Asia-Pacific

Jul 8, 2014

Prabowo an ‘apocalypse’, Jokowi a false promise: West Papuans opt out

West Papuan activists are boycotting the Indonesian election. Whoever wins, what will the result mean for their campaign for self-determination?

Sally Whyte — Political reporter

Sally Whyte

Political reporter

Tomorrow's Indonesian election will be especially tense in West Papua, where activist groups are calling for a boycott of the poll, and some have been arrested by the Indonesian military. The call for a boycott is led by the West Papua National Committee (KNPB), and a video released called "Boikot Pilpres 2014" (boycott election 2014) features five leaders of different activist groups, united in calling for a peaceful boycott. It features Benny Wenda, exiled founder of International Parliamentarians for West Papua, and political prisoners Victor Yeimo, Filep Karma and Forkorus Yaboisembut speaking from jail. There are also reports that activists have been treated with violence and that approximately 23 activists have been arrested. Dr Jim Elmslie, an expert on West Papua from the University of Sydney, says that locals are terrified of the military and "the boycott is not being promoted down the street, it’s a quiet campaign".

"What is interesting this time is the Indonesian police and military have been increasingly strident to people about the boycotts. They've made threats that they’ll shoot on sight people promoting the boycott. There’s a very high level of tension in West Papua at the moment," he told Crikey.

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1 comments

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One thought on “Prabowo an ‘apocalypse’, Jokowi a false promise: West Papuans opt out

  1. AR

    And why is Indonesia allowed to soil West Papua with its presence?
    Freeport, the world’s largest gold & 3rd largest copper mine in the world, >90% US owned, ’nuff said.

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