Daily Archives: December 2, 2012

Victor Yeimo and others arrested as police crackdown on December 1 protests in Jayapura

By West Papua Media, with Victor Mambor at TabloidJubi.com, and Julian Howay at SuaraPapua.com

December 2, 2012

UPDATED DECEMBER 3, 2012

Three leaders of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) who were detained at a West Papuan independence rally on December 1 have been allegedly disappeared by Indonesian security forces, prompting fears of ill treatment at the hands of police.

As reported earlier by Tabloid Jubi and West Papua Media, Victor Yeimo, Alius Asso and Usman Yogobi were arrested by Police while leading a long march enroute to a planned mass rally commemorating the West Papuan “Day of Independence” of December 1st  at the tomb of Theys Eluay. All three were arrested for allegedly being responsible for these demonstrations, according to Police who spoke with Jubi.

Victor Yeimo, Chairman of KNPB, negotiating with Kalpores Alfred Papare moments before his arrest, December 1, 2012, Abepura (Photo: WK, KNPB)
Victor Yeimo, Chairman of KNPB, negotiating with Kalpores Alfred Papare moments before his arrest, December 1, 2012, Abepura (Photo: WK, KNPB)
Indonesian police prevent KNPB demo; arrests of Victor Yeimo (Photos: West Papua Media stringers)
Indonesian police prevent KNPB demo; arrests of Victor Yeimo (Photos: West Papua Media stringers)

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KNPB members and human rights lawyers are currently trying to confirm his whereabouts and legal status, however Indonesian police have claimed to West Papua Media that all detainees being held at the Police headquarters.  Legal access has not been allowed at time of writing and human rights observers hold grave fears for the safety of the detainees.

Yeimo-ditangkapVictor Yeimo, KNPB Chairman, has been on a wanted list (Daftar Pencarian Orang or DPO) and has up to now evaded a massive Papua-wide manhunt by the Australian trained Detachment 88 counter-terror unit, allegedly on treason charges imposed after his appearance on the Australian ABC 7.30 Report where he presented evidence of the Densus 88 assassination of his predecessor Mako Tabuni.

However, after the arrests, the whereabouts of Victor Yeimo, Alius Asso and Usman Yogobi remain unknown until time of writing, with no indications if they still being detained or have been released by police.

“Yes. There are journalists who say that Victor (Yeimo) was released earlier. But we do not know where he is. KNPB members are still trying to find him. Their mobile phone (three KNPB’s members were arrested) was (switched) off.” Sebby Sambom, a Human Rights Activist, told tabloidjubi.com on Saturday afternoon (1/12).

Some human rights lawyers who commonly accompany Papuan activists also still looking for them (Victor Yeimo, Alius Asso and Usman Yogobi). Because when they checked into the both of Police Office (Polda and Polresta), human rights lawyers was told by police that no one was arrested after rally this morning.

“We had been to the police office, Polda and Polresta, but they (Victor Yeimo, Alius Asso and Usman Yogobi) were not there. Police said no one was arrested there (Police and Police),” said Olga Hamadi, a Papuan human rights lawyer.

Papua Police Head of Public Relations, Chief I Gede Sumerta Jaya confirmed to tabloidjubi.com, mention that the three activists will be released after the investigation at the Police Sector office of Abepura.

“After being interrogated in Abepura police station, according to the police chief, three of them will be released as they could not to do any further investigation.” said I Gede Jaya Sumerta.
However, West Papua Media twice contacted the Police Sector (Polsek) headquarters in Abepura this (Sunday) morning, where an officer named Mas Arbi claimed that Yeimo and the other prisoners were still in custody.   Officers immediately volunteered further information on the second phone call that “none of the prisoners have been tortured,” despite West Papua Media having not yet asked that question.  WPM has not been able to independently verify the claims of police, as legal representation is still barred from seeing Yeimo.

Massive security presence

The December 1 commemorations in Jayapura were amongst national mobilisations in most centres across Papua, and solidarity gatherings internationally.

Reports from Abepura early in the morning described a massive security presence to prevent West Papua people from engaging in peaceful acts of free expression, and from engaging in flagraisings of the Morning Star flag, the Indonesia-banned West Papuan independence flag.

Unknown persons had blockaded the entrance to the Cenderawasih University (UNCEN)  by welding iron crossbars and erecting a 2 metre high steel fence around the university in anticipation of events.

