The human rights situation in West Papua continues to deteriorate seriously in the run-up to Indonesia’s general election, says the Australian-based Institute for Papuan Advocacy and Human Rights.
Local people have been shot and critically injured, say human rights observers, in an operation they claim was organised by Indonesian security forces against West Papuan demonstrators in Nabire on 6 April 2009.
Nine people were confirmed to have been shot by security forces. A police officer was also wounded and many other protesters and police are reported to have suffered injuries.
Paula Makabory from Institute for Papuan Advocacy and Human Rights said: “Reports received from Nabire indicate that the violent confrontation that occurred on Monday between the security forces and pro-independence protesters was promoted by a pro-Indonesian militia member and other Papuans working with the Indonesian security forces.”
He continued: “The fact that there are reports that armed Indonesian security personnel were positioned in the buildings clearly suggests that this confrontation and the subsequent shooting and wounding of civilians, was planned and staged by the Indonesian security forces.”
“This incident occurred after two other pro-independence rallies which the police had attempted to prohibit. They involved around 15,000 local people in the town of Nabire and 10,000 in the Wamena district on Friday 3 April. Rally organizers ignored the attempted ban, claiming their right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression.”
The protesters at both rallies were supporting the launch of the International Lawyers for West Papua (ILWP) organisation and say they will boycott Indonesia’s general elections, demanding instead a referendum on self-determination.