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News that two French journalists have been arrested in West Papua should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the way the Indonesian government traditionally deals with threats to its authority.
Thomas Dandois and Valentine Bourrat were arrested on August 6th, allegedly for working in the province without a proper journalist visa. The pair were shooting a documentary for the Franco-German TV channel Arte on the separatist Free Papua Movement (OPM), which has for years waged a low level insurgency campaign against the Indonesian government.
Since it gained its independence from the Dutch after World War II, and certainly since the Suharto regime came to power in the 1960s, Indonesia has traditionally taken a firm stance against any internal dissent. The most well known example occurred in East Timor in the 1970s; only it wasn’t so well…
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West Papua’s claim to self-determination is gaining grounds internationally. But for this to become a reality, more Melanesian leaders must show brave and principled leadership
More details at The Guardian.com
The History of West Papua, as a region and not a province, refers to the history of the Indonesian western half of the island of New Guinea and other smaller islands to its west. The eastern half of the island is Papua New Guinea.
Human habitation is estimated to have begun between 42,000 and 48,000 years ago. Trade between New Guinea and neighboring Indonesian islands was documented as early as the seventh century, and archipelagic rule of New Guinea by the 13th. The Netherlands made claim to the region and commenced missionary work in nineteenth century. The region was incorporated into the Indonesian republic in the 1960s. Following the 1998 commencement of reforms across Indonesia, Papua and other Indonesian provinces received greater regional autonomy. In 2001, “Special Autonomy” status was granted to the region, although to date, implementation has been partial. The region was divided into the provinces of Papua and West Papua in 2003.
More go to Wikipedia
Fresh hope that Indonesia would allow foreign journalists and observers freely into occupied West Papua, appear to be unfounded.
The governor of West Papua, Lukas Enembe, said on Wednesday that he wanted to welcome reporters and NGOs into West Papua for the first time in decades.
“There’s nothing that needs to be covered up. That would only raise questions. They can see the development we have made and inform others that Papua is a safe place,” he said.
His promise was immediately seized upon by Australian Greens Senator Richard Di Natale, one of the Parliamentary Friends of West Papua group. He said he had been planning to visit the area anyway, and, in the wake of the governor’s comments he would “invite a delegation of journalists and human rights representatives to join me on the trip”.
But the hope for fresh openness was quickly squashed by the central government…
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