|The Morning Star flag ... symbol of West Papuan independence and |
freedom and "illegal" in Indonesia. IMAGE: CNN Indonesia
By DAVID ROBIE
Branding armed Papuan resistance groups as “terrorists” has sparked strong condemnation from human rights groups across Indonesia and in West Papua, some describing the move as desperation and the “worst ever” action by President Joko Widodo’s administration.
Many warn that this draconian militarist approach to the Papuan independence struggle will lead to further bloodshed and fail to achieve anything.
Many have called for negotiation to try to seek a way out of the spiralling violence over the past few months.
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Ironically, with the annual World Press Freedom Day being observed on Monday many commentors also warn about the increased dangers for journalists covering the conflict.
Setara Institute for Peace and Democracy chairperson Hendardi (Indonesians often have a single name) has criticised the government’s move against “armed criminal groups” in Papua, or “KKB)”, as the Free Papua Movement (OPM) armed wing is described by military authorities.