Category Archives: CoProduction

Papuan cultural parade blockaded then broken up by Jayapura Police

From KNPB and West Papua Media sources in Jayapura

February 20, 2014

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Traditional Cultural Action, Jayapura, 17 February 2014

A cultural parade organised by university students in Jayapura was blockaded and then dispersed with force by Indonesian police on February 17, after Indonesian police refused to recognise West Papuan cultural expression.

The demonstration of culture, music, art and dance from across Papua’s indigenous tribes, in which several hundred students in two groups marched wearing traditional Papuan dress, was to highlight the demand of “Save the Papuan Culture”.  The manifestation was organised by the Youth Coalition for the Rise of Students (Koalisi Pemuda mahasiswa bangkit or KPMB) and the Cenderawasih University’s (Uncen) Student Executive Body (Badan Eksekutif Mahasiswa or BEM).

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Speakers, songs and dances were performed from 8-10am local time in two locations, outside the Uncen Waena Housing Complex (Perumnas III) and in front of the post office in the town of Abepura, and at 10am, the Perumnas III mass began to march and dance their way to Abepura.

However Police blockaded the mass action once the crowd reached the Waena traffic lights.  Despite having previously notified police of their intention to hold the parade, field coordinators of the action were forced to negotiate with the police, pointing to the KPMB’s intention to hold a peaceful action that day in the form of Papuan cultural art.

However, in an outburst witnessed by a West Papua Media stringer, the Deputy Commander of the Jayapura District Police, the notorious hardliner Kiki Kurnia refused to let the gathering continue, warning the crowd that he would not tolerate “introducing some culture from an unknown place”.  “There is no such culture such as that in Indonesia,” Kurnia asserted, dismissing over 45,000 years of Papuan language, culture and art.

Kurnia then prohibited the students from displaying any form of Papuan culture, and further stated that the crowd “was prohibited from carrying out any action of any form whatsoever as the Governor had prohibited all forms of actions,”. according to independent sources and verified by WPM.  Just after 10am local time, ordered several platoons of heavily armed police to blockade and disperse the cultural gathering.  Several injuries were reported but unconfirmed.

After being forcefully dispersed,  a much larger mass returned and gathered in front of UNCEN’s main entrance, lighting a bonfire on the road in response.  According to witnesses, this crowd was spread out as far as Perumnas III in Waena, a distance of several kilometres.

According to the cultural event organisers, the crowd outside UNCEN was angrily voicing their objections to the continued silencing of the democratic space throughout all of Papua by the Police, with speakers expressing outrage at the betrayal of the culture of Papua.

“That the police had been obstructing the mass action stating ‘Where are you bringing this culture from? We don’t have any culture like that in Indonesia’ angered us all, as it is seen as a denial of the Papuan culture,” an organiser told West Papua National Committee (KNPB) media workers.

Members of the gathering clearly spoke out that if the police continued to betray and deny Papuan culture in such a way, that Papuans would mount an even larger scale action asserting the Papuan culture, and that they would boycott the 2014 presidential election, according to reports from the KNPB.  The action Coordinator Beny Wetipo then called upon the Papuan community and all parties to save the Papuan culture from being replaced by a foreign culture that was threatening the existence of the Papuan race.

Papuan human rights hearing at European Parliament a step forward

from West Papua Media stringers in Jayapura, and Tabloid Jubi in Brussels

January 29, 2014

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Efforts to the highlight the issue of ongoing human rights abuses in West Papua to European institutions took a significant step forward last week, as a coalition of international civil society groups testified at a special European Parliament hearing in Brussels this week.

According to sources in Brussels, the Human Rights Subcommittee of the European Union Parliament in Brussels held a hearing on the situation in West Papua.  The hearing was organised after a large number of international human rights NGOs sent letters to the committee outlining violations in the occupied territory.

Outlining the precarious state of media freedom in West Papua, Victor Mambor from the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) – Jayapura, presented the AJI findings on  cases of violence against journalists in Papua, calling on the EU to ensure the protection of media freedom in Papua.

“There are still double standards in Papua and Indonesia when it comes to media freedom and the application of the press law,” Mambor explained. AJI had documented 22 cases of threats and violence against journalists in Papua in 2013.

According to the International Coalition for Papua,  Members of the European Parliament stressed that the situation in West Papua had too long been ignored in discussions and called for closer involvement.

Last week, the EU Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee adopted a report recommending  the preparation of an EU- Indonesia Partnership and Cooperation Agreement.  Member of the European Parliament Anamaria Gomes  emphasized that this agreement should be the framework for the parliament to look further into the conditions in West Papua.

