Category Archives: Briefing by Papuan Civil Society members

Papuans Behind Bars: March 2015: Plans for increased Brimob presence as new cases of violence emerge

syndicated as an update from our partners at Papuans Behind Bars

In brief

At the end of March 2015, there were at least 38 political prisoners in Papuan jails.

On 6 March, 17-year-old high school student and West Papua National Committee (Komisi Nasional Papua Barat, KNPB) activist Deni Bahabol was kidnapped, tortured and murdered, and his body dumped in a river in Yahukimo regency. Early reports indicate the involvement of Special Forces Command (Komando Pasukan Khusus, Kopassus) officers in the murder. Bahabol’s murder echoes the Martinus Yohame case in August 2014. Yohame, who was also a KNPB activist and active in leading peaceful demonstrations, suffered a similar fate.

On 19 to 21 March, under the orders of Papua Police Chief Inspector General Yotje Mende, Papuan National Police and Mobile Brigade (Brigade Mobil, Brimob) officers were deployed from Jayapura to Yahukimo to forcibly disperse, shoot and arrest Papuans taking part in a peaceful campaign to collect donations for victims of Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu. At least 21 people were arrested and six people were shot. A 48-year-old village head, Obang Sengenil, died from gunshot injuries.

In another incident in Jayapura, four Papuan youths aged 14 to 23 were publically attacked by Brimob officers. One of them, Lesman Jigibalom, is believed to be in a critical condition as a result of torture.

The arbitrary nature of police action this month – from shooting people collecting donations in Yahukimo to torturing and beating four young men seemingly without reason in Jayapura – highlights the lawless and reckless manner of policing in Papua. This dynamic of imposing public torture, violence and arrest breeds a culture of fear and distrust amongst indigenous Papuans.

Despite demands for accountability from Papuan civil society groups into these cases of state violence, police have yet to launch investigations. The lack of political will to seek transparency and accountability in cases of state violence ensures that perpetrators continue to enjoy total impunity. Instead of addressing long-standing violations committed by the Indonesian military in Papua, the authorities have opted to ramp up militarisation by establishing new plans to build a Brimob command base in Wamena. Jakarta-based solidarity group PapuaItuKita issued a ten-point statement rejecting the new plan, stating that the increased presence of Brimob forces would only serve to further destabilise the area.

On 2 March, hundreds of armed security personnel forcibly dispersed a peaceful socialisation seminar and detained at least three people in Jayapura. The seminar, on the theme of “Reclaiming Papuan Identity in Melanesia”, was organised by the newly formed United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), which consists of different factions of the West Papuan pro-independence movement. In a statement to the Papuan press this month, Police Chief Yotje Mende called for the KNPB to be banned as it supports Papuan independence. This zero tolerance approach by security forces towards demonstrations and gatherings associated with Papuan independence, despite their peaceful nature, is a violation of the rights of freedom of expression, association and assembly as guaranteed in the Indonesian Constitution.

Arrests

Fundraisers for Cyclone Pam victims shot and arrested in Yahukimo; three arrested in Timika

Yahukimo

Information received from various human rights and media sources reported that on 19 to 21 March at least 21 people were arrested and six people shot by Papuan National Police (Polda Papua) and Mobile Brigade (Brigade Mobil, Brimob) officers in Yahukimo regency for being involved in collecting donations for the victims of Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu. At least one person, Obang Sengenil, a 48-year-old village head, died from gunshot injuries. While reports indicate that most of those arrested have been released, it is unclear how many people remain in detention in Yahukimo regional police station.

The previous week, from 11 to 19 March, the Yahukimo group of the West Papua National Committee (Komite Nasional Papua Barat, KNPB) had coordinated a donation drive involving community members and KNPB activists.

On 19 March, according to Majalah Selangkah, a prayer session was planned to take place at 15:00, as part of a closing ceremony of the week’s events. At 09:25, security forces composed of Papuan National Police and Brimob officers shot into the crowd that had gathered in preparation for the prayer session. Tabloid Jubi reported that Isai Dapla, a 37-year-old KNPB member, suffered gunshot injuries to the chest, while Salomon Pahabol, a 47-year-old primary school teacher, was shot in his left leg. Elias Kabak, a 40-year-old KNPB member, was arrested. Security forces reportedly confiscated items belonging to the KNPB organisers, including banners, megaphones, and a camera, as well as donations which had been collected.

In retaliation, a member of the crowd stole a firearm belonging to a Yahukimo police officer. According the Head of the Yahukimo People’s Local Parliament (Parlemen Rakyat Daerah, PRD), Aminus Balingga, as reported in Jubi, on 21 March the firearm was returned to the police by KNPB Yahukimo members. There were also reports of Indonesians from the non-Papuan community being attacked and suffering injuries during the commotion.

