Category Archives: Human Rights Report

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

Paniai torture victim Yulianus Yeimo beaten, murdered

by John NR Gobai

(with additional reporting from WPM stringers in Paniai)

January 31, 2014

ANALYSIS

“Tolong…, Tolong…, Tolong.., “Naitai Ugatame wae…, itoo ko anii bokaga noo… “

(‘Help….Help….Help… Father God my Creator, at this moment I have died.” In the local Mee language)

Yulianus Yeimo after his beating  in November 2012 (Photo: WPM sources)
Yulianus Yeimo after his beating in November 2012 (Photo: WPM sources)

This scream to God for help in a state of great pain was uttered by Yulianus Yeimo, aged 45 years old, an ex primary school teacher who suffered mental illness towards the end of his life.  In 2008 Yulianus had  completed education at a higher level for teachers at the ISSP Institute in Enarotali, Paniai, obtaining a degree in Social Sciences.

The most saddening incident of violence against Yulianus occurred on 18 August 2012  at around 0900 hours. For 3 years since 2009 until that date, Yulianus Yeimo had always worn the old faded and shabby police uniform left by his late father together with matching shoes. Each morning he had climbed the hill of Bobaigo then when he reached the top of the hill he would take his position before the white and red Indonesian flag that flew (which at that time was flown by the Indonesian military at that location). He would spontaneously show respect to the flag and then take it down. Yulianus had become a little mentally disturbed and he acted each morning in this routine as if he was a member of the Indonesian Police force. His father before him had been a police officer under the Dutch so Yulianus remembered the ways of his father.

That day the flag that was in his hand and became into three pieces. One part was tied around his left arm, one part to his right arm and the third part around his head. After he descended from the hill he walked towards the town of Enarotali until the place where three roads meet leading to Kogekotu.  When he passed there in the direction of PLTD Enarotali, a group of immigrants approached him and immediately launched an attack on him punching him in the face.  Once knocked down he was kicked again and again in the chest. His head was beaten using an iron bar and a stick.  Collapsed on the ground his face and chest were trampled on again and again. Blood flowed from his face and nose.

“Tolong…, Tolong…, Tolong…, “Naitai Ugatame wae…, itoo ko anii bokaga noo…,”  he called out to God in the local Mee language.

His screams of pain were not enough to move the hearts of the group of immigrants wearing ordinary civilian clothes who attacked him. Bruised all over, he was then beaten yet again by the group. This time with a rifle butt so that it broke his nose. A lot of blood came from his nose so that blood was all over his body. He screamed out pleading for help,  moaning in pain and sobbing then cried:

 “Tolong……, Tolong…….Tolong………

“Naitai Ugatame wae……….itoo ko anii bokaga noo………”

He was dragged a few meters then forced to stand but fell, then was dragged again. His head and body were beaten again with the iron bar. He was forced to stand but fell again and was dragged again until the asphalt road. Then at approximately 100 metres from the kiosks on the corner of the airfield at the front of PLN Enarotali, his body was left sprawled on the ground unconscious. Not long after he was dumped a Police patrol vehicle from East Paniai came and took him to the East Paniai police station for security reasons. After he had regained consciousness he was sent home.

(Author’s Note : We acknowledge that for a person of normal mental health an incident of tearing the national flag would be an insult to the State, but for a person who had not been mentally well since 2009 does such punishment make any sense?)

It is suspected that Indonesian military (TNI) and police had been carrying out retaliation at that time against the Paniai community, with the result  that even a person who was mentally unwell had become a victim of their aggression. It is suspected that the TNI were supicious that Yulianus Yeimo was not in fact mentally unstable.

On 25 January 2014 at 0700 hours Yulianus Yeimo was found dead at the Boutai River at the village of Dagouto in East Paniai, with injuries on his nose, chest and face and with impressions in a number of places on his body.

According to Yulianus Yeimo’s family it was four days before his body was found.  He had not been seen for that period. He was suspected to have become a victim of violence of an unidentified assailant and that the violent act had been committed on the shores of the river then the victim’s body thrown into the Boutai River.

Our analysis of his death is as follows :

1)    That Yulianus Yeimo became the victim of violence of unidentified person / persons on the banks of the river, then his body was thrown into the river so that it would be concluded that Yulianus died from drowning.

