The “Act of Free Choice” is set up under token UN oversight to act as a legitimation of West Papua’s incorporation into the Indonesian state. Very few West Papuans are given a say in what happens to them. Many West Papuans, especially indigenous West Papuans, see all these processes as a denial of their fundamental right to de-colonization and determination.

Meanwhile, development of the Ertzberg mine continues also without consultation of indigenous West Papuans – even though the mine will have a lasting influence on Indonesian and West Papuan political life.

To this day, the copper-gold mine in the highlands of West Papua continues to bring social and health problems, labour and community conflict, rampant corruption and cultural and environmental degradation. Alongside these problems, the mine engenders increased militarization and police repression while allegations of human rights abuse by the Indonesian military are frequent, including torture of mining opponents.

The Grasberg / Nemangkawi mine is noticeably absent from Rio Tinto’s own timeline, including its association with colonialism, human rights abuses and denying West Papuans autonomy and control over their lands.

Cut and Run report by LMN