Violence continues despite call for peace

February 12, 2004

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Papua has been besieged by conflict for the past four decades, with an estimated 100,000 tribal people killed during that time. Indonesia's brutal occupation has led to a low level resistance movement which is viciously suppressed by the army. Now tribal elders, human rights organisations, church groups, rebel leaders and even the police and navy are working together in support of a peaceful solution to Papua's problems – an initiative they call ’the zone of peace'. However, the Indonesian military and the central government in Jakarta are determined to undermine this process and resolve the conflict by violent means.

Despite the rebel leaders' commitment to peaceful dialogue the military buildup and killings continue in Papua. Ten people were killed and six, including a 6 year old boy, injured in just one incident in November. The government plans to split Papua into three provinces, bring in more troops and increase the army's control. Human rights violations are rife and the intimidation of human rights workers is intensifying, encouraged by senior army and government officials who state that respect for human rights must be sacrificed to keep Indonesia's territorial integrity.

Papuan Tribes