 2)    It is suspected that Yulianus Yeimo was killed by either a ‘silent operation’ or alternatively was a victim of retaliation.

We (The Traditional Customary Council Paniai )demand the following:

1)       That the Head of Police in Papua and the Commander of XVI Bumi Cendrawasih immediately give instructions to the Head of Police in Paniai to carry out an exhaustive investigation into who was responsible for the violence against the late Yulianus Yeimo.

2)       That the Head of Papuan Police and the Commander of XVII Bumi Cendrawasih immediately cease all military operations including road patrols in Paniai as the area is not a security risk and is controllable without those forces.  We acknowledge that it may be a work task of the Forces however at times the Forces fail to become aware which circumstances present  security situations and risk becoming unstable.

3)       We request that the Commander of XVII Bumi Cendrawasih withdraw all military personnel, both regular and additional forces now in Paniai, including Kopassus, Paskhas and National Intelligence personnel. Furthermore that the Head of Police in Papua withdraw its members from the gold prospecting area of Paniai as their presence only creates mistrust between the forces and the community.

John NR Gobai is the Chairperson of the Traditional Customary Council Paniai and a long time human rights investigator.

Key Findings of the Biak Massacre Citizens Tribunal

http://www.biak-tribunal.orgBiak Massacre Citizens Tribunal

WaterTowerCrop1

December 16, 2013

Key Findings

  1. 1.      The massacre followed a flag-raising led by Filep Karma, an Amnesty International Prisoner of Conscience

Filep Karma testified at the tribunal via prerecorded video since he is currently in prison.  He told the tribunal: “In my oratory [at the flag-raising] I said that Papuans must fight peacefully.” “The flag appeared on the top of the tower on July 2, 1998, at about 5:00 a.m. Some seventy-five people gathered beneath it, shouting freedom slogans, singing songs and dancing traditional dances” (Human Rights Watch 1998: 6).

At 2:30 in the afternoon of July 2 “a joint police and military operation attempted to disperse the crowd at the base of the water tower.  They launched canisters of tear gas into the crowd with no apparent effect.  When a low-ranking police officer, a second-class sergeant, beat an elderly demonstrator named Thonci Wabiser, the crowd spontaneously retaliated, demolishing a truck belonging to Indonesian security forces” (Kirksey 2012: 44).  A standoff ensued for days.

 

  1. 2.      Local and regional officials were involved in the planning of the attack

Tineke Rumakabu testified that two officers of the Indonesian security forces were at the water tower on July 3rd.  These commanders—namely Colonel Agus Hedyanto, who was Biak Military Commander (Dandim) and Colonel Johnny Rori, the Biak Police Commander (Kapolres)—negotiated with the crowd and asked that the flag be lowered.  These same commanders were later involved in planning the attack.  “At 1:00 a.m. on July 4, the local military brought nine village heads together to discuss a strategy for attack, and both the subdistrict head (camat) and the subdistrict military commander told the village heads that each man was responsible for bringing thirty men into the city.” (Human Rights Watch 1998: 8).

Octovianus Mote, former Bureau Chief of the Kompas daily newspaper, gave testimony based on his interviews of regional military and police commanders in July 1998.  Major General Amir Sembiring, the Regional Military Commander (Pangdam Trikora), was in a direct command and control position during the attack.  According to direct evidence tendered by Mr. Mote to the Tribunal, Sembiring “gave permission to conduct the attack.”  Mr. Mote also corroborated reports that Colonel Agus Hedyanto, who was associated with the Special Forces and who served in East Timor, was the key local official involved in Biak.  “This was a very well-organized military attack, you know police, navy, and armed forces.  All of them organized the attacking of civilians,” continued Mr. Mote.  Brigadier General Hotman Siagian, the Regional Police Commander (Kapolda IrJa), was quoted by Antara news agency as saying “the police had ‘tolerated’ the actions of the Biak group since July 2 and finally had to order a crackdown” on July 6th (Prakarsa 1998).  Vice Admiral Freddy Numberi, who was then Governor and is currently Indonesia’s Minister of Transportation and Communications, described the victims a members of a “separatist movement that is headed towards treason” (Suara Pembaruan Daily, 8 July 1998).  General Wiranto, Commander of Indonesia’s Armed Forces, told reporters when asked about the massacre: “If there is a power that raises a flag, and it is not the Red and White flag [of Indonesia], then this is a betrayal of the military and of the entire nation.  This constitutes a betrayal and this is what we must stop!” (Suara Pembaruan Daily, 7 July 1998, punctuation in original).