From 7.30 on Saturday morning, students and activists with KNPB leaders (including Yeimo) gathered in small numbers by the site of former KNPB head Mako Tabuni’s murder, in front of the Perunmans 3 Housing Complex in Waena, where many highland students are domiciled.

Intelligence officers and plain-clothed Densus 88 personnel posing as ojek (motorcycle taxi drivers) become more aggressive towards participants converging prior to the long march, according to West Papua Media stringers and SuaraPapua.com.

At 0845 three platoons of heavily armed Dalmas riot police arrived on site, followed by Jayapura police chief Adjunct Senior Commissioner Alfred Papare and his men.   Papare began negotiations with Yeimo on the route and plan of action for the day, which was to make speeches and a prayer service at the tomb of slain Papuan leader Chief Theys Eluay, to commemorate December 1 and also World AIDS Day.

Participants carried many banners also demanding that the Indonesian government do more to combat HIV/AIDS, which is taking a heavy toll on Papuan society, in a situation that many Papuans believe is a deliberate policy by Jakarta of neglect and genocide.

Kapolres Papare asked the students to not go to Eluay’s tomb as he “could not be held responsible for anything that happened outside his Jayapura jurisdiction”, according to our stringers.  Having heard the explanations and assurances from the students who accompanied Victor Yeimo (KNPB Chairman), police chief Papare then left the scene and ordered the Jayapura Police Dalmas riot police officers to leave the Perumnas 3. After negotiation, the students resumed speeches for the next 1 hour.

The march began slowly from Waena, passing an Indonesian army (TNI) post about 50 meters from the housing complex, which was packed with military personnel moonlighting as taxi drivers, and several platoons of heavily armed TNI on guard, who rang a warning bell as students ran past.

According to reports from Suara Papua, the march was blocked by dozens of police officers from Jayapura Police at the corner near Dian Harapan Hospital (RSDH) in Waena. forming a three layer formation blockade. The first layer is riot police, while the second and third layers are heavily armed police, who were supported by large numbers of plainclothes police who parked their motorcycles and cars nearby.

Yeimo’s Arrest

Yeimo told police through a megaphone that more students were joining them to continue the journey to Sentani.  The Police Head of Operations AKP Kiki Kurnia ordered participants to  disperse, but students refused the order to move on.  Kiki Kurnia then advanced toward Victor Yeimo and seized him violently.  Yeimo did not resist as Kurnia gave the command to capture him and a large number police descended on Yeimo, violently immobilising him as Yeimo, Julian Douw and Usman Pahabol were thrown into the Dalmas truck and taken away, according to witnesses.

According to an Australian counter-terrorism source operating in Indonesia, who securely contacted West Papua Media on December 3 on condition of anonymity, the “gentleman holding Yeimo’s left arm” during his arrest, “is a Densus 88 officer”.

Victor Yeimo's arrest on December 1 (Photo: West Papua Media/KNPB)
Victor Yeimo’s arrest on December 1 (Photo: West Papua Media/KNPB)

Yeimo-ditangkap

The source elaborated that this individual received training from the Australian Federal Police run Joint Centre for Law Enforcement Co-operation in Jakarta.  West Papua Media has been unable to independently verify the source’s claims with police in Jayapura, nor with Australian Federal Police, before updating this story.

Just as the three were taken away, at about 11 am outside Dian Harapan Hospital (RSDH). police violently dispersed the remaining group of students to disperse them, firing tear gas and six live warning shots into the air. A number of students were also beaten by police, according to witnesses.

Soldiers from the TNI post also joined in the pursuit of students who were forced to flee via alleyways between homes, most running back in the direction of the Perumnas 3 dormitories, and all the armed police began raids again.

According to reports from Suara Papua, dozens of students desperately sought shelter inside the UNCEN Campus, where they were funneled into a dead end by police, back at the locked front gate, though they managed to escape for the time being.  KNPB sources have reported that several students sustained injuries from beating, but this has yet to be independently verified.

However, unconfirmed reports to West Papua Media overnight have said that the police, allegedly backed by Densus 88 personnel, have been conducting brutal raids on student dormitories and highlander’s residences across Jayapura.

It is confirmed that at 1235 local time Densus 88 raid occurred on the KNPB office in Sentani an hour later, seizing laptops, Morning Star flags and the United Nations flag.  No reports of injuries or arrests were received during that raid.

More to come.