Meanwhile in Papua, despite an ongoing threat of dispersal by Indonesian security forces, Papuan civil society groups successfully held peaceful manifestations in several centres across Papua over two days, calling on Indonesia to restrain itself, and for the European Union to take action on human rights abuses in Papua.

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In TImika, the colonial mining town downstream from the massive Freeport gold and copper mine, members of the KNPB and West Papua Regional Parliament held an impromptu photo exhibition of human rights violations in West Papua outside the Papuan parliament office.  Prayers and speeches followed with discussion and support of the European Parliament meeting underway at the time.  Unusually, no reports were received of any threats or intimidation from Indonesian or Freeport security forces, and the gathering dispersed peacefully.

Papuan students successfully conducted peaceful rallies in Jayapura and Merauke on the 23rd of January, to highlight the subcommittee hearing.   A small gathering of the Papua Student Movement (GEMPAR or “uproar” ) held the demonstration outside the front gate of Cenderawasih University (UNCEN ) in Jayapura.

Students spread a large banner at the front door of UNCEN , which included some photos of human rights abuses by army / police against indigenous Papuans . Gempar organiser Alfa Rahmadodo said at the gathering,  “we ask the International (community) to urge the Indonesian government to stop human rights abuses and suppression of democracy in Papua, and we support (the news that) European governments will discuss about human rights in Papua.” .

In Brussels, Norman Voss, from Human Rights and Peace for Papua, an international coalition of faith-based and civil society organizations (ICP), called for the release of all political prisoners in Papua and reminded of the long outstanding visit of UN human rights mechanisms to Papua. “Papua needs to be opened up and international human rights norms be realised for Papuans. A peaceful and sustainable change cannot be expected in a climate of fear and repression of political dissent.”

In June 2013, the UN Human Rights Committee in Geneva reviewed Indonesia’s implementation of civil and political rights and urged Indonesia to lift the restrictions on freedom of expression and opinion in Papua.

Zely Ariane from the National Papua Solidarity in Jakarta explained that “the Indonesian government should admit that the state of human rights in Papua is serious.” She called on the EU to put pressure on the Indonesian government to continue their commitment to conduct a dialogue with Papua.

(European reporting from Tabloid Jubi)

Key OPM Figure Danny Kogoya dies from injuries from Densus 88 shooting

danny kogoya in vanimo
Danny Kogoya. Photo: Liam Cochrane/ ABC

From our partners in Jayapura, MAJALAH SELANGKAH with additional reporting from West Papua Media

December 16, 2013

A well known figure in the armed wing of the Papuan Independence Organisation (Organisasi Papua Merdeka (OPM)) Danny Kogoya, is reported to have died at a location in PNG close to the Indonesian PNG border on Sunday (15 December 2013).

A contact for majalahselangkah.com in Jayapura explained that Kogoya died as a result of an infection in his right leg, which had been amputated following being shot  when arrested by Police in Jayapura at the Dani Hotel in Entrop Jayapura on 2 September 2012.

Police at the time said Kogoya was attacked due to him being a suspect in a shooting at Jayapura and was shot in the foot when trying to flee through the back of the hotel. Following being shot he was taken to the police hospital (Bhayangkara) at Kotaraja for acute medical treatment.

He was then detained in a cell at the Jayapura Police Headquarters, after which he was moved to the Abepura Prison. He faced the State Court (Class I.A) in  Jayapura for suspected involvement in the abovestated shooting but was eventually released by the law.

Once released he went to Camp Victoria (an OPM Camp) close to the border between PNG and Indonesia. Whilst there a member of the governing forces in the border region sent a photo of Kogoya to the police in Jayapura, resulting in him being yet again threatened with arrest. So finally he fled to PNG.

The journey to PNG led to an infection in the wound where his foot had been amputated, so he was given traditional treatment in the forest of PNG. At that time he was quoted by the ABC as having urged the leaders of the OPM who had gathered at Camp Victoria, to continue the struggle to separate from Indonesia.

“ My foot has been cut-off because I am a member of the OPM and I personally urge for independence (for Papua). Papua must be independent of Indonesia” stated Danny Kogoya to the ABC.

Kogoya’s Body to be Taken Home

Activist Matius Murib wrote on Facebook  that it was planned for the body of the late Danny Kogoya to be taken back to Papua to be buried. He stated that coordination and administrative requirements to enable that had already been arranged.

“In relation to the plan to send the body of a Papuan activist Danny Kogoya from Vanimo, PNG back to Jayapura city this date (16/12/2013), technical coordination at the border and the arranging of administrative matters, protection and family to receive the body at Vanimo have already been organised and the family have guaranteed security in regards to the order of things and also that all will run smoothly” noted Murib on Facebook.

