Freeport McMoRan copper and Gold should be closed down and the United States should be held responsible  for crimes against humanity and against the environment in Papua.

(JAKARTA, 09 November 2010) - The history of Papua is a history manipulated by the political and economic interests of other countries, especially the United States which eventually encouraged Indonesia to carry out the annexation of West Papua.  The political process that occurred prior to the implementation of the 1969 Act of Free Choice is a process in which the ideological interests of the world played an important role in the process of the history of Papua.  The Capitalist Bloc (the West) led by the United States and the Socialist Bloc led by the Soviet Union played a major political part in the political bargaining which led to the decisions concerning the political fate of the Papuan people up until today.

 On the one hand there was the United States which played a role in cutting off political access of the Dutch Government to its colony in West Papua and in encouraging the Netherlands to accept a project of political diplomacy drafted by American diplomat, Elsworth Buncker, which resulted in the so-called Buncker plan in which important political concepts were drawn in relation to the right to self-determination of the West Papua people.  The Buncker plan was at the origin of the famous document known as the New York Agreement (NYA) signed by the Dutch and the Indonesians, under the auspices of the United Nations, which established the technical principles regarding the implementation of a process of consultation of the people on their right to self-determination.  This so-called Act of Free choice (Pepera) took place in 1969 and it was unfair, undemocratic and highly discriminatory towards the people of Papua. 

In addition to playing the role of political diplomacy in the Western Block, the United States was also acting out of personal economic interests in order to safeguard its access to the natural resources in West Papua, an area extremely rich in natural gas, mining deposits, minerals, petroleum, forest products, fishery, plantations  and a number of other economic resources which proved to  be very profitable for the interests of the exploitation of foreign capital, especially for the United States, in Papua.  Evidently, the economic interest is Freeport McMoran Gold & Copper, with its basis in New Orleans, one of the largest mining company in the United States, a company which would later cause great problems concerning the political rights of the People of West Papua.  The political intervention of the United States and its behavior towards the Netherlands resulted in an insignificant political support from the Dutch with regard to protecting the right to self-determination of the people of West Papua.   Also the backing by the United States of the clique within the Indonesian army between 1965 and 1966 which facilitated the coming to being of the New Order authoritarian militaristic regime under the leadership of General Suharto, had as a direct result the annexation of West Papua, turning it into a colonized area for economic purposes, as well as a killing field where gross human rights violations were and still are perpetrated by the Indonesian army, an area fully controlled by the United States and the economic interests of the capitalists.

 It is common knowledge that the Freeport company funds the Indonesian military with billions of rupiahs to secure the exploration area of PT. Freeport. In a report from the New York Times entitled "The Cost of Gold, The Hidden Payroll: Below a Mountain of Wealth, a River of Waste" (27 Dec 2005)  it is clearly described how much dirty money is received by high-ranking Indonesian military.

Over the past 32 years of control over Papua by the militaristic regime of Suharto, there have been numerous cases of violations of human rights as a result of many Military Operations conducted in Papua.  This situation did not stop after the period of reform in Indonesia in 1998. Regime change was not accompanied by fundamental changes to the system in Indonesia. Evidence of continuous gross human rights violations by the Indonesian military forces up until today can be seen, as two torture videos were circulated on the Internet some time ago.  These two films depicting scenes of torture were published by the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), based in Bangkok, through the Youtube site. A few days later, after meetings with President Yudhoyono at the State Palace, Co-ordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs, Djoko Suyanto, confirmed in front of reporters that gross acts of torture had indeed been perpetrated by members of the military, on two civilians who were suspected of being members of the Free Papua Movement (OPM) in the District of Puncak Jaya, Papua. These cases of torture were committed by the Indonesian army, which has long established ties with the American Government in the field of military cooperation.

Considering the complexity of the problems in which Papua finds itself today, where there is no recognition of the democratic rights of the people of Papua, the Papuan Students Alliance states its position as follows:

1. Freeport McMoRan copper and Gold in the land of Papua should be closed down immediately and the United States should be held responsible for crimes against humanity and against the environment in Papua.

2. We demand that the Government of the United States, the United Nations and Indonesia be held accountable for the political conspiracy surrounding the 1969 so-called Act of Free choice, which was in effect a miscarriage of justice and morality, an act full of intimidation and manipulation.

3. We strongly call on the termination of the bilateral military cooperation between the United States and Indonesia.

4. We demand that there be a thorough and comprehensive resolution of all cases of human rights abuses.

5. We demand the withdrawal of the organic and non-organic military troops from Papua.

6. We demand the implementation of the right to self-determination or a referendum for the nation of Papua.

We raise these issues in our statement to the American government, Indonesia, the United Nations and all parties associated with the dark history of the Papuan people to date, so that they may address these matters of concern in an urgent manner.

 Jakarta, 9 November 2010
General Coordinator
Rinto Kogoya

From: Nick Chesterfield

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