion Genocide: Indonesian Rule In West Papua

Dr Jim Elmslie and Dr Camellia Webb-Gannon

This paper examines and extends the debate on genocide in West Papua. Referring to the 1948 United Nations Genocide Convention, examples of genocidal acts are listed: killings, causing serious bodily and mental harm, the deliberate infliction of conditions of life calculated to cause the destruction of a group, and the forcible removal of children to another group. Whereas previous examinations of the issue have failed to prove intent on the part of the Indonesian Government – a necessary pre- requisite under the Convention – this article finds that such intent exists. The authors show that West Papua has suffered a military occupation since 1962-63 under which the West Papuan people have been treated as the enemy by the Indonesian armed forces. Explicit and implicit government policy has been consistently directed towards countering and eliminating Papuan attempts to create an independent state for their nation or enjoy political freedom on a par with other Indonesians. In this tightly controlled situation genocidal acts have been undertaken as government policy, effectively thwarting the Papuan nationalists in the era when information emerging from the province(s) could be tightly controlled. In this internet age, however, this is no longer possible, as evidence of both genocidal acts and government ‘intent’ is emerging. This augurs poorly for Indonesia and the region as the little known, but deeply entrenched, conflict in West Papua seeps into global consciousness as a ‘slow-motion’ Pacific genocide.

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ENDS

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