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A Papuan activist during a rally near the presidential palace in Jakarta, Indonesia. A Papuan activist with her face painted with the colors of the separatist Morning Star flag during a rally near the presidential palace, Jakarta, Indonesia, Aug. 22, 2019 (AP photo by Dita Alangkara).

The ‘Entangling Cycle of Violence’ Behind Unrest in Indonesia’s Papua Region

Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019

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. ...

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