Media blind spot over West Papua
Indonesia is trying to build an international reputation as a nascent democracy and is proud of having been re-elected in 2007 to the United Nations Human Rights Council for a three-year term. But the problems in West Papua make this democratic reform story questionable. While Indonesiakeeps this troubled province off limits to foreign journaluists and human rights investigators, Indonesia’s human rights credibility should be critically examined. Indonesia’s incorporation of West Papua has been contested ever since it took control in 1963. West Papua’s fate was sealed by a 1969 ‘Act of Free Choice’ which is known as the ‘Act of No Choice’ by the Papuans, since it was carried out under extreme duress and only 1022 men were allowed to vote (Saltford, 2003). The province remains heavily militarised and opposition to Indonesia’s rule persists.
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