He requested the Police to not enter the area in the vicinity of the funeral home at Kamkey Abepura. Journalists have been banned from joining the funeral ceremony from the time of the funeral procession, at the funeral home and until the end of the funeral proceedings.

On Tuesday afternoon, stringers for West Papua Media had reported that heavily armed police and army had deployed in their hundreds around the home area of Kogoya outside Jayapura, escalating an already tense situation.  Our sources have also reported that no protest actions are planned, amid intelligence agencies actions to focus on a propaganda campaign discouraging local residents from commemorating Kogoya’s death.  According to our stringers, present in Jayapura, this campaign of broadcasts and public announcements is threatening the use of force if any mourning “crosses over to support pro-independence”.

The situation is being monitored closely, and may escalate.  For urgent updates, please see our Twitter feed @westpapuamedia .

(AE/GE/IST/MS/WPM)

(Translated by West Papua Media)

Related articles
opening fire

Shootings, killings, beatings, arrests as Hundreds flee to jungle after Indon Police open fire on peaceful KNPB demo

From the entire West Papua Media team in PNG and West Papua

November 28, 2013

WPM apologises for the delay in posting due to the remote location of the WPM team, and the delays in finding independent witnesses to help in cross-checking of this extreme situation.  This situation is developing and will be updated as more information comes to hand.

Key developments:

  • Indonesian police open fire on peaceful protesters in Jayapura, with at least four gunshot wounds and one death;
  • West Papuan activists and families forced to flee to the jungle for safety;
  • Indonesian security forces conduct scores of raids, sweeps and offensives against West Papuan civilians;
  • Attacks happen during visit of National Police Chief General Sutarman
  • over 200 people arrested across West Papua;
  • Journalists attacked by Indonesian police;

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Images from the crackdown in Jayapura (Credit:West Papua Media/MS); Images from Arrests in Timika (Credit: KNPBNews.com); and Wamena (Credit: WestPapuaMedia/KNPBNews.com).

Indonesian forces have again opened fire on a peaceful Jayapura gathering of about 500 people held by the West Papua National Committee (KNPB), with the shooting of at least 4 demonstrators, and the confirmed death of at least one, on November 26.  A total of 15 people are still in serious condition in hospitals around Jayapura with a range of wounds sustained during the live fire dispersal by Indonesian police.

In the worst single act of Indonesian state violence since the October 19 2011 crackdown on the Third Papuan Peoples Congress, ongoing sweeps and arrests have been continuing in the time since, causing most members of the KNPB fleeing with their families into the relative safety of the jungle.  Unconfirmed reports have also surface that the police have called in the Indonesian Army (TNI) to hunt for KNPB members.

Correspondents have also reported to West Papua Media that Indonesian radio stations in Papua have been broadcasting repeated messages from the Indonesian police against all pro-independence forces, starting with the KNPB.  “We will use force to break apart the KNPB,” a senior Indonesian Police figure in Papua was heard to say on all Jayapura radio stations early on Wednesday morning.  Unconfirmed reports have said that these broadcasts have been repeated hourly across West Papua, with the National Police Chief also issuing warnings that separatism will not be accepted any more.

The rally was part of a nationwide day of mobilisations in solidarity with the opening of the Free West Papua Campaign office in Papua New Guinea on November 28.  31 people were arrested by Police in Timika, and 3 arrested in Sorong as KNPB chapters there also organised rallies and prayers to support the opening of the PNG office, which is being held with the involvement of thousands of people throughout Papua New Guinea, including senior members of the PNG Parliament.

A rally in Wamena drew several thousand enthusiastic and cheering supporters wearing traditional dress (many bedecked in the banned Morning Star flag) on a long march mass action, led by KNPB Wamena region Chairman, Simion Dabi  This was the only rally where police were vastly outnumbered by participants, and police blockaded several points along the route but did not attempt to prevent the rally from going ahead.

Jayapura
The Jayapura shooting victim, KNPB activist Matthius Tengget from near Oksibil in the Star Mountains, died of his wounds in custody.  However, his body was not retrieved until Wednesday evening after it was dumped into the lake, allegedly by those members of the Brimob paramilitary police units who shot him as they were conducting the dispersal.  At time of writing, his family were conducting his funeral in Sentani.

According to a statement from KNPB General Chairman Victor Yeimo, currently in Abepura prison, “KNPB and family members of the victims are also looking for four (4) other KNPB members that are missing: their whereabouts are unknown or their bodies have not yet been found. Three of the victims carry the Mul surname and the fourth Lambe. We strongly suspect that the police shot them and disposed of their bodies.”