  1. 3.      Scores of unarmed civilians were killed, buried in mass graves, and dumped at sea

A video testimony, by a woman named “Sarah”, described how the security forces initially surrounded the protestors in a giant letter U.  “The military and the police were lined up from the police compound around to the Inpress market.  The mobile brigade police (Brimob) that had flown in from Ambon were stationed at the petrol station.  Navy troops were down at the harbor.”  She describes how they were all shooting, “from four directions,” including the sea.

One woman, who testified to the Tribunal on condition of anonymity, described the first moments of the attack at dawn on July 6th: “The army and police were everywhere.  Bullets were raining down.  The sky was on fire.  We could hear them shooting people at the tower.”

Another witness, who testified under the pseudonym Raymond, described how he rushed to the water tower along with scores of other civilians as the shooting began.  After watching as many women and men were gunned down, Raymond was herded with other survivors towards the harbor.  He described how he was forced to stare at the sun, kneel in gravel for hours, along with dozens of others.

Sarah gave corroborating testimony: “My family and others were directed down to the harbor…We followed the other families with our hands up over our heads.  You could feel the bullets starting to fly over our heads…I could see so many children who had been killed.  They were shot on the wharf.  They died right there.”  Shortly after she arrived at the wharf, she overheard a Sergeant shouting out to the commander of a navy vessel: “Dock the ship!  Dock the ship!  Carry these people!”  She also overheard the reply from the captain: “I cannot dock, the ship is full of bodies.”  Sarah said that two ships then went out to sea.  “They were there at the harbor in the morning, there to take the bodies away.”  Later on “in front of the wharf a blue truck pulled up and took 28 bodies away,” Sarah said.  “I was sitting and counting, silently.  People who they had shot, they threw their bodies on the truck.  Later another container truck came in and took more bodies away.  We don’t know where they were taken.”

Ferry Marisan, Director of the human rights organization ELS-HAM Papua, investigated the killings in the weeks after the massacre and was a lead author of the subsequent report, “Names Without Graves, Graves Without Names.”  Mr. Marisan described how a fisherman first encountered dead bodies in the sea, off shore of Biak, on July 10th, four days after the massacre: “The fishermen discovered four bodies floating, but these fishermen were scared to take the bodies on shore…The bodies were mutilated, some of them lost their legs or their genitals were not there.  They were broken bodies. These bodies were found in the eastern part of Biak, but also in the western part of Biak people found other bodies.”  Mr. Marisan also gave direct testimony about a body he helped recover: “Near Biak city, just around the park, we found a female body without a head and genitals that was badly bruised and broken, damaged.  Another body we found was just a boy from junior high in his uniform.  Most bodies we found were badly damaged.  Either they lost their legs, the heads or their genitals.”

  1. 4.      People were beaten, tortured, arbitrarily detained, sexually abused, and executed

Raymond presented testimony about indiscriminate beatings by police at the harbor.  He was taken with six truckloads of people to the regional police station (POLRES).  Fourteen people were crammed with Raymond into a cell.  Raymond was detained for two weeks and in the middle of the night guards routinely doused him with water during his detention.

Statements from Tineke Rumakabu, describe graphic scenes of sexual violence and torture after she was detained by Indonesian forces.  Mrs. Rumakabu described how she was tossed into a yellow truck on the morning of July 6, on top of people who were already dead or seriously wounded.  She was then taken to the military compound (KODIM).  Mrs. Rumakabu showed the Tribunal scars on her arms and described what was done to her while she was blindfolded and cuffed: “They cut my arm with a sharp bayonet and then they poured acid. When I screamed they burnt me with cigarettes.”

