Indonesia bans book on West Papua
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The Indonesian government has banned a book on the repression of human rights in Papua. The book, by respected Papuan churchman Rev. Socratez Sofyan Yoman, is one of five books to have been banned in a move that appears to hark back to the authoritarian Suharto era.

Rev. Yoman’s book, ‘The Voice of Churches for Suppressed People, Blood and God’s Tears in West Papua,’ has been banned by the Indonesian Attorney General’s office. The office is also said to be evaluating 200 other books it considers to be too provocative.

The Justice and Human Rights Minister Patrialis Akbar said that his ministry had judged 20 books to be ‘very dangerous to the public,’ and would recommend that they be banned. The ministry also cited ‘provocative motives to disintegrate the nation’ as a reason for banning the books.

Among the books believed to be on the list is ‘The Indigenous World 2009’, published by the International Working Group for Indigenous Affairs and launched at the UN in New York. Another is believed to be a translation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, which Indonesia voted for at the UN General Assembly.

Indonesia’s Human Rights Commission has also criticized the government for not upholding human rights in Papua. Matius Murib from the Commission’s Papua branch said the criminalization of Papuan civilians had escalated significantly in 2009, and that human rights activists were being closely watched and intimidated.

Murib added that the government uses military and security approaches in dealing with Papuans rather than question whether its failure to respect Papuans’ basic rights might be the reason for their separatist demands