From the Wet’suwet’en to West Papuans: Continuing indigenous peoples’ struggles: Page 2 of 3
their way of life. [xviii]Brazil has almost 900,000 indigenous peoples.
The liberation agenda in West Papua
West Papuans have continued to defend their right to self-determination and liberation, andto resist the militarist attacks of the Indonesian state. West Papua has been annexed as a province of Indonesia since the 1960s after an era of Dutch colonisation. Activists and armed movements cry for an end to the long history of rights violations by the Indonesian state, the mining plunder by United States TNC Freeport-McMoran, and other obstacles to a “free West Papua”. [xix]
In December 2018, after more than 20 supposed military personnel fell from armed actions of the West Papuan National Liberation Army (TPNPB), the Indonesian government intensified military operations in the Nduga region. The Indonesian government claimed that the TPNPB killed civilian construction workers. The TPNPB however point to how the Indonesian military personnel were constructing a bridge in the area for military strategic use. [xx] Other independence leadershave asserted that they “cannot trust the Indonesian government’s account about Nduga, or any incidents in regard to West Papua.” [xxi]
By January 2019, West Papuan activists have increasingly called attention to the resulting “crackdown”and “humanitarian crisis” in Nduga, and called to end military operations [xxii] which saw cases of torture, killings, displacement by the thousands, [xxiii][xxiv] and alleged use of banned white phosphorus weapons. [xxv] Independence activists have also launched protests in December 2018 despite arrests by the hundreds, raising West Papuan flags deemed illegal by the Indonesian state. [xxvi] Other groups have also sent a petition of 1.8 million signatures to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, calling for a referendum on the subject of independence. [xxvii]
The Lumad struggle continues
In December 2018, the Philippine congress extended martial law – military rule – in the whole southern island of Mindanao for another year. [xxviii] In January 2019, two Lumad farmers from the Manobo tribe were killed allegedly by the Philippine army. The military claims that the two were killed amid military clashes with Maoist revolutionary guerrillas of the New People’s Army (NPA), a claim disputed by rights groups as the two were unarmed civilians. [xxix] Another incident showed the arrest of a Lumad leader and a peasant leader in the region on the common military allegations of links with Maoist guerrillas.
The same month, more than 300 from Lumad communities in the province of Surigao del Sur were displaced due to military bombings and a series of military harassment. Those displaced include around a hundred students of local indigenous peoples schools,Tribal Filipino Program of Surigao del Sur (TRIFPSS). [xxx] This follows a July 2018 case where around 1,500 were displaced due to military encampments in indigenous communities.
Lumad groups have continued to assert their rights. With the assistance of lawyers’ groups, they have filed the fourth petition in the Philippines’ highest court to end martial law in Mindanao. [xxxi] In late January, some groups have travelled to the capital in Manila to raise their voices in opposition of the state rights violations and to