West Papua: things are not getting 'better' for us

During the second world war, the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels of West Papua famously came to the aid of Australian military personnel. Now it is the West Papuans that need Australia’s help
If West Papuans were free to express themselves as they wished, they would demand the restoration of our sovereignty'. Photograph: Ulet Ifansasti/Getty

Ever since West Papua was annexed and colonised by Indonesia in 1969 through a referendum ironically called the Act of Free Choice (we call it the Act of No Choice), my people have endured nothing but violence, hardship and human rights abuse. Maybe Australia’s prime minister Tony Abbott would then care to explain how things in West Papua are “better, not worse”, as he recently stated? Is it possible to have a better state of colonialism? Has Indonesia created a better state of fear? Better forms of intimidation? Better ways to suppress free speech?

If the situation is indeed getting better, why is it that the Indonesian government imposed a ban on international media and human rights groups from entering the region – which the West Papua governor said was lifted only yesterday? Surely if there was nothing to hide, it would be in their interests to open the gates and let observers in. The truth is that they are desperate to hide the reality of life there, less than 200km north of Australia’s shores.

Source : .theguardian.com

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