“Until now we are still looking for possible victims of yesterday’s mass action who were most presumably shot and disappeared: in their attempt to disperse yesterday’s demonstration, the Police and the Mobile Brigade fired a lot of shots and they chased many demonstrators towards Buper, the Housing Complex III, Ekspo, until Iyoka and all the way to the edge of Sentani Lake,” said Yeimo.

Up to 15 people were hospitalised from both gunshots and beatings, including a group of three young women from the Yahukimo dormitory who were savagely beaten by police during their arrests.  More reports have also been given that scores of female activists were rounded up and severely beaten by Indonesian police and military officers.

The shootings were under the operational field command of the notorious hardliner Deputy Jayapura Police Chief Kiki Kurnia, Abepura area POlice commander Deky Hursepunny, together with Jayapura Police Chief Alfred Papare, with the Deputy Papua
Police Chief Paulus Waterpauw and Papua Police Chief Tito Karnavian allegedly sighted monitoring the situation from their private Kijang vehicles.

Police have predictably launched a propaganda offensive across its tame colonial media networks in West Papua, accusing the KNPB of conducting a riot.  However, stringers for West Papua Media, independent witnesses in the busy Waena shopping area, and KNPB spokespeople have all vehemently denied riotous behaviour by the protesters, instead describing how a peaceful sit-in was brutally dispersed under the orders of a cohort of four senior police officers, who have been personally responsible for ordering significant and ongoing human rights abuses against KNPB members.

Direct Witness to Brutality
A survivor of Tuesday’s violence fled to Papua New Guinea immediately after the shooting, was directly interviewed by West Papua Media  – unidentified for their own safety – and has described how police opened fire without targeting, instead firing indiscriminately into the crowd.

Before the shooting, a mass of people had gathered in the field outside the Expo Waena bus terminal and market in front of the Museum, mainly sitting and chatting while listening to speeches.  According to the witness, police surrounded the gathering on three sides, and the protest leader Buchtar Tabuni attempted to negotiate with senior police present, including the Alfred Papare, Kiki Kurnia and Deky Hursepunny. As it became clear that police were refusing to negotiate with Tabuni, demonstrators agreed to maintain the peaceful action.

According to the witness, Senior police then yelled to the crowd, ordering them to disperse.  However, almost immediately, and without further warning of escalation of the threat, Police commanders ordered the front ranks of police in front of the bus terminal to open fire.

“When the the shooting started, as I was running, I saw the KapolSek Deky Hursepunny and Kapolresta Alfred Papare standing at the gate, directing his police where to fire,” the witness said.

Upon questioning, the witness testified that police initially fired tear gas, but switched very quickly to automatic weapons.   The witness also confirmed that instead of individually targeting demonstrators, police seemed to be firing wildly into the crowd, firing indiscriminately.

Both the order to open fire without warning, and the subsequent excessive use of firearms against civilians are direct violations of both Indonesian and international law.  International Lawyer Jennifer Robinson, Convener of the International Lawyers for West Papua and currently meeting in PNG, told West Papua Media that “This use of excessive force against KNPB members is in breach of international law and Indonesia’s own police regulations on the use of force”.

“This latest incident falls within a repeated pattern of the use of excessive and lethal force by Indonesian police against peaceful activists in West Papua which is indicative of a broader state policy. Continued impunity for the police involved is unacceptable and the failure to punish gives rise to command and state responsibility,” Robinson said.

Many beatings were meted out on KNPB members by Police during the arrests, with allegations that rifle butts were repeatedly used – a standard practice for the Indonesian police against peaceful demonstrators in Papua.

Plain clothes police special forces, described by the witness as “Polisi Preman” (Police gangsters), then continued two days of terror against West Papuan civilians, some in no way connected with the civil resistance movement.  This campaign, at time of writing, shows no sign of lessening.

“We were running across Waena.  Police used many rental cars and were driving around in balaclavas like terrorists, pointing automatic weapons outside their vehicles, and shooting now around Perumnas 1, causing all who could see it to hide in their houses.  At the same time a black Avanza stopped in front of us, followed by white and red Avanzas, pointing weapons at all Papuans present. We ran, because we knew we were about to be shot – we had to seek safety with Indonesian transmigrants, who were unaware of the situation,” the witness told West Papua Media wearily.

“After police shoot the demonstrators, participants fled to the forest.  Police then conducted a brutal sweep, targeting anyone who was wearing dreadlocks, beard, or even wearing sunglasses, and arresting them all,” the witness said.  Civilians have fled in panic, and the witness described Waena as deserted when they fled.  Families of those at the demonstrations have fled to the jungle.  It is not known of normal social functions are continuing, due to the difficulty in getting direct contact with sources in Jayapura.

