The Australia West Papua Association condemns the killing of two West Papuan demonstrators in the Yahukimo regency on Tuesday the 15 March 2022.
A Benar news article reported that Indonesian security forces killed two people and wounded several more when they fired into a crowd of peaceful protesters numbering in the hundreds. The demonstrators had been protesting against the proposal to create new provinces in the territory.
Indonesian Home Affairs Minister Tito Karnavian has proposed dividing Papua into six provinces, Southwest Papua, West Papua, Central Papua, the Central Highlands, South Papua and Papua Tabi Saireri although the proposal is still being discussed.
Joe Collins of AWPA said, "more provinces mean more security forces in each province which will lead to more human rights abuses, more involvement of the security forces in resource extraction and from Jakarta's point of view a case of divide and rule". West Papua is already one of the most militarised areas of the archipelago.
- The division of West Papua is opposed by West Papuans and there have being ongoing protests against the division over the past week.
- On the 8th March hundreds of Cendrawasih University students took to the streets in a rally opposing the creation of new provinces in Papua.
- On Friday the 11 March 90 Papuan students were arrested during a protest near the Presidential Palace complex in Central Jakarta although later released.
- And in Wamena on the 10th March thousands took to the streets of Wamena protesting the division.
It was also reported that a number of shops were burned during the protest.
Joe Collins said, "it is tragic that nearly 60 years after Indonesian took over administration of West Papua from the UN in 1963, West Papuans are still being killed in peaceful rallies protesting against the injustice they suffer under Indonesian rule. It is also tragic that Canberra continues to ignore the ongoing human rights abuses committed by the Indonesian security forces in West Papua".