16 Feb 2009

Dutch academic critical of Indonesian military role in Papua

2:33 pm on 16 February 2009

The author of a controversial report on Papua has criticised Indonesian military tactics in the province.

The leading Dutch historian, Professor Pieter Drooglever, says it's not the civil authorities, but the military apparatus that's really in power in Papua.

He says the military does not have much patience with rebellious acts.

"For instance, demonstrations that took place in Manokwari - quite an innocent affair, you would say, from a distance, a couple of students are hoisting a flag... the Morning Star flag... but they are beaten up and put in prison, and now eleven of them have been sentenced, for three and a half years of prison, and no pleasant prison I suppose."

Professor Drooglever says a solution to the Papua conflict is likely to come sooner if civil authorities are more involved.

Professor Drooglever wrote as groundbreaking report for the Dutch government in 2005, that was heavily critical of the United Nations referendum nearly forty years ago, which legitimised the Indonesian takeover of the region.