TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Human rights lawyer Veronica Koman said that the United States is also responsible for the dark history of Papua recorded in the U.S. declassified files.
“The United States knew about violations of the right to self-determination and war crimes in Papua, but it did nothing,” she said.
Veronica said that the U.S. failed to address the frauds in a referendum (Perpera) in 1969. Having brokered the New York Agreement on August 15, 1962, leading to the Pepera, the U.S. did not oversee its implementation.
Based on the New York Agreement that was agreed by the UN, the U.S., the Netherlands and Indonesia, the Pepera adopted the one man, one vote system. In reality, Veronica said, the referendum only involved 1,220 out of 800,000 then-Papua population. “They turned a blind eye,” she said.
Moreover, the U.S. also ignored the massacre of Papuans in 1967 as stated in the declassified files. The Indonesian military also allegedly committed gross human rights violations as retaliation for the attack against two of its personnel by Papuans.
The declassified U.S. files say that Papuans asked the U.S. favor to fund and arm them against the Indonesian military in mid-1960. The files also recorded Papuan grievances about clashes with Indonesian security forces. Papuan nationalists have caught the attention of the United Nations (UN).
As for Indonesia, Veronica considers the declassified US files on the history of the Papua independence struggle as a gift for Indonesia. The files reopened one of Indonesia’s dark pasts, especially regarding human rights violation. She argues that the issue is similar to the alleged human rights violation of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) massacre on September 30, 1965. “The files’ disclosure means that Indonesia has two historical issues that must be solved,” she said.
M YUSUF MANURUNG