Article – Pacific Media Centre
WEST PAPUA: Indonesian military escorts for MSG, arrests curb free expression of civil society leadersWEST PAPUA: Indonesian military escorts for MSG, arrests curb free expression of civil society leaders
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
JAYAPURA (West Papua Media/Pacific Media Watch): Indonesian military attack helicopters and dozens of armed soldiers “secured” the travel route in an attempt to stop Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) officials from seeing West Papuan protesters, activist sources reported.
A statement by the West Papuan National Committee (KNPB) said “Indonesia is so scared of a delegation” which it had entirely coordinated “that they did not even meet with any Papuan civil representatives”.
Tempo magazine reported more than 30 arrests, but activist sources on social media gave figures as high as 47 arrests.
KNPB has praised Vanuatu for refusing to participate in this “sham delegation” organised by Indonesia and led by the Fijian foreign minister have described how the MSG delegation has failed to monitor West Papua.
“The MSG delegation was escorted by the Indonesian military at all times. Does Indonesia really think that West Papuans wanted to kill their fellow Melanesian brothers and sisters?,” the KNPB said.
“All of the meetings the delegation attended were held in secret with almost only Indonesian government officials and not one of the delegates were even seen by a single West Papuan activist and 47 people who just protested peacefully were arrested and held until the delegation was already on its way back to Jakarta.
“This is hardly the “fact finding” mission to West Papua as was promised by the MSG in Noumea, Kanaky last year.”
The KNPB said events of this week showed a clear symbol to the world that Indonesia still had “much to hide in West Papua from the rest of the world”.
“Their evil being committed by Indonesia behind closed doors within West Papua [means] Indonesia is by no means a democracy,” KNPB said.
“The only hope now for democracy within the MSG is a resounding yes vote for West Papua’s membership.
“We must not let Indonesia interfere with our internal Melanesian politics ever again.”
According to Tempo, a total of 30 Free Papua activists were arrested by police when demonstrating outside the House of Representatives Office of Papua ( DPRP ) in Jayapura.
During the action, the demonstraters asked the MSG delegates to support Papuan membership.
One Papuan human rights activist, Markus Haluk, was seen taken to Jayapura Police Station .
The police claimed that the demonstrators did not have a permit for the demonstration.
“We just asked them for clarification … Nobody arrested , no beatings and intimidation when we conducted demonstrations of security,” Jayapura police chief Alfred Papare told reporters.