West Papua Media

West Papuan Morning Star flags flying at Federation Square, Melbourne (Australia), December 1, 2012.  (Photo: West Papua Media)

A History of the Morning Star Flag of West Papua

by Leonie Tanggahma for West Papua Media

Historical Analysis

December 1, 2012

West Papuan Morning Star flags flying at Federation Square, Melbourne (Australia), December 1, 2012.  (Photo: West Papua Media)
West Papuan Morning Star flags flying at Federation Square, Melbourne (Australia), December 1, 2012. (Photo: West Papua Media)

For more than 50 years, the Morning Star Flag has been the symbol of West Papua’s unity and its quest for Freedom and Justice. Thousands have been inspired by it, as it became the main icon embodying the struggle for Independence. And this flag, just like any other flag of any other country, has a history, a proud history.

5 April 1961: Inauguration of the New Guinea Council

On 5 April 1961, a representative body for the then Dutch colony of Netherlands New Guinea was inaugurated: the New Guinea Council or Nieuw Guinea Raad[1] [1]. It was the task of the Council to make the wishes of the Papuan people known on the issue of self-determination, within a year. However, news came that the United States of America and Indonesia were putting pressure on the Dutch  to convince them to transfer its colony to the United Nations, and then to the Indonesian administration. The members of the New Guinea Council immediately gathered for an emergency session and appointed a National Committee to draft a Manifesto expressing the wishes of the Papuans which would include national symbols for the upcoming State.

19 October 1961: Flag and other national symbols officially adopted by way of Manifesto

Committee members Bonay, Jouwe, Tanggahma and Torey were asked to submit designs for the flag and arms. Mr. Torey withdrew and a choice had to be made between the designs of Messrs. Bonay, Jouwe and Tanggahma. The designs of Mr. Jouwe were accepted by 14 votes to 17 as national symbols.  After the national symbols were officially adopted, everyone was visibly moved and proud. According to official testimonies: “Then, all those present rose from their seat and while the emotion was clearly overtaking all those present the manifesto was read by the Chair of the National Committee, Mr. Willem Inury; it was subsequently unanimously accepted and signed by the National Committee. The attendees were then invited to also sign the manifesto … The national flag consists of a red vertical band along the hoist side, with a white [five-pointed] star in the center. Adjacent to the red band, is a series of [consecutive] blue and white lines, with a total of seven blue and six white lines.”[2]

This manifesto dated 19 October 1961 stated that: “in accordance with the ardent desire and the yearning of our people for our own independence, through the National Committee and our parliament, the New Guinea Council, insist with the Government of Netherlands New Guinea and the Netherlands Government that as of 1 November 1961,

a) our flag be hoisted beside the Netherlands flag;

b) our national anthem (“Hai Tanahku Papua”) be sung and played in addition to the Netherlands national anthem;

c) our country bear the name of Papua Barat (West Papua), and

d) our people be called: the Papuan people.”[3]

he Manifesto of 1961 may not have been an independence Proclamation, but its wording was strong and clear in relation to the will of the Papuan people to become independent, it was a declaration of intent, as it also stated that: “On that basis, we, the Papuan people, demand to get our place in the midst of other independent nations and peoples. In addition, we, the Papuan people, make our contribution to the preservation of peace and freedom around the world.”[4]

1 December 1961: Official inauguration of the flag as a territorial flag

The Dutch accepted most of the terms of the Manifesto except for the date of installation and the denomination of the flag: the inauguration of the flag happened on 1 December and not on 1 November as requested by the Papuans. The General Assembly of the UN was to hold a meeting in late November on the issue, and recognition by the Dutch of the symbols could have been interpreted as an endorsement of an independent West Papua by the Dutch Government. The Dutch did not want to provoke the Indonesians, even if it meant that the demand of the Papuans would not be heard. In terms of the denomination, the Dutch authorities recognized the new flag as a territorial flag (landsvlag) and not as national flag.

All the specifications concerning the flag and other Papuan symbols can be found in the so-called “Territorial Flag Ordinance” (or “Landsvlagordonnantie”) Number 68 of 1961. This Ordinance specifies among others that: “(1) The territorial flag of Netherlands New Guinea shall be a rectangle consisting of a vertical wide red striped at the hoist and seven horizontal blue stripes separated by six white stripes. In the centre of the vertical red stripe is a white five-pointed star, with one point pointing vertically upwards. The five points of the star shall each form an angle of 36 degrees. (2) The height and length of the flag shall bear to each other the proportion of 2 to 3. The width of the red stripe shall be two fifth of the height of the flag. The blue and white stripes shall be equal in height. The diameter of the circumscribed circle of the star shall be seven eighths of the width of the red stripe.” [5]  Another ordinance (Number 69 of 1961) provided for a national anthem for Netherlands New Guinea. Ordinance Number 70 of 1961, also called the “Administrative Order for the implementation of Section 2 of the Territorial Flag Ordinance”, stipulates the terms and conditions under which the flag is to be raised. And Section 5 states: “This Order, which may be cited as Flag Order, shall come into operation on December 1, 1961.”[6]

