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From dictatorship to democracy

Indonesia and West Papuan self-determination movements

Rechten: Alle rechten voorbehouden

From dictatorship to democracy

Indonesia and West Papuan self-determination movements

Rechten: Alle rechten voorbehouden

Samenvatting

The purpose of this dissertation is to determine how West Papua came to be a province of Indonesia and how the Indonesian government has treated its ethnically and culturally distinct indigenous population, and more specifically the Papuan self-determination movements which it gave rise to, from 1963 to 2014.
Between 1967 and 1998, Indonesia suffered under a brutal and corrupt dictatorship. Freedom of expression and association were widely restricted and dissent was not tolerated. West Papua, which was annexed by Indonesia in 1969 by a violation of international agreements, developed independence claims championed by an organised resistance and self-determination movement. This movement, and subsequently Papuans in general, were particularly targeted by repressive measures, including indiscriminate bombing, shooting, torture, rape and arbitrary arrest of civilians and insurgents alike. Over the years, hundreds of thousands of Papuans lost their lives as the authoritarian regime used force to secure its dominion of the province and to exploit its resources, denying the indigenous populations their right to life and respect. After the fall of the dictatorship, international organisations were able to better monitor the situation in West Papua, and have reported throughout the process of Indonesian democratisation that human rights violations were ongoing in West Papua, and that Papuans remain marginalised in society.
Data for this research project was obtained through qualitative research, with the help of search engines, databases and material from public libraries. The main sources were academic books, journals and publications, specialised reports published by human rights organisations and experts, journal articles, news articles and human rights organisations’ press releases.
Through the careful analysis and comparison of these sources, this research found that little has indeed changed since the fall of Suharto. While the government’s direct involvement and command of massacres has ceased, the military continues to act independently, killing and abusing Papuans for their opinions and affiliations to self-determination organisations, and these operations are cautioned by the government. Large communities are displaced, living in fear and poverty. The acts of violence conducted by the military and police, which are leading to the slow-motion eradication of the Papuan people, have been described by leading scholars as genocidal. Until the Indonesian government ceases to caution brutal military operations in West Papua and puts an end to military and police impunity, grave human rights violations will continue to occur in the province; and these authoritarian practices will keep the nation from completing its transition to democracy.

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OrganisatieDe Haagse Hogeschool
AfdelingESC Europese Studies / European Studies
Jaar2014
TypeBachelor
TaalEngels

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