Published: Tue, September 03, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Australians participating in West Papua demonstrations deported

Australians participating in West Papua demonstrations deported

The widespread protests by West Papuans haven't been confined to cities in Papua - they have also been witnessed in Javanese cities, notably the capital Jakarta.

"Indonesia will never grant independence if there is no pressure from global communities because of West Papua's resources", Tabuni said, adding that Indonesia and countries including the USA and the United Kingdom benefit from multinational cooperation interests in the region, in particular mining groups.

Indonesian authorities have arrested dozens for taking part in protests and banned demonstrations that could lead to what it described as "anarchist acts".

In January, Benny Wenda, an exiled West Papuan independence leader, delivered a petition signed by more than 1.8 million people calling for an independence referendum to the United Nations human rights chief Michelle Bachelet.

The demonstration was one of a series of rolling protests across Indonesia over the past two weeks, which have seen at least three people killed, and numerous government buildings set ablaze.

"Our leadership will sustain our country", he said, adding that West Papua's determination for environmental sustainability and the protection of the planet's natural resources will serve as a global example.

Indonesia has sent thousands of additional security forces to Papua and West Papua to try to quell the ongoing unrest.

"The Indonesian government's latest violent crackdown on the West Papuan people is appalling".

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In Indonesia's capital, Jakarta, a legal aid lawyer says police have charged two students with treasonous intent against the unity of the nation.

A day earlier, a soldier and two civilians were killed in clashes between security forces and protesters in the region's Deiyai district, authorities said, while activists said that seven civilians were killed. Indonesia's status as the largest economy of Southeast Asia and as the fourth most populous country in the world seems to be overshadowing its control over West Papua. West Papuans have simply been demonstrating against systematic racism and the colonisation of their country.

Britain granted Wenda political asylum in 2003 following his escape from custody while on trial in West Papua on politically motivated charges.

Furthermore, many of them feel that the region is underdeveloped, lacking in infrastructure as the Indonesian government prioritizes other non-Papuans. Information coming from the region is also sparse as an internet blackout remains in place.

West Papua became part of Indonesia through a rigged referendum.

Four Australians were deported from Indonesia's Papua region on Monday, the immigration department said, after they allegedly took part in demonstrations demanding independence for the restive province.

The Australians - identified as Tom Baxter, 37, Danielle Hellyer, 31, Ruth Irene Cobbold, 25, and Cheryl Melinda Davidson, 36 - were flown out of Papua to the island of Bali on Monday, Saputra said. "We are working hard to make sure that this Government does the right thing, just as it eventually did with Timor Leste, and supports your right to self-determination through a free and fair referendum".

Why is West Papua so important?

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