No Genocide in Papua

No Genocide in Papua

Why are there always many provocative narratives in Papua? Why are the Papuans always politicized for some momentary interests? Why must all problems in Papua be blown up to the media? And how can we create a peaceful journalism in Papua?

This article intends to comment another article that I see quite provocative and agitative entitled “Genosida sedang terjadi di Papua, Akses PBB dan Media Asing Dibatasi” published in

The main messages of that article are: first, have you ever heard about genocide in Papua of Indonesia? Many have not heard such news from Papua and a few know what exactly happens there – and this is what the Indonesian Government wants and such condition will be maintained to protect the secret (extermination efforts of the indigenous people of Papua).

Second, since the armed forces entered the territory of Papua and since then have operated for more than fifty years (50 years), the Indonesian government has cut the access of all media. Access for foreign journalists who want to report the situation in Papua has been limited. Those who have entered Papua with tourist visa have been deported, arrested and even imprisoned. Local reporters got worse luck, they have been threatened, intimidated, beaten, and forcedly disappeared or killed.

Third, the Indonesian government clearly does not want anyone to know what they are doing in Papua. More than 500,000 civilians have been killed in the genocide of the indigenous population. Thousands more have been raped, tortured, imprisoned or “disappeared mysteriously” after being arrested. Entire villages have been destroyed, an entire generations were wiped out. Basic human rights such as freedom of speech and expression are rejected and Papua is in a state of distress.

Fourth, the ban on foreign journalists and world humanitarian organizations is intended to cover the atrocities being committed against the indigenous population. International humanitarian agencies and non-governmental organizations have been pressured to close their office and leave Papua.

Fifth, access to UN human rights observers has been closed for eight years. Also, access for journalists, humanitarian agencies and human rights observers is often pressured. They must not raise all the issues the Indonesian government has managed to hide in all areas of Papua. President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) in 2014 in his campaign said that the Indonesian government did not hide anything in Papua and promised to facilitate access for foreign journalists, humanitarian agencies, and human rights organizations. But until now, President Jokowi has not fulfilled those promises.

According to an anonym observer of Papua issue who resides in Papua, the narratives are very provocative and discrediting the Government of Indonesia. The article allegedly intentionally created by a group of Papuan independence movement as a propaganda material to illustrate that Papua is in severe condition, but in reality Papua is quite safe and conducive.

Foreign Press

Anyone still remember? On August 6 of 2014, the news was dominated by the arrest of two foreign journalists from France due to visa misuse. Thomas Dandois and Valentine Bourrat only had a tourist visa respectively, but they conducted journalistic activities in Wamena, Papua. The local security forces suggested that both of them could pose a security instability in Papua, then they both were transferred to Jayapura (08/08/2014), Papua for further processing. The arrest raised the pros and cons from various circles. Aliansi Jurnalis Indonesia (AJI) and the Press Council demanded the release of the two French journalist as they had evidently no affiliation with separatist groups in Papua as alleged by the local security forces.

The demand to release the French journalist was certainly not easy to meet since this problem was not only concerning the press. This problem concerned the interests and the authority of the state to be able to control and monitor the activities of foreigners who were considered to destabilize the national security. Fears of the indications that there might be provocation within the people of Papua and the government should become an early detection for the local security forces. Therefore, the unity and integrity of the nation of Indonesia as a sovereign state will not be easily undermined by foreign interests.

The government in this case needs to prioritize legal process, so that the questions or rumors related to journalists from France whose identity and immigration documents were not clear could soon be clarified, including to the Embassy of France in Jakarta. Because I am sure that if there are journalists from Indonesia being caught in another country due to some violations, they must also be prosecuted by the country.

In addition, the trip of the two French journalists was also marred by “a couple of lies”. In fact, the Indonesian government is quite open to foreign journalists to do reporting in Papua or West Papua, as long as they enter the region in a “respectable manner and do not lie” and not conduct any activity other than journalistic activity so that they will not be deported.

A number of organizations in Papua and West Papua seem to constantly play political maneuver to internationalize the Papua issue by exploiting human rights violations in West Papua and Papua as a central issue, although the Papuan activists are always unable to provide a strong evidence of human rights violations occurring in Papua.

In April 2014, there were rumors among the Papuan activists that they actually knew if the European Parliament put concern for the problems in Papua and West Papua, especially the case of human rights violations because Baroness Catherine Ashton (High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy) has also been informed. But strangely, one of the European Parliament member suggested that the typical rumors or babbles are often delivered by the members of European Parliament and Comprehensive and Partnership Cooperation Agreement (PCA) to Baroness Catherine Ashton, thus such things do not have any political impact. In fact, the European Parliament officially supports NKRI.

I believe that the existence of or access for foreign journalists, foreign organizations, even the United Nations will help to solve the problems in Papua, yet they might also exploit it as happened before that can be seen in the article entitled “Genosida sedang terjadi di Papua, Akses PBB dan Media Asing Dibatasi”, published through that was obviously not a product of journalism or academic writing, because it was full of lies.

However, the press in Papua and West Papua has a significant role to maintain peace and the course of development in Papua, including the integration of Papua into the Republic of Indonesia by promoting peace journalism, not journalism that full of lies, agitating and provocative. Hopefully.

A. Rahman is a Papua issues and current affairs obsever. He also actively researches on mass communication in Galesong Institute, Jakarta.


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