A recent fact-finding mission described a “slow-motion genocide” taking place in West Papua, warning that its indigenous population is at risk of becoming “an anthropological museum exhibit of a bygone culture”. Since the Suharto dictatorship annexed the region in 1969, an estimated 500,000 West Papuans have been killed in their fight for self-rule. Decades of military and police oppression, kidnapping and torture have created a long-standing culture of fear. Indonesia’s Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence (Kontras) has logged 1,200 incidents of harassment, beatings, torture and killings of Papuans by Indonesian security forces since 2014. The Brisbane Archdiocese’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission warned of the risk of genocide, is calling on Indonesia to allow Papua, once and for all, the right to self-determination.
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