Their story is more evidence that Christian children are being taken from West Papua and converted to Islam – a practice officially denied after being revealed in Fairfax Media’s Good Weekend magazine last year. It also makes clear for the first time that knowledge of the practice reaches high into the upper echelons of Indonesia’s political elite.
The religious conversion of any young child is illegal in Indonesia, and the United Nations deems any transfer of a minor, even for education, as trafficking.
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I have yet to download a conflict photo loaded with EXIF/IPTC verbal data identifying the camera used, the photographer, and photographer’s title and caption. Most often too, these incendiary images come out of the special interest press representing religious denominations and organizations that repeat their use or transpose images taken in one place to captions representing another event. The Free West Papua Campaign, however, insists itself on locating the specific photographer who took it, when, and where. It believes in the veracity of the image enough to question its exact provenance, and therefore I believe in its accuracy too.
UPDATE, OCTOBER 16, 2017: for those coming off third-party sites using the above photograph — one has actually disinformed its public by putting “Rohingya Muslims” in place of West Papuans in its headline — I’m no longer certain of the forensic quality of the photograph: the bodies look related in hands-behind-head security postures; the police could just be checking ID in a most humiliating manner; or there could be some mix of dead and living. One had to be there, of course, and the one who was there to take the picture has not apparently distributed the same with captioning data intact.
How BackChannels views the West Papua Conflict: on the border between the Muslim and Christian worlds, the indigenous of West Papua struggle to keep their culture and land intact, refusing forced conversion and assimilation to the Muslim-majority state whose international boundary has overrun their property.
As is common and familiar to Muslim-majority states worldwide, the tack pursued with regard to West Papuans has been than of cultural annihilation and political suppression.
Coming from an American of European descent, this layout of the story would seem hypocritical, for as West Papuans may be to Indonesia, so Native Americans would seem to have been to European colonizing forces. However, these days, the Native Americans of the United States have title to reservation as well private properties, the freedom to arrange themselves and worship as they see fit, and in all other aspects to own businesses and enjoy or hate the American tapestry as they see fit within the bounds of the common law, which codes revolve most around the freedom and security of all persons.
America’s Native Americans are not getting their continent back, of course, but they are supported in their endeavors related to the defense of culture, family, property, and religion, the same as any, and every, American.
Coming from a Jewish background that includes lending attention to Israel as the unique cultural, political, and religious homeland of the Jews, the bond between the true indigenous of a land and indigenous elsewhere might apply, albeit in the progressive Jewish manner with adaptation toward modernity — some things will stay with the people forever in freedom, and some (like cannibalism) may recede into history.
In the larger scheme, our planet supports 6,900+ living languages, and it loses a few each month: it should be sustaining those few and perhaps working to encourage separable language evolution or new language development although natural language behavior is not like biology: we’re just not going to ship a healthy population of humans to an island, cut them off from social commerce, and visit them again in a thousand years (if they have survived their own company).
JONAH WENDA (voiceover): They were picked from different places like school, gardens, on the road and even taken from their home and kill them and throw them in the bush.
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In May, Indonesia’s human rights record was assessed under the UN Universal Periodic Review. The government rejected key recommendations to review specific laws and decrees which restrict the rights to freedom of expression and thought, conscience and religion. In July, Indonesia reported to the CEDAW Committee. In November, Indonesia adopted the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration, despite serious concerns that it fell short of international standards.
Alleged mass killings in West Papua – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) – 5/24/2013: “Shootings have become so frequent that locals have taken to calling it the ‘Gaza Strip’.” / Indonesian counter-terrorist unit accused of mass killing in disputed Papua province – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) – 5/24/2013.
PM – More details emerge on West Papua massacre allegation 28/05/2013: “The Indonesian Embassy in Canberra has issued a blanket denial, describing the reported violence as rumours and lies. / But the ABC has been provided further information that tells a different story, as Peter Lloyd reports.”
Related to the history of the West Papua Conflict: Searching for the truth about a massacre in West Papua – 16/12/2013
(3) Free West Papua Campaign (Facebook).
Wamena – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia / Communal conflict in Wamena kills four | The Jakarta Post – 5/31/2014 / Mako Tabuni – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia / Approach on Papua slammed – 6/16/2012: “Meanwhile, Tabuni’s family collected the activist’s body from the Bhayangkara Police Hospital, ahead of the burial planned for Saturday in Wamena.” / Police urged to publicise the photo of Mako Tabuni’s bag | West Papua Media Alerts – 6/26/2012 /
A Message To The United Nations From The Family Of Opinus Tabuni – YouTube – 12/29/2012: “An estimated 100,000 Papuans having died since the Indonesian government took control of the disputed province in what is widely considered a sham 1969 United Nations observed referendum.”
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