23 Dec 2010

Cables show US diplomats blame Jakarta for troubles in Papua

7:04 pm on 23 December 2010

Leaked embassy cables reveal that United States diplomats privately blame Jakarta for instability and chronic underdevelopment in the Papua region.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports the leaked documents made available by Wikileaks indicate that the US fears that Indonesian government neglect, rampant corruption and human rights abuses are stoking unrest in Papua.

A September 2009 cable from the US embassy in Jakarta says the region is politically marginalised and many Papuans harbour separatist aspirations.

An earlier cable, from October 2007, claims that the Indonesian military, or TNI, has far more troops in Papua than it's willing to admit to, chiefly to protect and facilitate its interests in illegal logging operations.

The cable quotes a Papuan governor as saying the TNI operates as a virtually autonomous government entity in Papua.

Cables from throughout 2009 blame the Indonesian government's neglect of Papua - including the failure to ensure revenue generated by mining is distributed fairly - for continuing unrest.

The US cables also record allegations of corruption involving local officials.