Following the recent tensions between Australia and Indonesia over West Papuan refugees – and Canberra’s appeasement of Jakarta – M. Wahid Supriyadi, consul-general for Indonesia, offers a perspective worthy of the Orwell Awards:
How can anyone accept claims that genocide has been occurring when the facts so obviously indicate otherwise? Let alone when we remember that we are living in the 21st century, in an age of global communications, when not a single untoward death in West Papua could possibly go unnoticed by the world’s media.
The Yale Law School released a report in 2003 that contradicts every point made by the Indonesian representative:
Since the so-called [1969 UN-supervised] Act of Free Choice, the West Papuan people have suffered persistent and horrible abuses at the hands of the Indonesian government. The Indonesian military and security forces have engaged in widespread violence and extrajudicial killings in West Papua. They have subjected Papuan men and women to acts of torture, disappearance, rape, and sexual violence, thus causing serious bodily and mental harm. Systematic resource exploitation, the destruction of Papuan resources and crops, compulsory (and often uncompensated) labour, transmigration schemes, and forced relocation have caused pervasive environmental harm to the region, undermined traditional subsistence practices, and led to widespread disease, malnutrition, and death among West Papuans. Such acts, taken as a whole, appear to constitute the imposition of conditions of life calculated to bring about the destruction of the West Papuans. Many of these acts, individually and collectively, clearly constitute crimes against humanity under international law.