Media reports stated that at around 15:10 that afternoon, security forces shot a further four people and arrested 16 others. One of the four shot, Obang Sengenil, died of his injuries. Titus Giban, a 39-year-old primary school teacher, Simon Giban, a 42-year-old village head, and Inter Segenil, a 16-year-old high school student, suffered serious gunshot injuries. Local sources reported that 16 people were arrested, some of whom were KNPB members. There were unconfirmed reports that the 16 detainees may have been tortured on arrest and while in detention in Yahukimo Regional Police Station.

On 21 March, Yahukimo Regional Police and Brimob officers arrested four men – Yason Balingga, Yeniut Bahabol, Nefen Balingga, and an unnamed man. Local sources reported that police also conducted search operations in the surrounding area, and damaged and looted several homes. Reports stated that thousands of indigenous Papuans fled the violence and are hiding in the forests.

On 30 March, the Yahukimo Independent Student and Youth Forum (Forum Independen Mahasiswa dan Pemuda Kabupaten Yahukimo, FIMPY) held a demonstration involving students and the Yahukimo community, calling for the Papuan Provincial Parliament (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat Daerah Papua, DPRP) to launch an investigation into the incident.

Timika

On 13 March, three people raising funds for Cyclone Pam victims were arrested in Timika. Else Rumrawer, Yuli Adokor and Yuliana Inggobou were detained in Mimika Regional Police Station. It is unclear whether they are currently still in detention.

Brimob officers tortured and severely beat four Papuan youths

Suara Papua reported that on 18 March four Papuan youths were attacked in Jayapura by 11 armed Brimob officers dressed in plain clothes. Media reports indicate that they were attacked seemingly without reason.

17-year-old Timotius Tabuni was stopped in front of Cigombong market in Kotaraja and forced to handover his motorcycle keys to Brimob officers. He was beaten with rifle butts and slashed with bayonet blades. As a result of the beatings, he suffered a deep gash on his head, slash wounds on his back, bruises on his face and knees, and also lost a front tooth. Two friends of Tabuni, 23-year-old Lesman Jigibalom and 17-year-old Eldy Kogoya were stopped in front of Kotaraja Mosque and threatened at gunpoint to walk in a squatting position. When they refused to do so, they were forced to lay down. Eldy Kogoya was dragged by the legs some distance away along an asphalt road. He suffered cracked ribs and bruises on his back and knees. Lesman Jigibalom was slashed with a bayonet blade and suffered a pierced lung and bruises all over his body. He underwent an operation the following day and is thought to be in a critical condition. 14-year-old Mies Tabo, who witnessed the incident and attempted to call for help, was kicked and beaten by the Brimob officers.

Papuan civil society members from KontraS Papua (Komisi untuk Orang Hilang dan Korban Tindak Kekerasan Papua) and Speak for Truth (Bicara Untuk Kebenaran, BUK) rejected statements from Brimob Deputy Head of Unit, Assistant Police Commissioner Tono Budiarto, that Brimob officers had instead saved the four youths from a mob attack. Human rights defender Peneas Lokbere of BUK stated that testimonies from the victims, their families and eyewitnesses show clearly that the perpetrators were Brimob officers. KontraS Papua lawyer Olga Hamadi stated that the perpetrators should be brought to justice. Jayapura police have yet to launch an investigation into the incident.

Three men detained for participating in ULMWP seminar

On 2 March, Benu Rumbiak, Simeon Alua and Yes Wenda were arrested during a police raid of a seminar in Jayapura. Hundreds of armed security personnel disrupted and forcibly dispersed a peaceful socialisation seminar held by the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP). Police also confiscated seminar material. Academics, church leaders, Papuan Provincial Parliament (DPRP) and Papuan People Assembly (Majelis Rakyat Papua, MRP) representatives had been invited to speak at the seminar on the theme of “Reclaiming Papuan Identity in Melanesia”. It is unclear whether the three men are currently still in detention. Ones Suhuniap, the General-Secretary of the KNPB, criticised the police actions as a violation of the rights to free expression and assembly as enshrined in the Indonesian Constitution.

Releases

There were no releases reported in March 2015.

Political trials and cases overview

Pisugi detainees sentenced to one-year imprisonment

On 1 April, the five detainees in the Pisugi Election Boycott case were each given a one-year prison sentence. Prosecutors had previously called for a five-year prison sentence each for Yosep Siep, Ibrahim Marian, Marsel (alias Marthen) Marian, Yance (alias Yali) Walilo and Yosasam Serabut (alias Jhoni Marian). The five men were charged with conspiracy to endanger security under Articles 187 and 164 of the Indonesian Criminal Code under accusations of making Molotov cocktails in attempts to boycott the Presidential Elections in July 2014.

