West Papua lies 250 Km north of Australia. For over 45 years the people who live there have been fighting against the Indonesian military. They are ready to give their lives in order to obtain justice. The Indonesian authorities have banned foreign journalists from entering the area so the rest of the world can remain ignorant to the atrocities that have been going on.
Papuans have suffered years of oppression and hardship because of the Indonesian military occupation. It has been estimated that over half a million Papuans have been killed since the occupation began and thousands of others have fallen victim of human rights abuses— intimidation, rape, and torture.
An underground peoples liberation movement was formed in 1965. It incorporates various wings including militants. Their headquarters are deep in the jungle and the only way to communicate with them is by smoke signals, songs, and animal sounds.
West Papua’s integration in the Indonesian archipelago in the early 1960s is highly controversial. They were granted full independence by the Dutch empire in 1961, but were invaded by Indonesia a year later. The United Nations intervened by determining that an Act Of Free Choice should determine their fate. But of the one million Papuans only 1,026 were handpicked to vote and most were forced at gunpoint to vote in favor of the integration.
The members of a clan walk for four days to meet a foreign journalist because they want the world to hear their story. They want everybody to know that genocide is taking place.
Papuans share no cultural, ethnic, or historical ties with Indonesia despite Indonesian’s claims. In many parts of West Papua, migrants from different parts of Indonesia outnumber the indigenous populations. These migrants reject the indigenous people’s traditions and way of living and consider them to be primitive. This has produced a lot of resentment.
Most have fled their villages because the Indonesian military is mercilessly trying to wipe them out. They cry out to the world that somebody will do something to help them because they cannot continue to live like refugees in their own country. West Papua is a land that has 250 tribes spread out across nine regencies.
The freedom fighters are outnumbered by their oppressors, yet they are courageously taking up their arms, willing to defend the land they inherited from their forefathers.