15 Apr 2005

Researcher claims Papuans facing genocide - report

2:13 pm on 15 April 2005

A researcher for the World Evangelical Alliance says indigenous Christian Papuans in eastern Indonesia are facing genocide.

The US newspaper, the Christian Post, reports the commission's Elizabeth Kendal as saying the Indonesian military terrorises Papuans from helicopters, shooting civilians, burning villages and churches, and forcing thousands to flee their homes and hide in the jungle where they die of starvation, illness or injury.

Ms Kendal of the Religious Liberty Commission is reported as saying Papuans, often Christian leaders, are frequently killed by the military, which she says is trying to provoke retaliation from separatists.

The researcher describes as 'of utmost concern' what she calls ethnic cleansing by military operations.

Ms Kendal says pro-Indonesian militias are ready for a major campaign in Papua.

Her report in the Religious Prayer Bulletin, says Papuans are facing genocide while those with worldly power turn away.

The newspaper reports that according to official figures, about 1-hundred thousand Papuans, have died from factors directly resulting from Indonesian occupation.