Slow genocide amid Islamisation of West Papua

A Catholic report has identified a slow motion genocide happening in West Papua amid a growing Islamisation of the area.

The report was compiled by the Brisbane Catholic Justice and Peace Commission’s Shadow Human Rights Fact Finding Mission to West Papua.

It came after a visit to West Papua last month by Josephite Sr Susan Connelly, and Brisbane archdiocese’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission executive officer Peter Arndt.

They interviewed more than 250 community leaders in Japapura, Merauke, Timika and Sorong.

The report has not yet been publicly released, nor has comment been sought from Indonesian authorities.

Allegations of recent Indonesian military and police intimidation, beatings and torture, kidnapping and murder in West Papua are made in the report.

Sr Connelly likened her visit to West Papua to “stepping back 20 years when I first went to East Timor”.

“The same oppressive security presence everywhere, the same suspicion, bewilderment, frustration and sadness,” she said.

In the 1970s, ethnic Papuans accounted for 96 per cent of the population in West Papua.

Today they are a minority 48 per cent, because of the rapid migration of Indonesians from other more populated islands such as Java.

The report found that Papuans were now marginalised economically at the expense of immigrants, the majority of whom are Muslims.

The report said there was “a movement for Muslims from Indonesia to replace Papuans in every sector”.

“The Indonesians want to replace the Christian religion with Islam.

“Many mosques are being built everywhere. They want Papua to be a Javanese Malay nation,” the report said.

The report documents Muslims being radicalised in the once predominantly Christian Papuan provinces, and “very active” Muslim militias that burn down Papuan houses.

The report also documents religious, social and economic discrimination, including the carving up of land for major developments, which benefit multinationals and exclude Papuans.


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News category: Asia Pacific.

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