By Liam Fox on Pacific BeatShare
Protesters at a major defence expo in Brisbane have called on the world’s biggest weapons manufacturers to end sales to Indonesia over the conduct of its security forces in the contested West Papua region.
A major military operation is currently underway in Indonesia’s easternmost provinces of Papua and West Papua, sparked by the killing of a senior Indonesian intelligence official by the West Papuan Liberation Army, which has now been labelled a terrorist organisation.
West Papuan refugee George Dimara, was among the small but noisy crowd of protestors at the Land Forces Expo.
He who fled the contested region in 1984 because of what he said was persecution by Indonesian authorities.
He says companies that have profited from selling weapons and ammunition to Indonesia have blood on their hands.
“This money is from the blood, from the tears, from the sacrifice and suffering of West Papuan people,” he said.
Indonesian security forces have been dogged by allegations of widespread human rights abuses against Papua’s ethnic Melanesian population, including extrajudicial killings of activists in their efforts to crush armed independence groups.
Jason McLeod from the Make West Papua Safe campaign says pressuring weapons manufacturers directly could be more effective than trying to engage Australian politicians on the issue.
“We’ve had some 50 years in this country where our main focus has been on politicians and politicians have increasingly sided with the Indonesian government,” he said.
“What you’re seeing here at Disrupt Land Forces is a change in direction of targeting the commercial operators and raising the economic and political costs of the commercial operators”.
The office of the Chief of the Indonesian Army has been approached for comment.Duration: 5min 1secBroadcast: Thu 3 Jun 2021, 6:00am