How do they live?
West Papua (made up of the two provinces of Papua and West Papua) is the western half of the island of New Guinea and is distinct from the independent country of Papua New Guinea. It is home to around 312 different tribes, including some uncontacted peoples. The central mountainous region of Papua is home to the highland peoples, who practice pig husbandry and sweet potato cultivation.
The lowland peoples live in swampy and malarial coastal regions, and live by hunting the abundant game, and gathering.
Some of the many Papuan tribal languages are related to others, but some are unique. The people are ethnically distinct from the Indonesians who control their country.
What problems do they face?
All the Papuan peoples have suffered greatly under the Indonesian occupation which began in 1963. The Indonesian army has a long history of human rights violations against the Papuans, and the racist Indonesian soldiers generally view the Papuan people with racist disdain.
Papua’s natural resources are being exploited at great profit for the Indonesian government and foreign businesses, but at the expense of the Papuan peoples and their homelands.
When international companies come to Papua, the Indonesian military accompanies them to ‘protect’ the ‘vital projects’. The military presence is almost always associated with human rights violations such as killings, arbitrary arrests, rape and torture.
Those Papuans who protest against the Indonesian government, the military or ‘vital projects’ are even more likely to experience abuses of their human rights.
How can I help?
- Donate to Survival.
- Write a letter to the Indonesian government.
- Write to your MP or MEP (UK).
- Write to the President, your senators, congressmen or elected officials (US).
- Write to your local Indonesian embassy.
How does Survival help?
Survival is supporting the right of the Papuan peoples to live on their land in peace, by exposing, and protesting against, the human rights violations they experience, and by campaigning for their land ownership rights.
We support Papuan opposition to any harmful projects on their land and for the recognition of their land rights.
Survival is calling on the Indonesian government to end human rights violations and enter into dialogue with the Papuan people so that they are able to decide their own way of life and their future.
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News from the Papuan Tribes
Papuans killed as anti-racist protests continue
Papuans killed during anti-racism demonstrations in West Papua. Authorities respond with military crackdown and internet and phone blackouts.
Mass arrests in Papua as UN meets
Mass arrest in West Papua as people demonstrate support for UN meeting
Security forces attack demonstrators in West Papua
Indonesian security forces attacked a group of a hundred tribal people who were peacefully protesting last week about delays to local elections in Nabire, West Papua.
Prominent Papuan prisoner released
Prominent Papuan prisoner, Filep Karma, released. He has spent a decade in prison for raising the banned West Papuan flag.
Protestors demand end to isolation of West Papua
Dozens of demonstrators gathered outside Indonesian embassies in London, Paris and other cities
Papuans flee brutal military crackdown
Hundreds of Papuan tribal people have fled their homes following a brutal military operation in the Papuan highlands.