The blindfold was later removed and she was stripped naked in a room with twelve other women and girls.  “Then I saw a man [a soldier] showing me a little knife, the one that you use to shave, and he said ‘We are going to use this to cut off your vaginas, from above and below, and from the left to the right.’”  “I saw a little girl and they raped her and she died,” Mrs. Rumakabu told the Tribunal. “All over the place it was blood everywhere because women, their vaginas and clitoris’ had been cut out, and they had been raped many, many times.”  One of the women in detention, Marta Dimara was a friend of Mrs. Rumakabu.  “Martha said, ‘I would rather be killed than you rape me.’ They put a bayonet in her neck and then her vagina and also cut off her breasts and beheaded her.”  Mrs. Rumakabu told the Tribunal: “I was also tortured, a lit candle was penetrated inside me, they cut off my clitoris and they raped me.”  Out of the twelve women in detention with her, she reported: “Eight women were killed and four of us stayed alive.”


 

  1. 5.      Weaponry and equipment from international donors was used

At least two Navy ships were involved in the attack:

KRI Teluk Berau (534), Type 108. Source: Human Rights Watch Report, page 9 and corroborated by Eben Kirksey in a 2003 interview with an eyewitness. This ship belonged to the former German Democratic Republic (East Germany) and was manufactured in 1977 by VEB Peenewerft in Wolgast.  It was purchased, along with 12 other units of the same type, by the Indonesian Navy and transferred on August 25th 1993.  Formerly named the GDR Eberswalde-Finow (634), this ship was 90.7 meters long and weighed 1,900 tons.  It was used as an amphibious landing ship by the Indonesian marines (Marinir TNI AL).  The KRI Teluk Berau was armed with “a double barrel cannon with a caliber of 37 millimeters, a Bofors 40mm anti-aircraft gun and multipurpose autocannon, and two double barrel cannons with a caliber of 25 millimeters.”  (Source: Koramatim 2012)[i]

KRI Kakap (811), Source: Eben Kirksey’s photograph from July 6th, 1998.

The KRI Kakap-811 is a Fast Patrol Boat that was manufactured by PT. Pal Indonesia and has been in service since 1988.  It is armed with a Bofors 40mm and 20mm anti-aircraft guns and multipurpose autocannons as well as 12.7 mm machine guns.  This ship can carry one helicopter (Source: Koramatim 2013).

Sources Cited

Human Rights Watch (1998) “Indonesia: Human Rights and Pro-Independence Actions in Irian Jaya” Vol 10, No. 8 (C)

Kirksey, Eben (2013) Freedom in Entangled Worlds: West Papua and the Global Architecture of Power (Durham: Duke University Press).

Koarmatim (2012) “KRI Teluk Berau-534 Mengakhiri Pengabdiannya,” Available on-line: http://koarmatim.tnial.mil.id.  Updated: 28 September, 2012, 11:34.  Accessed: 12 November, 2013, 12:53

Koarmatim (2013) “KRI Kakap-811 Siap Amankan Perairan Perbatasan RI-Philipina,” Available on-line: http://koarmatim.tnial.mil.id.  Updated: 11 November, 2013, 13:51.  Accessed: 25 November, 2013, 23:18.

Prakarsa, Patrisia (1998) “Indonesian Troops Wound 24 in Irian Jaya Shooting” Agence France Presse, July 6.

Suara Pembaruan Daily (1998) “Menhankam/Pangab Jenderal TNI Wiranto: Pengibaran Bendera Bukan Merah-Putih Tindakan Makar” Suara Pembaruan Daily, 7 July.

Suara Pembaruan Daily (1998) “Akibat Kerusuhan di Irja” Suara Pembaruan Daily, 8 July.

Tragic Bloodshed in Waghete, Papua – Suspected Serious Human Rights Violations

Analysis/ Opinion

by Selpius Bobii

Abepura Prison,  27 September 2013

Ever since West Papua was annexed into the Republic of Indonesia on 1 May 1963, it has been nothing other than a land smeared with blood, and at every moment the blood of Papuans has been shed by continuous killings.   On 23 September 2013 there was yet again bloodshed with a tragic incident in Waghete, Tigi district, in Deiyai Regency of the Central Highlands.  The incident started from ‘sweeping’ (house to house searches) carried out by joint armed forces of BRIMOB (an Indonesian National Police special operations unit), and a special unit of the Indonesian Military (TNI) unit 753, the Paniai District Police and local police from the Sub-District Units of Tigi and the Paniai Koramil.  The following article looks in detail at the background to why this incident occurred and at the impact of the incident on the local community.

