A helping hand

The Indonesian government would rather the world didn’t know what was happening in West Papua:

Indonesia’s defence minister wants to blacklist Australian Greens Senator Kerry Nettle from travelling to Papua, saying her presence could stir more violence in the restive province.

The New South Wales senator had hoped to go to Papua next month to assess the security situation following fierce clashes last week in which as many as four Indonesian police officers and an air force officer were bludgeoned to death by demonstrators.

But Defence Minister Juwono Sudarsono has asked the Indonesian Foreign Affairs Department to stop the visit taking place, the Koran Tempo daily reported.

“I prefer her not (to visit), because it will incite unnecessary controversy in the field,” Sudarsono told the paper.

Nettle is not the issue here, the Indonesian government is. Sudarsono’s advisor even suggests that Nettle was “indirectly linked” to the recent violence.

The Indonesian military is directly responsible, in the words of a Yale University study, for “a systematic pattern of acts that has resulted in harm to – and indeed the destruction of – a substantial part of the indigenous population of West Papua.” It is not surprising that the Indonesian establishment would rather not allow the international community access to their killing fields. Sadly, Australia has already stated its belief that West Papua is an integral part of Indonesia and refuses to support the independence movement. The East Timor experience has clearly taught them nothing.