Sunday January 22 2006 7:45am WST
For Immediate Release
"Killings and violence by Indonesian police and TNI in West Papua constitute a 'well-established pattern' that has been going on for four decades since the hand-over of West Papua by the Dutch and the 'Act of Free Choice' referendum, a recently commissioned report by the Dutch government states - and this report was published just one month ago," WA Rights group Project SafeCom says.
The government of the Netherlands commissioned Professor Pieter J. Drooglever to review the issues of the hand-over by the Dutch, led by the then foreign minister Joseph Luns to the Indonesian government with assistance by the United Nations, at the time under Secretary-General U Thant, and the report became public in December 2005 under the Dutch title of "Een Daad van vrije Keuze" (An Act of Free Choice).
[ Online summary available at http://tapol.gn.apc.org/reports/droogleverengsum.htm ]
Professor Drooglever, although he does not endorse it, states in his report that "A legal research group linked to Yale University found, in their report from 2003, the facts which had become known to them sufficiently serious to use the ominous word genocide to describe the situation", and he admits that "...according to the statements of Papuans with a considerable knowledge of what was going on, not a day went by during the following decades when no one died or no one was seriously mistreated."
In addition to Professor Drooglever's report, the well-regarded New Internationalist magazine dedicated an issue to the West Papua situation in 2002, and in the overview of the country's history, reporter Chris Richards writes: "Officially, more than 100,000 have died. Unofficially, the estimate is 800,000."
"The situation in West Papua is equal to that of East Timor under Indonesian rule, because the methods of "rule" in Indonesia have always blatantly disregarded any sense of natural justice, fairness and human rights, and to make matters worse, the Freeport Mining interests provides a massive financial reason for Indonesia to quell any independence-related unrest, and in this they, as the media have shown in the last decade, are ably assisted by the mining companies."
"The 12 July 1999 ABC Four Corners Program 'Blood on the Cross'** where Mark Davis investigated allegations about the role of the International Red Cross and the British military in a massacre in the Southern Highlands of Irian Jaya in May 1996 is an example of the killings and complicity of mining companies in this."
** link to ABC transcript http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/stories/s39706.htm
"Last week's aggressive press release about by the Chamber of Commerce in Cairns, where the Chamber recommended that the Howard government adopt a hard-line approach to the asylum seekers from West Papua may well have been the first voice of these interests."
"It is imperative that the Howard government starts developing an open voice about the human rights abuses in West Papua, 'without fear or fervour' in the context of its economic relationships with the mining industry or other commercial interests, in the context of the West Papuan refugees as well as in its bi-lateral relationship with Indonesia in general."
Summation of the issues are now available on the Project SafeCom website at
For more information:
Jack H Smit
Project SafeCom Inc.
[phone number posted]