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.

Open letter to the Government of Indonesia

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:

  1. 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;
  2. Indonesia releases political prisoners and allows international media, NGOs and observers into West Papua;
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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