Thursday, 2 December 2004

UNfinished Business

(Facts largely Cross-posted from The Command Post)

The UN hasn't always had the Great and Glorious reputation (AHEM!) that it has today.

From The Australian :
Violence has flared in the capital of Indonesia's troubled province of West Papua as security forces moved to break up a flag-raising ceremony by independence supporters, a Sydney-based human rights monitor said today.

Five people were shot and wounded and at least 18 people arrested as 100 police dispersed the gathering at Trikora soccer field in Adepura, a suburb of Jayapura, just before 4.00pm (AEST) today, John Rumbiak, international spokesman for the Papuan human rights group Elsham, said.

Mr Rumbiak, who is now based in Sydney, said an Elsham human rights worker who witnessed the demonstration had been beaten as he tried to photograph the clash.
[...]
December 1 commemorates the first West Papuan national congress in 1961, organised by the then ruling Dutch as a preparation for independence.
[...]
Last month human rights advocates in Australia and Indonesia said a fresh military crackdown in the heavily-forested highlands district of Puncak Jaya had left eight people dead and forced thousands of locals tribespeople to flee their villages.

Indonesia's resource-rich easternmost province, formerly known as Irian Jaya, has been the site of sporadic violence since the early 1960s when Indonesia assumed control from the Dutch.

There were now more than 25,000 troops based in the province after a build-up over the last two years, Mr Rumbiak said.

Journalists are banned from entering the province.
Background:

The situation is complicated, because of the decades-long Indonesian policy of "re-settling" 1.2 Million ethnic Javanese from Indonesia in order to "assimilate" West Papua, which is, or was, almost entirely Melanesian. The Indonesians control the coastal strip - but the mountainous Jungles belong to the Melanesians, and many of them are in the Free Papua Movement.

The rest of the Island of New Guinea consists of Papua (formerly British New Guinea, under Australian control from 1906 till independence in 1975), and New Guinea (formerly German New Guinea, captured in 1914 and under Australian control from 1914 till independence in 1975). Together they are the nation of Papua New Guinea.

Dutch New Guinea, now West Papua, was briefly self-ruling from December 1, 1961 until December 18, 1961, when Indonesia invaded and evantually annexed it.

From Wikipedia :
The agreement, ratified in the UN on September 21 1962, stipulated that authority would transer to a United Nations Temporary Executive Authority (UNTEA) on October 1, and that UNTEA would hand the territory to Indonesia on May 1, 1963, until such time as a UN-conducted "Act of Free Choice" could determine the will of the people.

Since 1962 consistent reports have surfaced of programs of suppression including killings, imprisonments, and aerial bombardments. The Indonesian government disbanded the New Guinea Council, and forbade the use of the new flag or the singing of the national anthem. There has been considerable resistance to Indonesian integration and occupation, both through civil disobedience (such as Morning Star flag raising ceremonies) and via the formation of the quasi-military Organisasi Papua Merdeka (OPM, or Free Papua Movement) in 1964.
[...]
In 1969 Indonesia conducted the widely criticized "Act of Free Choice". Public voting was deemed to be unnecessary and the Indonesian military selected representatives, provided them with some training in the Indonesian language, and encouraged the representatives to provide a public vote for the assembled troops and two western observers. The observers left after witnessing the first two hundred votes for integration. This procedure was deemed to have been an "Act of Free Choice" in accordance with the United Nations requirements and Indonesia formally annexed the territory in August.
The last time Indonesian troops started massacring demonstrators for Independence was in East Timor - which led to a public outcry in Australia, and military intervention which swiftly liberated the place. Intervention only "legitimised" ex-post-facto by the UN, and rather more unilateral than not, at least, initially. Australia has in the last week pointedly refused to sign a "non-aggression" pact with ASEAN - and Indonesia.

Let's hope that the situation can be resolved peacefully. And by "resolved", I don't mean "swept under the carpet for 25 years". The rights of the Indonesians who have settled the place in good faith should be respected. Part of New Guinea has been irrevocably alienated, it's now Indonesian in every way. The Muslim Javanese should be granted their own state (as part of Indonesia, if they wish) comprising those parts of the country which have been thoroughly Indonesiated, possibly including enclaves. The rest - will probably join PNG, or whatever the Papuans want. Or perhaps some other solution might suggest itself. One thing's for sure, the situation there now isn't working.

Parallels (and distinguishing differences) with the situation in Israel are striking, aren't they?



2 comments:

Amoranthus said...

I always find it a little comical to see an australian article complaining about civil and human rights problems in other countries.

In this country which does not dare guarantee human and civil rights to even its own citizens, that's a grand hypocrisy. Another example of Australia living the "Big Lie".

This is a country where the first thing they teach you about starting a business is "networking" or "mateship", -- or more simply corruption.
Any illegal or cruel act, by anyone at any level of business or government, is morally sound to Australians in the name of mateship.
Jobs are not found by quality or experience, but by knowing someone. The pretense of "Merit and Equity" is so deeply ingrained in the society that the school system teaches this petty and pandemic corruption to students by example daily.

Before you draw parallels with Israel, Indonesia, or any other country, why don't you look at the many ways your own nation is deeply corrupted?

There have been articles in the papers the last couple of days about "80 Australians" threatened by Howard's anti-terrorism reforms. Look at little closer at the many ways prejudice and bias have been implemented deep in policy(funding) and practice in Australia.
Implement the reality of civil and human rights in Australia first. You'll find plenty of problems right here.

You can start with the implementation of intervention orders -- Do you really believe 87% of Australian men are abusive?;
or the legal void that any emigrant to this country finds themselves -- Aren't those detention centers really medium-security prisons?;
or Tell me again why there has to be a law specifically against abusing the elderly in their own homes? -- Because there is no agency, police force, ombudsman, or other protection that protects the right to live in peace in their own homes. The same is true for the injured and disabled.
I guess someone will just have to try to make a law to protect them now...

Do I really have to go on?

Amoranthus said...

Hint: It's not just 80 Australians exposed to inhuman and uncivil new laws. All it would require is one bored policeman or magistrate, and it is every person -- man, woman, or child.