West Papuan unrest…

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Excerpts from:

Shocking murders uncovered by Human Rights Watch as protests in Papua intensify

Shocking scenes of violence and murder has been unearthed by Human Rights Watch as the situation in Papua dangerously deteriorates.

Staff writers, AFP

The exiled leader of Papua’s independence movement has warned of a possible bloodbath after weeks of unrest gripping Indonesia’s easternmost territory turns deadly.

As tens of thousands of protesters continue to gather across Papua following wide-scale uproar over a racist slur against Papuan students, calls for self rule fuelling mass demonstrations has ended in violent clashes between civilians and security forces.

Benny Wenda, chairman of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua, is pushing for “a free and democratic referendum” backed by the UN.

“We need the UN to intervene,” Wenda told AFP.

“It’s a new era and I’m confident that the world is beginning to notice what’s going on.”

A low-level separatist insurgency has simmered for decades in Papua, a former Dutch colony, after Jakarta took over the mineral-rich region in the 1960s. A vote to stay within the archipelago was widely viewed as rigged.

This week, Indonesia repeated its position that a new independence vote was a non-starter, and pointed its finger at Wenda for stoking unrest.

Wenda — who angered Jakarta by pushing for a UN rights probe and Papuan independence at a recent Pacific island forum — dismissed the government’s claims as “politically motivated.”

The majority of Papuans are Christian and ethnic Melanesian with few cultural ties to the rest of Muslim-majority Indonesia.

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Riots and demonstrations have brought several cities in Indonesia's eastern province of Papua to a standstill this week. Picture: Bay Ismoyo/AFP

Riots and demonstrations have brought several cities in Indonesia’s eastern province of Papua to a standstill this week. Picture: Bay Ismoyo/AFPSource:AFP

 

A firestorm of riots and protests broke across the Southeast Asian archipelago nation after the arrest last month of a dozen of Papuan students — who were pelted with racial abuse — in Indonesia’s second-biggest city Surabaya.

Five civilians and a soldiers have been killed in the chaos, but activists say the death toll is higher.

“(The unrest) is going to continue — I cannot stop it,” said Wenda, a former rebel granted asylum in Britain after escaping from jail in Indonesia where he faced murder and arson charges linked to a police attack.

“The people of (Papua) have asked them to look at the root of the problem, but the Indonesian government doesn’t want that. they just send more military.”

Indonesia has blocked internet access in unrest-hit Papua over fears that a stream of offensive and racists posts online will spark more violent protests in the region. Picture: Bay Ismoyo/AFP

Indonesia has blocked internet access in unrest-hit Papua over fears that a stream of offensive and racists posts online will spark more violent protests in the region. Picture: Bay Ismoyo/AFPSource:AFP

 

https://www.news.com.au/world/pacific/shocking-murders-uncovered-by-human-rights-watch-as-protests-in-papua-intensify/news-story/88f560f4a64ed645fb32ffbecccccdd4?from=rss-basic&utm_content=SocialFlow&utm_campaign=EditorialSF&utm_medium=Twitter&utm_source=News.com.au

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