West Papua
A Papuan student protester holds a banner that reads, "Free Papuan People". (Image: EPA/Fully Handoko)

West Papua is in turmoil with the killing of 31 construction workers and a soldier, widespread protests and the arrest of 537 West Papuan activists across Indonesia. These events follow what West Papuan sources say have been the killing of numerous villagers in recent weeks.

Taken together, these events mark a significant escalation of the otherwise low-level conflict. In September, 1.7 million Papuans signed a petition calling for an act of self-determination, indicating that the desire for independence among indigenous West Papuans is as strong as ever.