And so on 1 December it happened, for the first time, our Morning Star flag was raised, next to the Dutch flag; our national anthem (”Hai Tanahku Papua”) was played and sung together with the Dutch national anthem; our country was given the name of Papua Barat (West Papua), and our people were given a name: the Papuan people.

Nine years of international Fraud and Deception led by greed, racism and the total disrespect for human life

Just 18 days after the installation of the Papuan symbols, on 19 December 1961, the President of Indonesia, Soekarno, made his call for the infamous Tri Komando Rakyat (or TRIKORA), the People’s Threefold Command. On that day he called for a total mobilization of the people of Indonesia, (1) to destroy what he considered a Dutch-promoted Papuan State; (2) to fly the Indonesian flag over the territory of West Papua, which he erroneously called West Irian; (3) to prepare for war over what he called West Irian. For Indonesians this represented the so-called liberation of the territory from the Dutch. For Papuans the TRIKORA was the call for an illegal military aggression from a country which did not recognize its sovereignty. Military aggression was followed by legal deception as the Dutch and the Indonesians signed the New York Agreement of 15 August 1962, an agreement regarding the future of the Papuans but they themselves were never consulted. The Papuans were betrayed by those who signed this agreement which regulated the transfer of the administration of New Guinea to the United Nations. This administration lasted from 1 October 1962 to 1 May 1963. Then it was to be handed over to Indonesia for a period of six or seven years, after which the Papuans were supposed to freely choose, through a referendum, whether to join Indonesia or become an independent nation. Legal deception was followed by political fraud. In August 1969 the so-called “Act of Free Choice” was organized. At the time, West Papua had been under Indonesian rule for over six years: every expression of Papuan nationalism was systematically bloodily suppressed, possible opponents were arrested and tortured, punitive expeditions were carried out across the country and bombings and rocket attacks were conducted by the Indonesian army. The so-called “Act of Free Choice” itself was pure deception, fraud and deceit, a stage-managed play in which Indonesian officials selected 1026 Papuan electors who voted on behalf of 800,000 Papuans at the time. The electors were all carefully prepared for the Musyawarah: an Indonesian system of decision-making where there is unanimous agreement: 1025 Papuans finally decided unanimously that they wanted to belong to the Republic of Indonesia (one was sick that day). The normal one-man/one-vote principle usually applied for a referendum had not been respected as the Indonesians argued that Papuans were too primitive!

1 July 1971: the territorial flag becomes a national flag

In protest against the failure of the implementation of the “Act of Free Choice” the Free Papua Movement (OPM) proclaimed the independence of the Republic of West Papua on 1 July 1971.  Under Article 2 of UN resolution 1514: “All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.”  Another UN resolution, Resolution 1541, explains that exercising your right to self-determination means that you are allowed to choose between independence, autonomy or integration within an existing state. Since the beginning, the Papuans chose for independence; and they opted for that same option time and time again.

The Manifesto of 1961 was a declaration of intent; the Proclamation of 1971 was the realization of that intent. The proclamation stated: “With the help and blessing of God Almighty, we take this opportunity to declare to you all that today, 1 July 1971, the land and people of Papua have been proclaimed to be free and independent (de facto and de jure)”.

On 1 July 1971, the Papuans chose to take the Morning Star Flag which had been recognized by the Dutch as a territorial symbol. The Papuans decided to proclaim it a NATIONAL symbol; they did the same with the national anthem (Hai Tanahku Papua).


[1] Newspaper report. Sydney Morning Herald, 6 April 1961.

[2] Official government magazine Pengantara of 21 October 1961.

[3] Official government magazine Pengantara of 21 October 1961

[4] Official government magazine Pengantara of 21 October 1961

[5] Bulletin of Ordinances and Decrees of the Government of Netherlands New Guinea, 1961, No. 68, issued on 20 November 1961.

[6] Bulletin of Ordinances and Decrees of the Government of Netherlands New Guinea, 1961, No. 70, issued on 20 November 1961