During the court hearings in Wamena in March, Ibrahim Marian, Marthen Marian, Yance Walilo and Yosasam Serabut testified that they had been forced to confess to the charges under torture. Yosep Siep, who was not considered well enough to stand trial due to the lack of psychological treatment available in Wamena, has returned to his home village in Pisugi district.

Court hearings revealed that on 11 July 2014, the night of their arrest, they had gathered at the home of Yosep Siep to take part in a prayer session and had then spent the night there. The detainees testified that at around 04:00 security forces arrived at their village and arrested them. On arrest, their hands were tied behind their backs, they were chained together by the neck, and dragged along the ground.

Yosasam Serabut aka Jhoni Marian testified that during his interrogation he was repeatedly beaten and electrocuted by police officers. He stated that he confessed to the charges as he was afraid that police would shoot and kill him. When questioned on his ability to read and write, Jhoni Marian stated that he was illiterate. He went on to say that police investigators had not read out the Police Investigation Report (Berita Acara Pemeriksaan, BAP) to him after his interrogation and that he was forced to give his thumbprints to verify the results of his interrogation. Furthermore, appeals by the defence lawyers to provide a translator for Jhoni Marian, who struggles to speak and understand Indonesian, went unheeded by the court.

Marthen Marian testified that a Police Brigadier named Endy tortured him in detention. He was forced to remove his clothing and his arm was slashed with a machete. He stated that he was also stabbed and beaten with arrows until they were broken. He added that other officers took turns in entering the interrogation room and beating him with weapons and knuckleduster gloves.

Ibrahim Marian testified that Police Brigadier Alex Sianturi interrogated him in detention. Ibrahim stated that he was beaten with knuckleduster gloves which resulted in broken teeth. He said that police investigators also crushed his fingers by placing them under chair legs after which officers would take turns to sit on the chair. He was also beaten on the head with hammers. He was told that he would be killed if he did not admit to the charges against him.

Yance Walilo testified that Police Brigadier Yeskel F.M. had interrogated him in detention. He stated that he was beaten with wooden beams and rifle butts in a locked detention room. His legs were also stamped on by police officers.

During court hearings in March, Police Brigadiers Endy, Alex Sianturi and Yeskel F.M. denied that they tortured or ill-treated the five detainees.

The four detainees also stated that they rejected the Police Investigation Reports filed against them and denied making Molotov bombs and boycotting the Presidential Election last July. Defence lawyers argued that the confessions extracted under torture could not be used as evidence against the detainees and that such practice contradicted the right of the detainee to testify without pressure in any form, as stated in Article 117 of the Indonesian Criminal Procedure Code. They also argued that the evidence presented in court differed from the evidence described in the Letter of Indictment (Surat Dakwaan), and concluded that evidence used against the detainees had been fabricated.

Cases of Concern

KNPB Yahukimo activist murdered and dumped in river

A report from a local human rights source revealed that on 6 March, 17-year-old high school student and KNPB activist Deni Bahabol was murdered and his body dumped in a river in Yahukimo regency. Information received showed that two days earlier, on 4 March, Bahabol had led a peaceful KNPB march in support of a campaign tour of South Africa by Benny Wenda, leader of the Free West Papua Campaign.

It is believed that Bahabol was attacked by Kopassus forces while he was on his way to the KNPB Secretariat in Yahukimo. He is reported to have been tortured and beaten with stones. His body was dumped in the Brazza river and was found by fishermen in Patipi village in neighbouring Asmat regency four days later. He was buried by his family in Yahukimo on the same day. As at the end of March 2015, police have not conducted any investigations into the incident.

KNPB Merauke Secretariat searched following bomb scare; Papuan police chief calls for KNPB ban

On 5 March, the KNPB Merauke Secretariat was searched by military and Merauke Regional Police officers following a bomb scare which the KNPB believes had been orchestrated by the police.

At around 18:00, a KNPB member found a suspicious looking box at the gates of the Secretariat which was then reported to the police. Security forces who arrived at the scene entered the Secretariat, damaging equipment and confiscating flags, banners and documents. The KNPB asserts that the Police had orchestrated the bomb scare as an excuse to raid the Secretariat offices.

