Responding to the uprisings which surrounded the 1977 general elections in Papua, several military operations were launched in the Papuan highlands around Wamena. The response caused a further breakdown in the Papuan–Indonesian relations which had fallen apart at that time. The operations resulted in mass killings of, as well as violence against civilians. The stories of survivors recall unspeakable atrocities including rape, torture and mass executions. Estimations of the number of persons killed range from 5,000 up to tens of thousands. The research done for this report is consistent with these numbers, although restricted access to the area and ongoing intimidation of witnesses makes it difficult to confirm an upper limit of the number of victims.
Despite assurances made to the contrary, there is nothing under the pacific sun that is new regarding Indonesia’s deadly and demoralizing tactics used to terrorize anyone who would dare exercise any small amount of press freedom.
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