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Papuan Genocide – Terror Targets Church

ICC Note: America is silent while Christian Papuans are annihilated by the Indonesian authorities.

By Elizabeth Kendal

9/21/07, Indonesia, (JOURNAL CHRETIEN) — Ones Keiya (31) was found dying beside a road in Nabire, West Papua, on the evening of 23 July 2007. He died in hospital hours later from injuries that included deep lacerations to his head, hands and feet as well as a smashed skull. Keiya was a local indigenous Papuan farmer and member of the Maranatha Kingmi Protestant Church . On 7 August, Matius Bunai (29), a youth worker with the Kingmi church, was also found dead with injuries the same as Keiya’s. He had been ambushed the night before on his way home from a church meeting. A church worker says the police are refusing to investigate the killings which the Papuan community is certain were committed by Indonesian security forces.

Indonesia has closed West Papua to the outside world and murdered its nationalist leaders. Security is controlled by known abusers of human rights and killers such as Colonel Burhanuddin Siagian, indicted for crimes against humanity in East Timor . In the midst of this dangerous, volatile and repressive environment, courageous church leaders risk their lives and use their networks and international connections to keep getting news of the Papuan genocide out to the world.

Rev Sofian Socratez Yoman is President of the Fellowship of West Papuan Baptist Churches. He is a courageous, outspoken critic of Indonesia ’s genocidal policies and human rights abuses in the province. On Sunday evening 29 July, a group of Indonesian police, soldiers and intelligence officers harassed and threatened him at gunpoint outside the Baptist Church service in Jayapura. Paula Makabory of the Institute for Papuan Advocacy & Human Rights warns, ’My organisation is very concerned about Sofian Yoman’s personal safety.’ According to Yoman, Indonesian military intelligence has infiltrated the church and is working to subvert and divide it. West Papua News and Information reports that on Sunday morning 2 September, Indonesian military, police and intelligence agents distributed leaflets throughout Jayapura picturing and defaming Sofian Yoman and Agus Alue-Aluay, Chairman of the Papuan People’s Council (Majelis Rakyat Papua MRP).

Since granting Special Autonomy to Papua in 2001 the Indonesian authorities have increased their repression and terrorisation of Papuans. The Indonesian military (TNI) frequently provoke clashes and fake incidents which they then cite to justify killings, massacres and ethnic cleansing. The Freeport killings at Timika in 2002 are one such example. Rev Ishak Onawame and two of his church workers, Esau Onawame and Yarius Kiwak are amongst seven Papuans languishing in Cipinang Prison, Jakarta , after being betrayed by the FBI (USA) and framed by the Indonesian courts to cover up TNI involvement in the killings (thus protecting Indonesian, TNI and US interests). The TNI has proposed that a third infantry division be sent to the province to monitor separatists and patrol borders. Furthermore, the Javanese Muslim immigrant population increases by some 5000 weekly.

The Papuan genocide is essentially about greed, corruption and exploitation of Papuan resources. However, it is also about Islamic imperialism and Javanese Muslim religious and racial hatred of the predominantly Christian indigenous Papuans. Whilst the Papuan genocide is being perpetrated by Indonesian hands, Western democratic ’Christian’ governments that promote liberty and rights are complicit. Though they once facilitated the evangelisation of the Papuans (one of the great mission stories of the 20th century) they are now by their silence supporting the Papuans’ annihilation, as economic and geo-strategic interests are deemed more important than human life or moral integrity.