On 24 March, Papua Police Chief Inspector General Yotje Mende stated that the KNPB should be banned as it is a pro-independence organisation. KNPB spokesman Bazoko Logo told Jubi that Mende’s statement was in reaction to police failure to take responsibility for the shootings and arrests in Yahukimo earlier in the month (see Arrests).

News

University students commemorate Bloody Abepura; Head of Jayapura Regional Police warns against pro-independence demonstrations

On 16 March, Cenderawasih University (Universitas Cenderawasih, UNCEN) students held a peaceful commemorative gathering at their campus in Kota Jayapura remembrance of the victims of Bloody Abepura. Nine years ago, on 16 March 2006, violence erupted between demonstrators and security forces during a demonstration calling for the closure of the Freeport McMoran mine in Timika. The violence resulted in the deaths of five security officers. Dozens of demonstrators were hospitalised and 24 people were tortured in detention.

During the commemorative event, the Head of Jayapura Regional Police, Kiki Kurnia, told student demonstrators that any demonstrations related Papuan independence would not be tolerated. He stated that pro-independence demonstrations would be forcibly dispersed and that participants would be arrested and detained.

Elsham study: Women and children severely impacted by military violence and impunity

On 15 March, a public discussion on military impunity and violence and its impact on women and children was held by Papuan civil society groups in Jayapura. Research by Elsham Papua (Lembaga Studi dan Advokasi Hak Asasi Manusia, Institute of Human Rights Studies and Advocacy) reported that women and children were severely impacted by military violence in Papua. Violence against women was not only recorded in instances of domestic violence, but also in cases of rape, ill-treatment, arbitrary detention and murder inflicted by military forces. Elsham data collected from 2012 to 2014 revealed 389 cases of military violence resulting in 234 deaths, 854 people injured, and 880 arrests.

PapuaItuKita calls for rejection of new Brimob base in Wamena

On 31 March, Jakarta-based West Papua solidarity group PapuaItuKita demonstrated outside the Presidential Palace in the capital city against the building of a new Brimob (Brigade Mobil, Mobile Brigade) command base in Wamena. PapuaItuKita stated that increased militarisation only serves to increase violence, terrorisation and impunity in Papua. It added that the indigenous community in Papua is against the plans and that the Government can no longer adopt a militaristic stance to solve issues in Papua. Alius Asso, a youth leader from Wamena, told Majalah Selangkah that instead of increased militarisation, the Government should focus on the economy, health, education, and dealing with HIV/AIDS in Papua.

