Open Letter

Indonesian police arrest attendees of the Third Papuan People Congress in Abepura. October 2011.
Indonesian police arrest attendees of the Third Papuan People Congress in Abepura. October 2011.

We academics from around the world express extreme concern about the prevalence of human rights abuses carried out by Indonesian security forces in West Papua.

Since 1969, the Indonesian army has routinely fired into non-violent demonstrations, burned down villages and tortured civilian activists and bystanders.

Despite being routinely barred from the provinces, independent observers like Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Tapol have all documented severe and endemic human rights violations by Indonesia across West Papua. Indonesian special forces and counter-terrorism units like Kopassus and Detachment 88 – trained by Western countries – are implicated in beatings, extra judicial assassinations and mass killings.

Such a heavy military presence, combined with racism and structural economic discrimination against the indigenous Papuan population, can only result in conflict and abuse.

We therefore call upon the government of Indonesia and our own governments to take urgent and effective action to ensure that:

The Indonesian military swiftly withdraws from West Papua and that Indonesia demilitarise the region as a first step towards a peaceful resolution to the conflict;

Indonesia releases political prisoners and allows international media, NGOs and observers into West Papua;

The international community takes a firm stance on human rights abuses in West Papua and calls for Indonesia to respect the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Indonesia is a party.

Military and police training and arms exports for Indonesia are terminated until human rights abuses in West Papua cease, including Australian, American, British, Canadian, Dutch, New Zealand,  training and funding of the Indonesian police’s counter-terrorism unit, Detachment 88, at the Jakarta Centre for Law Enforcement Cooperation.

Indonesia and the International Community recognise the historic injustice of the 1969 ‘Act of Free Choice’, by which the population of West Papua was denied its right to self determination and coerced into joining Indonesia, and that they take steps to address the historic injustice in a manner supported by the majority of Papuans.     You can sign the open letter here.  

Noam Chomsky, Professor Emeritis, MIT
David Graeber, Professor, London School of Economics and Political Science
Michael Webb, Lecturer, University of Sydney
Camellia Webb-Gannon, Research Fellow, Western Sydney University
Helen Gardner, Associate Professor, Deakin University
Grant McCall, Affiliate, University of Sydney
Nicholas Lawrence, Associate Professor, University of Warwick
Marcus Campbell, University of Sydney
Stephen Hill, Emeritus Professor, University of Wollongong
Julian McKinlay King, Researcher, West Papua Project, University of Sydney
Thomas Petersson, Senior Lecturer, Mälardalen University
Robert Amery, Senior Lecturer, University of Adelaide
Grant Walton, ANU
Selogadi Mampane, Part-time Lecturer, Vega University
Cornelis Mara, University of Papua
Megan Williams, Senior Lecturer, UTS
Michael Atkins, Lecturer, City of Bristol College
Vivienne Yeki, Teacher, Christchurch Teachers College
Adeline Cooke, Visiting Lecturer, University of Central Lancashire|
M Sanjeeb Hossain, Doctoral Candidate and Commonwealth Scholar, University of Warwick
Muhsina Chowdhury, PhD Candidate, University of Warwick
James Elmslie,  Honorary Research Fellow, University of Sydney
Mark Harris, Visiting Associate Professor, University of British Columbia
Jason MacLeod, Lecturer, Peace and Conflict Studies, Sydney University
Abror torik Tanjilla, Udayana University
Terry LeBlanc, Director, NAIITS:An Indigenous Learning Community
Ahmad Subhan, Lecturer, UIN Raden Fatah Palembang
Jafar Suryomenggolo, Assistant Professor, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies
Lisabeth Ryder, former Lecturer, UCLA
Keith Hyams, Associate Professor, University of Warwick
Uri Gordon, Lecturer, University of Nottingham
Tom Greaves, Senior Lecturer, University of East Anglia
Kieran Oberman, Lecturer, University of Edinburgh
Patrick Kaiku, Lecturer, University of Papua New Guinea
M. Yunis Yunia, Lecturer, Andalas University
Pingtjin Thum, University of Oxford
Koshka Duff, Assistant Professor, University of Nottingham
Simon Hewitt, University of Leeds
William McEvoy, Senior Lecturer, University of Sussex
Katharine Jenkins, Assistant Professor, University of Nottingham
Janosch Prinz, University of East Anglia
Craig French, Assistant Professor, University of Nottingham
Fabian Freyenhagen, Professor, University of Essex
Kathryn Maude, Assistant Professor, American University of Beirut
Gregory Mason, Lecturer, University of Nottingham
Aspasia Velissariou, Professor, University of Athens~
Andrew Chitty, Lecturer, University of Sussex
Jennifer Sheehy-Skeffington, Assistant Professor, London School of Economics and Political Science
Thalia Trigoni, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Cyprus
Michael Tyquin, Freelance historian, Australia