Our witness reported that two days prior to the demonstration, Indonesian army helicopters were searching extensively around the hills in areas that would be the the first point of refuge for civilian after any shooting.

The witness survivor believes that this indicated that the shootings by police were premeditated and planned, although West Papua Media has been unable to independently confirm this.  However the attacks on protesters occurred just prior to the arrival at Sentani airport of National Police Chief General Sutarman, who has exploited the lack of honest reportage by colonial media to issue more threats against any Papuans who dare dream they can freely express themselves.

“We will take firm action against groups or individuals wanting to separate Papua from Indonesia because Papua is part of Indonesia,” State media Antara quoted Sutarman telling the colonial press in Jayapura.

Tabloid Jubi reported that the Papua Deputy Police Chief Waterpauw has denied KNPB the right to freedom of expression, permanently. ” I made it clear to the group West Papua National Committee ( KNPB ), immediately stop the steps that are likely to violence . Whatever the form of their intention and desire to perform activities in public hearings, (it) will never be given permission or recommendation to implement it , because we know the purpose of the organisation and their desire is clear , (they) want to form a state , split off and so on , “said Waterpauw on Tuesday ( 26/11 ) evening in Jayapura City police headquarters.

An independent international observer in Jayapura contacted by West Papua Media just prior to publication, speaking on condition of anonymity, went even further than the witness now in PNG, stating unequivocally that the crackdown was a “premeditated, highly engineered manufacturing of consent of the type that Tito Karnavian is such a master of, just like his OTK killings.”

“It beggars belief that Karnavian, hoping to please his boss – or more to the point those who would seek to replace the boss with Karnavian – would not be the engine of of a textbook counterinsurgency operation to smash a pesky bunch of separatists.  The only problem is, those separatists are unarmed and were conducting a peaceful gathering.  It looks like the whole thing was organised for a long time.  It is well beyond time those gangsters were held to account,” the observer said, naming Karnavian, Kurnia, Papare and Waterpauw as the perpetrators of massive human rights abuses against Papuan civilians.

The observer added that they saw the gathering just prior to its dispersal and can vouch for the gathering’s peaceful conduct, but was disturbed at the large number of security forces that were surrounding Waena.  “There were at least ten platoons of Brimob, and hundreds of swanggi (ghosts) everywhere, surrounding on three sides the KNPB sitting in a park,” the observer said – confirming maps drawn by the survivor witness.  “They were itching for brutality.  How is this Policing?”

A total of twenty eight people were arrested, but were released by Wednesday night.  KNPB national spokesperson Wim Rocky Medlama told SuaraPapua.com that they are fed up with the police’s actions, which are arrogant and excessive. “This is too excessive. And I think that the police have much to learn. So that they undertake their duties in accordance with the orders”, as quoted in SuaraPapua.com.

Olga Hamadi, the coordinator of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (KontraS) Papua, also told SuaraPapua that the police’s actions were excessive and the pattern of arrests should stop.

“I’ve only just heard this information. I think that the police are too excessive. Patters of arrests such as this should no longer be necessary. This is included under the rights of each person to express themselves. Moreover this is a democratic country right”, she said in an SMS message sent to Suara Papua, adding that people expressing their views should not be attacked and arrested. “They should be given space. The issue of expressing views in public should not be responded to with arrests and law enforcement. If [the police] are going to be like this it won’t solve the Papuan problem”, said Hamadi.

More arrests
Earlier on Tuesday morning at 8:13 local time. KNPB Secretary-General Ones Suhun was arrested with 6 members of the KNPB (Assa Asso, Okram Wanimbo, Sam Lokobal, Meminda (Mendenas) Sol, Konoru Wenda, and Bonsan Mirin) by Indonesian Police outside the Student dormitories at Putaran Perumnas 3, Waena, Jayapura.  They had just begun to hand out leaflets about the afternoon’s peaceful rally calling for the respect of West Papua’s right to self-determination. Most were released by Wednesday night.

Reports received by West Papua Media overnight from distressed sources fleeing through the jungle have confirmed that a further series of brutal sweeps and raids had occurred all afternoon and evening on Tuesday and continuing through Wednesday, with unconfirmed reports of Puma helicopters being used to find activists.  Hundreds of heavily armed Police were used to raid the offices of the KNPB Secretariat on Tuesday afternoon, also confiscating  all the contents and destroying what was left.

At least thirty more people were reportedly arrested overnight on the 26th, although this has not been independently verified by West Papua Media, however Buchtar Tabuni was moved by his supporters to a safe location.