When asked why the joint armed forces were carrying out sweepings in the area in the first instance, the High Commissioner for Police in the District of Paniai responded that they were making the area safe for civilians from the practices of gambling, drunkenness and the carrying of sharp objects (www.tempo.co/read/news/2013/09/23/058515978). However the facts clearly indicate that the sweepings were being carried out not to make the area safe for civilians against the said vices of drunkenness and gambling, but rather to:

  1. Confiscate any sharp instruments including all types of smaller knives, large machete like knives, axes and bows and arrows
  2. Confiscate shovels
  3. Confiscate mobile phone memory cards with photos of those active in the Papuan Freedom Movement
  4. Confiscate traditional woven dillybags (nukens) with patterns of the Morning Star flag, and to
  5. Target community members with dreadlocks and long beards.

Of course the very items that the armed forces confiscated during the sweeping – small knives, larger machete type knives, axes and shovels – are those used by the community for maintaining their gardens which is their source of food.  As in the Deiyai regency most civilians are farmers who farm the mountain slopes. The forces even confiscated any traditional darts, which are something which by customary beliefs cannot be separated from the life of the Mee Tribe as they are symbolic and special to that tribe. That they would even consider confiscating the peoples carrying bags and mobile phone memory cards with Papuan photos is a shameful reflection of the police and military, as those are symbols of Papua that are widely available and have been published in many books, media and other publicly available forms.
The TNI and police are well aware the people need those tools in particular to survive and they well know those items are widely accessible, so the question begs why did they really intentionally undertake operations to confiscate these items?

The targeting of civilians with dreadlocks and long beards -  based on the false perception of the police and military that anyone of that appearance is a member of the TPN /OPM – is also a shameful reflection of the thinking of the armed forces, as long beards and dreadlocks are an age-old tradition of Papuans.  The Indonesian police and military should understand and respect something of the cultural and social ways of the people of Papua such that they don’t recklessly carry out arbitrary actions which can lead to the sacrifice of innocent civilians’ lives. Reckless and improper actions which  also destroy the image of the police and Indonesian army in the public eye. Throughout the many years of Indonesia’s presence in Papua police, TNI and National Intelligence (BIN) have always assumed that Papuans with dreadlocks and long beards are all TPN OPM members. Whenever met with people with those physical characteristics the armed forces always act with improper and cruel actions intended to make life hard for those individuals. This is absolutely unreasonable! We could just as much say that every Papuan who longs for liberation from the cruel oppression of Indonesia could be called OPM!  When is Indonesia going to wake up to the reality that that no action whatsoever of the Indonesian military and police against the people of Papua will ever be able to destroy the Mambruk (Papuan) ideology in their hearts; that their cruel actions will never be able to stifle the political aspirations embodied by the Papuan movement for freedom.  Reckless,  cruel and improper actions by the armed forces such as occurred at Waghete must stop!  The forces instead need to adopt persuasive approaches (with dialogue and non-violent means)  in facing up to civilians in all circumstances and not use repressive measures such as has been evidenced at Waghete.

The events that led to the killing and wounding of civilians that day in Waghete started with the above stated sweepings which were being conducted in a manner that was far too excessive and abusive.  A particular activist present at the time (who cannot be named for safety reasons ) told the armed forces at the time that the community didn’t accept their excessive sweeping actions, but to no effect. They testified that before the shootings on 21 September 2013 the joint armed forces had carried out sweepings and detained 15 Papuans who had dreadlocks and long beards. Then on 23 September 2013 the forces returned to the same location where those persons had been arrested and carried out sweepings yet again with excessive abusive behaviour.

It was the second aggressive sweeping according to the witness that was just too much, and some in the community couldn’t keep silent.  He testified that it was not the adults who voiced the community’s protest but rather high-school and upper secondary school students together with a number of other youth. The armed forces had also confiscated some of the young peoples’ phone memory cards then according to the witness the young people protested in particular after seeing two Papuan mothers on their way to  their gardens having their gardening shovels confiscated then an adult male’s koteka (penis sheath) being checked by forces.  The witness stated: “The protest came from the school children and no adults were involved.  Then the police responded to their protest with excessive violence. The Head of the Paniai District Police a number of times shouted out a command to those under his command to shoot the children.  I was there at the time and saw myself the Head of the District Police together with police officers under his command, chasing and shooting at the school children with their weapons. That day I also heard there were 4 civilians detained.”