March 2015 Papuan Political Prisoners

No Prisoner Arrested Charges Sentence Case Accused of violence? Concerns reported re legal process? Prison / Place of detention
1 Areki Wanimbo 6 Agustus 2014 Pasal 106 and 110 On trial French journalists arrests in Wamena Uncertain Yes Wamena
2 Yosep Siep 9 Juli 2014 Pasal 187, 164 1 year Pisugi Election Boycott Yes Yes Wamena
3 Ibrahim Marian 9 Juli 2014 Pasal 187, 164 1 year Pisugi Election Boycott Yes Yes Wamena
4 Marsel Marian 9 Juli 2014 Pasal 187, 164 1 year Pisugi Election Boycott Yes Yes Wamena
5 Yance Walilo 9 Juli 2014 Pasal187, 164 1 year Pisugi Election Boycott Yes Yes Wamena
6 Yosasam Serabut 9 Juli 2014 Pasal 187, 164 1 year Pisugi Election Boycott Yes Yes Wamena
7 Alapia Yalak 4 Juni 2014 Tidak diketahui Police investigation pending Yahukimo arrests Yes Yes Papua Police Headquarters
8   Lendeng Omu 21 Mei 2014 Tidak diketahui Police investigation pending Yahukimo arrests Uncertain Yes Yahukimo Regional police station
 9 Jemi Yermias Kapanai 1 Februari 2014 Pasal 106, 108, 110 and UU Darurat 12/1951 3.5 years Sasawa military raid arrests Yes Yes Sorong
10 Septinus Wonawoai 1 February 2014 Pasal 106, 108, 110 and UU Darurat 12/1951 3.5 years Sasawa military raid arrests Yes Yes Sorong
11 Rudi Otis Barangkea 1 Februari 2014 Pasal 106, 108, 110 and UU Darurat 12/1951 3.5 years Sasawa military raid arrests Yes Yes Sorong
12 Kornelius Woniana 1 Februari 2014 Pasal 106, 108, 110 and UU Darurat 12/1951 3.5 years Sasawa military raid arrests Yes Yes Sorong
13 Peneas Reri 1 Februari 2014 Pasal 106, 108, 110 and UU Darurat 12/1951 3.5 years Sasawa military raid arrests Yes Yes Sorong
14 Salmon Windesi 1 Februari 2014 Pasal106, 108, 110 and UU Darurat 12/1951 3.5 years Sasawa military raid arrests Yes Yes Sorong
15 Obeth Kayoi 1 Februari 2014 Pasal 106, 108, 110 and UU Darurat 12/1951 3.5 years Sasawa military raid arrests Yes Yes Sorong
16 Soleman Fonataba 17 Desember 2013 106, 110)1, 53, 55 On trial Sarmi 2013 Morning Star flag arrests No / not yet clear No On bail, cannot leave Sarmi
17 Edison Werimon 13 Desember 2013 106, 110)1, 53, 55 On trial Sarmi 2013 Morning Star flag arrests No / not yet clear No On bail, cannot leave Sarmi
18 Piethein Manggaprouw 19 Oktober 2013 106, 110 2 years Third Papuan Congress demo in Biak No Yes Biak
19 Oktovianus Warnares 1 Mei 2013 106, 110, UU Darurat 12/1951 7 years Biak flag-raising, 1 May commemoration Yes Yes Biak
20 Yoseph Arwakon 1 Mei 2013 106, 110, UU Darurat 12/1951 2 years and 6 months Biak flag-raising, 1 May commemoration Yes Yes Biak
21 Markus Sawias 1 Mei 2013 106, 110, UU Darurat 12/1951 2 years Biak flag-raising, 1 May commemoration Yes Yes Biak
22 George Syors Simyapen 1 Mei 2013 106, 110, UU Darurat 12/1951 4.5 years Biak flag-raising, 1 May commemoration Yes Yes Biak
23 Jantje Wamaer 1 Mei 2013 106, 110, UU Darurat 12/1951 2 years and 6 months Biak flag-raising, 1 May commemoration Yes Yes Biak
24 Isak Klaibin 30 April2013 106, 107, 108, 110, 160 and 164 3 years and 6 months Aimas 1 May commemoration No Yes Sorong
25 Isak Demetouw (alias Alex Makabori) 3 Maret 2013 110; Pasal 2, UU Darurat 12/1951 2 years 2 months Sarmi treason No Yes Abepura
26 Niko Sasomar 3 Maret 2013 110; Pasal  2, UU Darurat 12/1951 2 years 2 months Sarmi treason No Yes Abepura
27 Sileman Teno 3 Maret 2013 110; Pasal  2, UU Darurat  12/1951 2 years 2 months Sarmi treason No Yes Abepura
28 Jefri Wandikbo 7 Juni 2012 340, 56,  UU 8/1981 8 years KNPB activist tortured in Jayapura Yes Yes Abepura
29 Darius Kogoya 1 Mei 2012 106 3 years 1 May demo and flag-raising No No Abepura
30 Wiki Meaga 20 November 2010 106 8 years Yalengga flag-raising No Yes Wamena
31 Meki Elosak 20 November 2010 106 8 years Yalengga flag-raising No Yes Wamena
32 Filep Karma 1 Desember 2004 106 15 years Abepura flag-raising 2004 No Yes Abepura
33 Yusanur Wenda 30 April 2004 106 17 years Wunin arrests Yes No Wamena
34 Linus Hiel Hiluka 27 Mei 2003 106 19 years and 10 months Wamena ammunition store raid Yes Yes Nabire
35 Kimanus Wenda 12 April 2003 106 19 years and 10 months Wamena ammunition store raid Yes Yes Nabire
36 Jefrai Murib 12 April 2003 106 Life Wamena ammunition store raid Yes Yes Abepura
37 Numbungga Telenggen 11 April 2003 106 Life Wamena ammunition store raid Yes Yes Biak
38 Apotnalogolik Lokobal 10 April 2003 106 20 years Wamena ammunition store raid Yes Yes Biak

 

Coalition calls on Bupati to revoke PT Nabire Baru’s permit

Report by our partners AwasMifee

February 13, 2015

A group of organisations using the name “Coalition caring for oil palm victims in Nabire” is urging the Bupati of Nabire to revoke PT Nabire Baru’s oil palm plantation permit. This would follow a precedent set by the Bupati of Mimika last December, who revoked PT Pusaka Agro Lestari’s permit. Like PT Nabire Baru, that company had already been operating for a few years, and had cleared thousands of hectares of forest.

PT Nabire Baru is possibly the most controversial plantation in Papua. There are many aspects which are seen as problematic, from the way the company dealt with customary land rights to the lack of an environmental impact assessment before land clearing started. The plantation has divided the community and there have been a string of violent incidents at the hands of Police Mobile Brigade (Brimob) guards employed to guard the company’s operation.