Across Papua
In Sorong, the KNPB rally was also forcibly broken up by Police, and Marthinus Yohame (regional Chairman of KNPB), Kantius Heselo (Vice chair KNPB Sorong), Natalis Surabut Gebby Mambrasar, Nius Loho and Welem Surabut, were arrested for holding the rally, but were released overnight.

In TImika,  31 people were arrested by a Joint Police and TNI taskforce at Kelly Kwalik’s Cemetery Park at about 8.15 in the morning as they began to gather for their demonstration.  Police also arrested The Chairman of KNPB Region Timika, Steven Itlay and the chair of Mimika’s Parliament, Abihut Degey  while leading peaceful rally in demand the right of Self-determination in West Papua and are being held still at the Police Post, Mile 32. Their names are:
1. Steven Itlay
2. Abihud Degey
3. Billy Hagawal
4. Dony Mote
5. Petrus Bobii
6. Bony Bora
7. Yulianus Edoway
8. Paulus Doo
9. Martinus Pekey
10. Paulina Pakage
11. Agustin Pekey
12. Sony Ukago
13. Daniel Kotouki
14. Seprianus Edoway
15. Argenes Pigay
16. Menase Dimi
17. Timotius Kossay
18. Welius Kogoya
19. Demianus Kogoya
20. Kasianus Kamke
21. Aduart Suruan
22. Melianus Gobay
23. Pais Nasia
24. Makson Kotouki
25. Maria Piligain
26. Markus Entama
27. Yustinus Pigome
28. Sior Heselo
29. Semuel Edoway
30. Agus Itlay
31. Yakonias Womsiwor

Biak also saw its KNPB rally broken up police, with several arrests reported and injuries sustained.  KNPB Biak Chairman Apollos Sroyer reported to West Papua Media that the actions of police were again excessive in preventing a prayer session from going ahead, using scores of police and troops to blockade access to the church.  Police dispersed the crowd later in the afternoon.

In Manokwari, KNPB members were also banned from holding any events in solidarity with the PNG office opening, but were able to negotiate with the hundreds of riot police, and the rally went ahead with several hundred participants, dispersing peacefully after a prayer in the late afternoon.

In remote Yahukimo in the highlands, an action supported by KNPB Yakuhimo in support of the IPWP/ILWP meeting at Parliament Haus in PNG on Nov 27, and FWPPNG office opening in PNG was held in front of the Ruko Putra store.  The action was carried out in face of threats from Brimob officers and a platoon of fully armed TNI of Kodim Wamena 1702 (Battalion 752), and also 15 Kopassus special forces brought in from Jakarta.  They were backed up by a large but unknown number of police from from POLRES Dekei Yahukimo under the command of the local Polresta Eliakin Ap.

The forces presence was was requested by Ones Pahabol, the Yahukimo Bupati (District Head). Ones Pahabol is also the local head of the Committee of the 17th District of the GIDI (Indonesian Evangelical Church), who is considered extremely pro-Indonesian.  According to KNPB sources in Yahukimo, Pahabol’s reason for requesting military support was to break up any KNPB demonstration, and he ordered the dispersal of the KNPB activists because he was prohibiting the expression of the KNPB in public.

However the KNPB reported that even though the local government, police and local church committee refused to give permission for the rally to go ahead, the district head of gidi church did give them permission. However the KNPB commented that it was “as if the church were giving permission to the military to kill their parishioners.  Despite this military threat we give our full support to the IPWP meetings happening in PNG on the 27th – 29th.” said a KNPB spokesperson from Yahukimo.

Media Attacks
Several Journalists were also attacked by police during the Waena dispersal, forcing an apology from the Jayapura police chief Alfred Papare.   Police officers reportedly beat and threatened the journalists at a scene behind the administrative court offices , Waena , Jayapura.  According to a report in SuaraPapua.com, the three West Papuan journalists that suffered intimidation from police, were Aprila Wayar ( tabloidjubi.com ) , Micelle Gobay ( SKH torch Papua ) , and Arnold Belau ( suarapapua.com ), Hengky Yeimo (MajalahSelangkah) as well as a national reporter , Alvarez Oru Maga ( Reuters )

In addition, independent media website Suara Papua has been subjected to a denial of service attack, after they published accounts conflicting from the official police version of the story.  It is believed by many season observers on cyber conflict in Indonesia, that this is the work of a shadowy  cyber- division of the Indonesian police trained and funded by the Australian government, despite the fake outrage generated by the Canberra-Jakarta spy scandal.

In news to hand just before publication, two more bodies have been recovered from around Jayapura suffering gunshot wounds, though it is unconfirmed whether they were victims of the November 26 shootings, or further murders by security forces.