The Police spokesperson claimed that the disturbance occurred due to provocation by a group of supporters of a particular failed candidate in the local government elections. However another activist at Waghete (who also cannot be named for security reasons) testified that “the tragedy at Waghete was entirely due to the actions of the joint Indonesian police and military forces and cannot be said to be connected in any way to a problem of the local elections.”

This accusation by the police was just a strategy to try and  turn criticism back towards the local civilian population.

The facts are clear that it was the military and police that provoked the civilians into carrying out some type of protest in response to their excessively abusive treatment of the people  during the sweeping and their arbitrary arrest and detention of a number of community members. The forces then met the young people’s opposition with extremely excessive violence including shooting, killing, arbitrary arrest, and torture of civilians. If there had not been excessively abusive sweeping by the joint armed forces in the first instance then of course there would never have been opposition from the young people. Secondly if the response from the civilians had not been dealt with so repressively by the police and military then of course there would also not have been victims of  shooting, torture, intimidation and arbitrary arrest. In summary it was precisely the excessively abusive sweepings by the military and police that triggered the reaction from the civilians; It was precisely the repressive reaction from the armed forces to the civilians’ opposition which caused the tragic killing and serious shooting injuries of civilians in Waghete.

In considering whether there is any element of truth in the police’s accusation that civilians attacked them with rocks, or pieces of timber or arrows, a human rights activist Yohanes Mote who was present at the time of the shooting stated to the magazine Selangkah, “At the moment the incident occurred I was there. The community didn’t take up arrows. We were really disappointed that they were checking the penis sheaths of the men (traditional clothing of males). As there’s nothing inside penis sheaths but male genitals is there. We asked them why if they wanted to carry out sweeping because of gambling and drinking (alcohol), had they not stopped the drinking and gambling.  The gambling and drinking had been allowed to continue by the police so that through that we Papuans could be killed and shot like this.”, (www.majalahselangkah.com/content/penembakan-pelajar-di-deiyai-aktivis-ham-minta-kapolri-copot-pelaku-dan-evaluasi-polisi-di-papua).

Another activist who also can’t be named for security reasons testified “The students didn’t attack the armed forces with arrows. I only saw two or three students throw rocks in the direction of the armed forces but the rocks didn’t even hit them. Rather the police and military brutally shot those children. The one that shot Alpius Mote was an aide of the Paniai Head of Police. Alpius died on the spot as the bullet went right through his right side and came out his back. He didn’t die whilst being taken to the Paniai hospital (as the police claimed). Whilst regarding Alex Mote (another victim), the bullet entered the right side of his chest. After Alpius was shot dead the police gathered up all the bullet cartridges. I couldn’t take a photo at that moment as it would have been impossible.”

From the explanations of these two activists who were present at the time of the sweepings and shooting, it is clearly evident that the accusation of the police that the community attacked them was merely words to try and justify their own repressive actions of wounding and killing unarmed civilians. It is most ironic that the Papuan Provincial Police spokesperson also tried to legally justify the police and TNI’s actions, stated that the shooting by their forces was in line with their procedures since the citizens were becoming increasingly anarchist. He tried to justify the shootings on the basis that if the forces hadn’t fired then the situation would have escalated (www.news.viva.co.id/news/read/446352-bentrok-aparat-dan-warga-di-papua–1-tewas).

Returning to the initial action of the forces – being the sweeping – one must ask the question why were the police and TNI carrying sweepings out in such an excessively abusive manner in the first place. From the facts provided by witnesses as stated above, it would seem that the sweeping was intentionally carried out in such a way so as to give rise to some type of conflict in Waghete. The sweeping was not intended to make the community safe from vices of drinking and gambling as the police claimed, but rather to give rise to a conflict that would enable the armed forces to do away with those in the community with long dreadlocks and beards who were considered by the forces to be OPM/TPN members. The sweepings also provided an opportunity for them to confiscate any items that were symbolic of the freedom struggle. It was an intentional act carried out to make people terrified and to torture, kill and injure innocent civilians at that location.

