In 1998, United States cultural anthropologist Dr Eben Kirksey, when he was a college exchange student, wit-nessed the massacre of more than 150 civilians by Indonesian troops in West Papua, reports the Catholic Leader.
Dr Kirksey will discuss this and other experiences in a talk at St Joseph's College Gregory Terrace on October 17 in conjunction with the publication of his new book Freedom in Entangled Worlds - West Papua and the Architecture of Global Power.
Brisbane archdiocese's Catholic Justice and Peace Commission (CJPC) executive officer Peter Arndt, who organised Dr Kirksey's visit, said it was important for Australians to be aware of the human rights violations occurring on a regular basis "right on Australia's doorstep".
Over the past decade, Mr Arndt has sought to support the indigenous West Papuans' struggle for independence. "It's still a very difficult struggle," he said.
"In the current year, it's obvious security forces are clamping down on anyone who challenges the status quo. Many arrests and human rights violations are occurring."
In March this year the CJPC formed part of a demonstration in King George Square to protest against the treatment of five West Papuan independence leaders.
The men were initially arrested after Indonesian military units had used violence against crowds gathered for the Third Papuan People's Congress in October 2011. A number of unarmed Papuans were killed.
FULL STORY Academic to shed light on massacre (Catholic Leader)