The organisations involved in the coalition are: Dewan Adat Meepago, Dewan Lingkunagan Masyarakat Adat Papua, PUSAKA, Greenpeace, FIM. Here are their demands:

In line with law 21 of 2001 concerning the recognition and protection of the rights of customary communities and Law No 39 of 1999 concerning human rights, and in order to avoid misunderstandings between the Yerisiam people and the Nabire Consultative Leadership Board (Muspida), together with indigenous communites we recommend that:

  1. The Governor of Papua province should revoke PT Nabire Baru’s plantation permit (IUP) and arrange a meeting between PT Nabire Baru and the Yerisiam indienous community. If PT Nabire Baru doesn’t want to meet these demands then its plantation permit should be revoked.
  2. In the spirit of Papuan special autonomy, PT Nabire Baru and PT Sariwana Unggal Mandiri must start negotiations with customary landowners, in this case from the Yerisiam and Mee ethnic groups, to talk about a MoU with the Yerisiam people and compensation for the wood that has already been extracted
  3. It must be stated that the transfer of land from Yunus Monei to Imam Basrowi which took place on on 15th October 2008 was invalid because it violated the rights of customary communities, as in customary law it is impossible for one person to own land covering thousands of hectares.
    Source: Pusaka

Papuan News website Majalah Selangkah, which is based in Nabire, also filed the following story:

To protect the people, Nabire’s Bupati urged to shut down oil palm company PT Nabire Baru

There are indications that an oil Palm company, PT Nabire Baru, which has taken over the Yerisiam people’s lands, has violated the terms of Law 21 of 2001 concerning recognition and protection of the rights of customary communities as also laid down in Law No 39 of 1999 concerning human rights. This is believed to have caused new conflicts between the indigenous communities, the company and the Nabire Regency government.

The issue has attracted a response from a member of Commission 1 of the Papuan Provincial Legislative Council, Laurenzus Kadepa. Kadepa supports the closure of PT Nabire Baru.

He said that the Bupati of Nabire needed to learn from the Bupati of Mimika who recently shut down the PT Pusaka Agro Lestari company which was operating in his administration’s territory. According to Kadepa, that action was taken by a brave leader who valued human rights and the survival of local communities, including future generations.

Kadepa appealed for the Bupati of Nabire to look at Merauke and Keerom regencies, where after local governments accepted oil palm companies, negative impacts for local communies followed. There, Kadepa continued, a glaring divide had emerged between different segments of society.

“Dont let that haappen in Nabire,” was Kadepa’s clear reminder

“I fear that problems like that in Degeuwo Bayabiru in Kabupaten Paniai will also happen in Nabire Regency , to the Yerisiam people. They are taking wood as it suits them, and recklessly grabbing ancestral land”. Kadepa made clear [translator’s note: Degeuwo is an informal gold-mining area where migrants mostly from Sulawesi have been accompanied by violence and social problems into a previously inaccessible forest area].

According to him, the companies have been creating a “living hell” for the indigenous people on their own ancestral lands.

“Giving permits to corporations to clear land is ‘hell’. It will only bring new conflicts to the local indigenous people”, Kadepa said.

It is hoped that the government will make the people’s interests their priority, acting out of humanity and thinking about indigenous people’s livelihoods into the future. “Don’t look at the company’s money, look towards the people. Don’t just prioritize private and corporate interests, because the impacts will be terrible, especially in Nabire which is the main route into several regencies in the central mountains”, Kadepa made clear.
Source: Majalah Selangkah

Landowner clan shows PT Agriprima Cipta Persada in Muting the limit for land clearing

In Muting, near Merauke, oil palm company PT Agriprima Cipta Persada (ACP) is expanding its plantation area by clearing forest on which local indigenous people hold customary ownership rights.

https://awasmifee.potager.org/uploads/2014/06/patok-adat-d-muting-427x450.jpg
The Ndiken Malindan clan has planted traditional customary land marking poles to delineate the limits that agribusiness can work on their land.

Previously in 2013, PT ACP had already cut down the forest and cleared around 2000 hectares of land, allocated to the local transmigrant population but some distance from their village, to plant oil palm.

The forestry ministry still has not accepted PT ACP’s request to release land (currently classified as production forest that can be converted) from the state forest estate. Even without the permits, the company has continued to clear the forest around the Alfasera 4 transmigration area, and the area cleared continues to increase.

At the border of the forest belonging to Alfasera 3, the head of the Ndiken Malindan clan, Pius Ndiken, has planted poles which are a traditional symbol to forbid the company to undertake activities in the forest for which his clan holds the customary rights. The pole is wooden, and is tied with coconut leaves, with red paint around the tip, driven into the ground around the forest’s edge.

