Indonesia

Indonesia - West Papua Liberation Army

The long-simmering armed conflict between Indonesia’s military and Papuans seeking independence includes indigenous teenagers and boys who appear barely adolescent, The Associated Press has found, highlighting how Indonesia’s heavy-handed attempts to extinguish the movement have produced a new generation of fighters. The West Papua Liberation Army, which has fought Indonesian control in the easternmost region since the early 1960s, and Papuans who peacefully advocate independence acknowledge that youngsters are involved in the conflict. But they also describe them as willing participants who fight against the Indonesian state because of military operations in Papua. International law defines a child as under 18 years old and the recruitment and use of children under 15 for military purposes is a war crime under the 2002 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Nearly 170 countries including Indonesia have ratified a U.N. treaty that obliges governments to stop military recruitment of anyone under 18 and to work toward ending the military exploitation of children by state and non-state armed groups. Sebby Sambom, a Liberation Army spokesman who lives in neighboring Papua New Guinea, acknowledged that combatants include people under 18, describing it as part of West Papua’s history and struggle for independence. The Papuan fighters have never been well armed but have battled Indonesia since it took control of the mineral-rich region from the Dutch in 1962. Papuans, who had declared their independence the year before, see Indonesians as invaders who cemented control with a sham referendum at the end of the 1960s. ForContinue reading

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Social Media in Africa News

Indonesia has introduced curbs on social media in a bid to prevent the spread of hoaxes, some calling for violent post-election attacks, and quell two days of protests in the capital. Fact-checkers say hoaxes and calls for violence on social media networks have spiked since Tuesday when an official election count confirmed President Joko Widodo as the winner, a result contested by his challenger, Prabowo Subianto. Six people have been killed in unrest that gripped parts of Jakarta since Tuesday night. Chief security minister Wiranto said to “avoid provocations, the spread of fake news through the community, we will limit access to certain features on social media”. The move imposes limits on the ability to upload videos or photos on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and its platforms Instagram and Whatsapp. Communications Minister Rudiantara told reporters the restrictions were meant to slow visual content that could inflame “emotions” and would be temporary in Facebook’s third-largest market globally with 130 million accounts. Reuters reviewed half a dozen posts forwarded via the Whatsapp messenger system calling for violence and attacks to protest the election results, as well as shared doctored videos. One called for protesters to attack prominent Jakarta sights by hiding explosives in books, water bottles or walking sticks. Another video widely circulated on social media showed a since disproved siege of a mosque by police. Several versions of the video were captioned saying that the police officers were disguised as “Chinese people” wanting to attack Indonesian worshippers, whileContinue reading

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