A highly credible source reported to West Papua Media that on November 27 at 3.30pm, a Papuan youth named Ottis Membilang (17), was shot by two TNI soldiers.  According to witnesses, Membilang was standing on the side of the road in front if his home near the Mega store at Waena when 2 TNI members arrived in an unidentified vehicle and shot and killed him for no apparent reason.  This is within metres of the area that West Papua Media’s witnessing survivor of November 26′s violence described troops and police  driving around in Avanzas, wearing balaclavas and threatening to shoot all nearby Papuans.

At the time that the first victim Mathius Tengget was being buried by his family, another body was found at Koya Barat (West Koya), at Wlara Tami near Skouw. KNPB sources have yet to confirmed if the body belongs to one of those missing since Tuesday’s brutality. The Tami River has long been a notorious dumping ground for victims of the Indonesian security forces’ Ninjas, as the river after rain sweeps all bodies far out into the Pacific Ocean into shark infested waters.

More to Come.

West Papua Media

Women And The Fight For Peace And Freedom In West Papua

AWID Logo newraised-fist-teuredxt-wpma-logo

Published in Partnership between West Papua Media and AWID

Source: AWID

August 9, 2013

Women and the Fight for Peace and Freedom in West Papua

FRIDAY FILE: After 42 years of Indonesian rule, women in West Papua continue to fight for their freedom and peace.

By Rochelle Jones

West Papua – officially under Indonesian rule since 1963 – is located in the Western half of the island of New Guinea – 250km north of Australia. In 2012, West Papua Media conducted interviews with four West Papuan women who are active in the nonviolent movement for freedom. Here, AWID gives some background, and excerpts from the interviews. 

Act of No Choice

The Australian-based Free West Papua describes how during the 1950s, West Papua was under Dutch Colonial rule, but by 1961 were moving towards independence with their own flag, the ‘Morning Star’, and Papuan government officials. In the early sixties, however, “Conflict erupted over West Papua between The Netherlands and Indonesia, and a United Nations agreement gave control of the colony to Indonesia for six years. This was to be followed by a referendum. These six years of Indonesian control saw well-documented cases of violence and abuse by the military. Then in 1969, Indonesia conducted a sham referendum called the Act of Free Choice. Only 1025 Papuans, representing a population of one million, were picked to vote. Under severe duress, including threats from senior ranking military officials to cut their tongues out, they voted to remain part of Indonesia. Despite a critical report by a UN official who was present, citing serious violations, the UN shamefully sanctioned the vote and West Papua officially became a part of Indonesia. Papuans call this referendum the ‘Act of No Choice’”

With a track record of denying foreign journalists access to West Papua (or arresting and deporting them) – the Indonesian government continues its stronghold over this resource-rich region. A stronghold held together largely by the presence of the Indonesian military¾which are known for their violence enacted with impunity, but also by the silence of the international community. Free West Papua estimates that “since 1962, 100,000 people have been killed or disappeared by the brutal military regime. Thousands have been raped and tortured and entire villages, especially in the highlands, have been destroyed.” In May this year, West Papua Media published one disturbing report of recent killings and rapes, perpetrated by the Indonesian military.

Tragically, reports such as these are part of every-day life for West Papuans, who are of Melanesian descent and culturally different from Indonesians. Resistance to Indonesia’s occupation has existed from the beginning – but the military has repeatedly responded with violence and intimidation. Whilst more information is getting out about West Papua and international concern grows over the human rights situation, this can be marred by politics and economics, with governments hesitant to upset Indonesia.  In recent years a new independence organisation, the National Committee for West Papua (KNPB) has held “huge independence rallies… across West Papua and the West Papuan’s voice is united more than ever.”

Women in the struggle

Asked why they joined the nonviolent movement, Fanny Kogoya, Rini Tabuni, Heni Lani and Ice Murib (1), the women interviewed by West Papua Media, each recount experiences of injustice, disrespect and the violence of growing up in a land without freedom. Murib highlights the simplicity of their struggle: “We want to be free. We want you to help us be free. Indonesia doesn’t care about us as people. So the only thing that we want is to be free…to live our own life in our own land.”

Kogoya says: “As a child I often saw people beaten-up by the police, without any reason at all… As a student I started to compare government policies with what was actually happening… On the one hand you had the constitution, which talked about freedom and the Pancasila, which talked about social justice, but in reality there was very little political space for us Papuans. When I was living in Java I could compare the health and education system with what we had in West Papua and it was just so different…There is very little political difference for Papuans before or after [the regime of] Suharto… Papua has yet to experience a real democratic space. These kinds of things make me really emotional. I realized I had to resist. I can’t be silent.”