“We are making this customary blockade because the company is not keeping to its promises to resource the local population”, said Pius Ndiken. Pius had previously been recruited as one of ACP’s security guards, but was forced to leave his job because there was no indication that the company was going to fulfil the promises it had made, for example to build housing, help to pay for education and because the company was not paying a reasonable wage.

According to Paulus Ndiken, former village head in Muting, the reason the people are blocking the company is because they know that the land which has been ceded to the company [by other clans] is actually part of the territory of two transmigration settlements, and not ‘adat forest’ [where the indigenous people are the undisputed owners].

Pusaka

Problems faced by Sinar Mas plantation workers in Lereh, Jayapura

translated by our partners at awasMifee from a SKP Jayapura report

SKPKC Jayapura staff organised a meeting in the Juk-Lereh church which was attended by around 20 employees of PT Sinar Mas. The meeting was a response to the Taja parish priest Hendik Nahak’s request to address problems facing workers at Sinar Mas’s oil palm plantation.

Father Hendrik explained that there are quite a few problems that occur in the oil palm plantation, but they are covered up by the company. The problems relate to, for example, workers’ rights, recruitment, clean water and habitable accommodation. Father Hendrik’s explanation was confirmed by the workers present in the meeting. They made clear that these problems had been ongoing for some time and were frequently ignored by the company.

Problems that often arise include recruiting company workers by using supervisors who find the workers, making all sorts of enticing promises. People who want to work for the company are asked to sign agreements to accept all company decisions concerning their wages and other working conditions.

There are also problems concerning housing and clean water. The company brings new workers to the site without taking their accommodation needs into consideration, meaning that 3x3m2 houses are being inhabited by two or even three families. People have to rely on rainwater for their everyday clean water needs because the nearby river is polluted by fertilizer which is sprayed by aeroplane. Then when wages are paid, money is docked without explanation, meaning that quarrels sometimes break out between workers and supervisors.

Source: SKP Jayapura

50 Years of the Violation of Basic Human Rights in West Papua: Part one and two

Statement by Yan Christian Warinussy, Executive Director of LP3BH, made in preparation for discussions that were due to take place at the beginning of 2014.]
March 10, 2014

As an organisation which advocates basic human rights in the Land of Papua, the LP3BH – Manokwari wishes to record to all those who have remained silent about the conditions now prevailing in the Land of Papua, the experiences of the indigenous Papuan people who have ceaselessly tried to ensure that no-one will forget what has been happening  in this territory since 1 May 1963 and what continues to happen systematically up to the present day

      To begin with, it is essential to understand the history, in order to understand who it was who was responsible for the status  imposed on the Land of Papua on 1 May 1963. The indigenous Papua people have every right to enjoy all the rights that have been stipulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and  various international covenants regarding economic, social and political rights  as well as other international covenants all of which have been disregarded with regard to the situation in West Papua.
      At the time of Papua’s incorporation into the Republic of Indonesia, Ali Murtopo (a senior adviser to the then president of Indonesia) was quoted as saying: “What we want and need is the land in Papua, not the Papuans who live there.”
      In 1967, a Contract of Work was concluded by Indonesia regarding the exploitation of the copper and gold and possibly also uranium around the Grasberg Mountain around Tembagapura which was widely known to the Indonesian government as well as a US multinational corporation called Freeport McMoran.
    This makes it very clear why the USA played such an active role on the diplomatic front to ensure that West Papua would be incorporated as part of Indonesia, despite the glaring differences between the Papuan people with regard to their history, as well as their anthropology and ethnography and people living in other parts of Indonesia.
      It was abundantly evident that the USA was very interested in the natural resources in West Papua which explains why that country took such an interest in this matter.
“Gentlemen, I am angry with God. Why has God created such beautiful mountains, valleys and rivers, rich with minerals and placed us, the indigenous peoples, here in this place that attracts so many people from around the world to come, exploit our resources, and kill us?”
 [Translator’s Note: This prayer was said in 1994 by a man who lived on the Grasberg Mountain, who bemoaned the fact that the territory inhabited by Amungme people was so richly endowed with natural resources of huge interest to the USA.]
       That man whose name was Tuarek Narkime delivered words that are widely known to and understood* by the leaders and people of the Amungme tribe in drawing attention to the many violations of the rights of these people which were perpetrated in the area when the Freeport mine was being  established, during the course of which many Amungme people lost their lives as a result of actions by Freeport personnel as well as by members of the Indonesian army and police, although none of these people have ever been called account before a court of law for what they have done.
     These introductory remarks provide the basis for everyone anywhere in the world and all democrats around the world to take a new look at the past as well at the present regarding the acts of violence that continue to occur in the vicinity of the Freeport mine without anyone ever being called to account for what they have done.

