Indonesia’s Papua region has been rocked by violent protests in recent weeks in response to racist incidents against indigenous Papuans. Dozens of protesters have been killed, and in one particularly hard-hit town, 16,000 residents were forced to flee the violence. Papua is ethnically and culturally distinct from other parts of Indonesia, and the region has seen decades of low-intensity conflict due to the presence of separatist groups.
In an email interview with WPR, Simon Philpott, a senior lecturer in international politics at Newcastle University and specialist on Indonesia, discusses the factors behind the recent unrest in the context of a much longer cycle of ethnic conflict in Papua.
World Politics Review: What are the proximate causes of the violence that has plagued Papua in recent weeks?