Tabuni recalls: “my father was one of the victims of 1977. Indonesian soldiers cut open his chest with knives. They took out the contents of his stomach and they removed his heart. My grandfather saw this happening with his own eyes. As the soldiers were cutting open my father’s chest they were saying, “Where is your God now? Who is here to save you?” Tabuni explains how freedom activist Benny Wenda, now living in exile in the UK, inspired her after her family lived in Jayapura with Wenda’s people: “In 2000 Benny started to become more active… [and was granted] refugee status in England. We watched… how he continued to struggle. That inspired those of us who lived inside Papua to continue to struggle… It was in this context that the KNPB entered. My friends and I said let’s stay with this organization, let’s sit down with them and see what we can do together.”

After witnessing countless events as a young girl, like the arrest of her father, Lani recounts her political awakening as a student when she was told about the history of West Papua’s struggle: “Before [this] it was like I was sitting in this small dark room with little rays of light coming through. These rays of light were like my father getting arrested and Benny Wenda getting arrested. When I got my education it was like the door of this room was flung open… I went outside for the first time and saw what was really happening. The day on the beach in Hamadi was the first time I saw the Morning Star flag. I grabbed it and held it. Finally, I realized, I’m not an Indonesian, I’m a Papuan!”

However, there is a struggle within the movement. Kogoya describes it as a “double challenge” that women face: “We struggle against Indonesia but we also struggle against patriarchy in the movement. See we have two enemies: the way women are treated within the movement and the evil and injustice of the state. We are definitely fighting against some of the men within the movement who think we aren’t capable.” To that, however, Lani says “Women are in leadership positions and telling men what to do, so we’re already there… playing positions of leadership in the movement.”

Ongoing nonviolent resistance

Living with such violence and oppression, the women still agree that nonviolent resistance is the way forward, and yet they also admit to thinking about taking up arms. One of the obvious barriers to taking up an armed struggle is the sheer strength of the Indonesian military. Kogoya says “Even though we’re struggling nonviolently the Indonesian state continues to respond violently. They arrest people, beat people, kill people. Often my activist friends say, “What’s the point? If we struggle nonviolently they’re going to beat us, arrest us … if we struggle violently they’ll do the same things. Often people join the armed struggle because… they’ve had these traumatic experiences and… it’s an emotional reaction. Of course in our culture we also have a history of fighting back… of tribal warfare. We are a courageous people. So with these three things – our memories of suffering, our history and culture, and our courage – armed struggle is a real option for us….But Papuans are also a very practical people. We know civil resistance can also work. So my dream is to learn more about civil resistance.”

Tabuni understands why people would want to respond with violence, however, she says: “If I struggle through violence I am going to experience a number of problems. I’m going to lose a lot of my rights. I’m going to lose my best friends. And people are going to… steal my land and kill me… But now I see that there’s an opportunity to resist through nonviolent struggle. People at the grassroots need to know that nonviolent action can be really successful… We can learn from the examples of other countries.”

How can the international community help?

To be an independent nation is the goal for West Papua¾freedom from Indonesian rule and its associated violence. But this is also a struggle for culture and for the environment. Lani says since she joined the struggle “my friends have been arrested, some have died in jail, some have fled to Papua New Guinea. It’s like we are migrants in our own land. So many people from Java, from Sulawesi, from Sumatra have come to our land.” Large scale migration of Indonesians into West Papua has the potential to unthread the very fabric of their culture and existence – and the mining and deforestation of pristine forests threatens to destroy the environment as well.

To achieve freedom these women stress the need for as many people as possible to stand in solidarity. Kogoya says they need the support of environmental groups around the world to join the struggle, adding “We need institutional support. And we want people to campaign about Papua to stop the violence… We really need technical assistance with media. We also need to influence other countries, particularly the U.S.”. Lani’s message is “for all the Papuan people to be involved in the civil resistance struggle. We have to work together.” She adds “Tell your friends in Australia and the U.S., ‘Stop sending military weapons to Indonesia. Stop.’ Because whenever we do things we face the military with those arms, and those arms are sent by your countries. The military are being trained by your countries to kill us.”

Read the full interviews here: “We Want To Be Free”: An Interview With Four Women From The West Papuan Movement For Freedom

For more information:

Visit West Papua’s Independent Human Rights Media: http://westpapuamedia.info/

Read the Enough is Enough report (testimonies of women from West Papua) from the International Center for Transitional Justice.

Read the latest HR report from the International Coalition for Papua

 

NOTES:

1) “We want to be free”: An interview with four women from the West Papuan Movement for Freedom. Interview by Alex Rayfield and Claudia King from West Papua Media. Photos taken by Javiera Rose.

Article License: Creative Commons – Article License Holder: AWID