Ever since 1963 and 1967, the LP3BH has recorded the fact that the Republic of Indonesia has consistently used violence against the West Papuan people, something that even started to happen before those years.

    On 15 August 1962, when the New York  Agreement was signed by Indonesia and The Netherlands under the supervision of the United States of America, the Papuan people were not involved’ They were not even consulted for their opinion. Yet, at that time there was a New Guinea Council  which consisted of representatives of  the Papuan people, the members of which were chosen by means of democratically held elections which took place on 5 April 1961 in Hollandia (now called Jayapura).
      [All the names of the members of the Council who were elected, of whom 22 were Papuans, are listed  as well as those who were appointed which included one Papuan and five Dutch people, including one Indo-Dutch person.]
    Besides that, there were two major religious organisations, – the GKI [Evangelical Christian Church] and the Catholic Church] which were spread across  the whole of the Land of Papua. Yet, these churches were never consulted as part of civil society in the territory at the time. This was despite the fact that the UN was involved  in the creation of UNTEA as well as The Netherlands and the USA.
     What we mean by being consulted is all about the framework and  the possible problems that might arise among the indigenous Papuan people who were regarded as being too primitive  to take part in an election held according to the principle of ‘one person, one vote’. Were the towns and villages in West Papua too complex for the New Guinea Council or the two churches to choose their leaders? Such advice would have been very useful and important in deciding on on how to conduct the elections in accordance with the traditions  and customary laws that were vibrant among the Papuan people. who were supposed to have been consulted by means of the Act of Free Choice which was to have been held by 1969 in the Land of Papua.
     There was never any request for advice or opinion from the Papuan people. Still worse, what actually happened was that Papuans were arrested and even  cruelly tortured for allegedly being involved in an ‘underground movement’, with the intention of overthrowing the Indonesian Government. This is what happened to Baldus Mofu as a result of which he was mentally damaged at the hands of the military police and members of the Indonesian Air Force in Manokwari. Another Papua, Nicholas Tanggahma is believed to have died  after ingesting food that had been poisoned when he was staying at the Arfak Hotel in Manokwari in 1969.
     Several other members of the Council such as Marcus Kaisiepo and Nicholas Jouwe were arrested and taken to Europe prior to the Act of Free Choice. Others were treated in the same way, including E.J Bonay, F.K.T. Poana, A.S. Onim and Thontjee Meset.
     All these acts of violence were perpetrated by members of the Indonesian security forces, the TNI and Polri. and further intensified as the Act of Free Choice drew near in August 1969.
     The LP3BH is well aware of the fact that many activists in Biak, Sorong, Manokwari, Jayapura, Wamena, Nabire  as well as in Merauke were arbitrarily arrested by the TNI and Polri some of whom were summarily killed. An example of what happened occurred on 28 July 1969 in Manokwari when 53 Papuans were summarily executed at the headquarters of the Infantry Battalion in Arfak-Manokwari.
     Such human rights violations have systematically occurred ever since that time, following the enactment of Law 12/1999. This was clarified in the General Remarks contained in paragraph 1, section 6 which state: ‘The Act of Free Choice  in West Irian  was a manifestation of the aspirations of the Papuan people and resulted in the people of Papua and  West Papua  expressing their wish to be united with the people of other regions of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia, affirming  that West Papua is part of the Unitary Republic of Indonesia.’
      The afore-mentioned statement became the legal basis for the Indonesian Government to enforce paragraphs 109 and 110 in law.  This codification was part of the law under the Dutch Constitution [Wetboek van Strafrecht]  whenever the government takes firm action against the Papuan people when they challenge  ‘Papua’s political integration’.
     As a result of all this, every time  that people in Papua or West Papua seek to challenge ‘political integration’  using their right to freedom of expression as guaranteed in Law 39/1999
on Basic Human Rights as well as universal human rights, they are accused of the crime of treason under the Indonesian Constitution.
      Such incidences occurred in Biak on 6 July 1999 when a group of Papuans unfurled the Morning Star Flag under the leadership of Filep Karma which resulted in his being subjected to acts of brutality by the TNI and Polri and which moreover resulted in dozens, even hundreds, of Papuans falling as victims, some of whom even lost their lives. All this resulted in Filep Karma and his colleagues facing the charge of treason.
(End of part on and  two of the translation.)
Translated by Carmel Budiardjo, founder of Tapol