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Jakarta Post

Indonesia protests Oxford City Council’s award to Papuan separatist

  • Dian Septiari

    The Jakarta Post

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Jakarta   /   Thu, July 18, 2019   /  10:10 am
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Indonesian Ambassador to the United Kingdom Rizal Sukma speaks at a year-end dinner in London on Dec. 14. (Courtesy of/The Indonesian embassy to the United Kingdom)

Indonesia has strongly criticized a decision by Britain's Oxford City Council to honor Papuan separatist Benny Wenda with its Freedom of the City award, accusing the council of legitimizing the violence in Indonesia's easternmost provinces. The Indonesian Embassy in London said the award was given to the wrong individual, arguing in a press statement that Wenda was an actor and supporter of the use of violence for achieving political goals. The mission also questioned the council's assumption that paints Wenda as a "peaceful campaigner for democracy" despite abundant evidence linking him with various bouts of armed violence in Papua. It said the award could hamper efforts to increase cooperation between Indonesia and the United Kingdom, especially with the city of Oxford, just as the two sides celebrate 70 years of diplomatic relations. “Giving an awa...