Witnesses testified that on 21 September around 15 people with dreg locks and long beards were violently arrested and detained at the Paniai District Police Command headquarters. Then on 23 September one student was shot dead and another shot in the chest. An English teacher from the local Deiyai upper secondary school Yance Pekey who voiced opposition to the treatment by the armed forces, was also inhumanely ‘dealt with’ at his office. It is understood he was also detained together with the other 3 civilians at the Paniai District Police Station. From data available to date it is understood that the total of civilians detained over these few days was 19. To the date of writing their names have not been made available by the police and neither has access been allowed  to visit any of them. (For the preliminary report to this incident  see: www.westpapuamedia.info/2013/09/27/preliminary-report-into-waghete-deaths-and-sweepings/).

From the above stated detail the Writer concludes that the tragic events from 21 – 23 September 2013 in Waghete involved a number of serious human rights violations. Violations which commenced with the excessively abusive sweeping and harassment by the military and police; followed by the arbitrary arrests, torture,, shooting dead and wounding of citizens and the general terrorising of the local community in Waghete. The actions of the police and military cannot be justified with any reason whatsoever! The tragic killing and wounding of unarmed civilians that occurred fall within the category of serious human rights violations and the culprits must face legal processes and be held responsible (1).

Footnotes

 1)To that end the Writer puts forward the following recommendations to those parties involved:

i) That the TNI and Police in the land of Papua must cease carrying out excessive sweepings and terrorising/ intimidating the people, must cease all torture and other brutal treatment of civilians, all shootings, killings and arbitrary arrests.

ii) That the culprits of the acts at Waghete must be brought to justice in the human rights court or general court to hold them responsible for their actions.

iii) That the Head of the Indonesian Police is strongly urged to immediately remove from office the Head of Police in the Sub-District of Tigi, The Head of the District Police in Paniai and Head of the Papuan Provincial Police. As all three persons have acted irresponsibly and are not capable of ensuring the safety of citizens.

iv) That the Head of the Paniai District Police immediately and unconditionally release all citizens (believed to be 19 in number) who are being arbitrarily detained at the Paniai District Police Station.

v) That the Investigation Team appointed by the Papuan Legislative Council (DPRP) on 25 September 2013 to look into the tragedy in Waghete,  immediately be sent to the location of the events  to commence investigations.

vi) That the Indonesian Republic National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM RI) immediately form an adhoc team to follow up the early findings that will be reported by the independent DPRP Investigation Team.

vii) That all parties and in particular the local government, leaders of the church and  traditional customary leaders in that region, act immediately to restore security and order in Deiyai.

viii) To all those who are concerned and who work in the field of humanitarianism, your help is requested at this immediate time in advocacy, monitoring and publishing of information regarding this case and in organising assistance for those civilians who have been detained at the cells of the Paniai District Police Station.

ix) The excessively abusive sweepings, the terrorising and intimidation, the torture, shootings, killings and arbitrary arrests of indigenous Papuans by both the Indonesian military and police in the land of Papua will never bring an end to the problems in Papua. The Indonesian Government needs to instead enter into dialogue / unconditional negotiations with the nation of Papua facilitated by a neutral third party and held in a neutral location in order to find a dignified solution to the problems in Papua.

Selpius Bobii is the General Chairperson of Front PEPERA & a Papuan Freedom Political Detainee in  Abepura Prison, Jayapura

 

Preliminary report into Waghete deaths and sweepings

Report compiled by Selpius Bobii in Abepura

September 26, 2013

On Monday 23 September 2013 in the town of Waghete which is the main town of the region (kabupaten) Deiyai (district Tigi) at 11.30 am local time, an action of violence by the Indonesian armed forces causing death and bloodshed of unarmed civilians occurred. The incident arose as a result of arbitrary sweeping carried out by joint forces of Paniai based BRIMOB (‘Mobile Brigade’ being an Indonesian National Police special operations force unit), Paniai regional Police together with Indonesian military Unit Timsus 753 (TNI) based at the Paniai Koramil (Regional military headquarters). The sweeping was carried out under the command of the Head of the Paniai Regional Police High Police Commissioner Sammy Rony.

The target of the sweeping which included confiscation of items was as follows:

  1. Sharp weapons including smaller knives, larger (machete type) knives, axes and bows and arrows;
  2. Hand shovels;
  3. Mobile phone cards for checking of any activist photos or other photos related to the Papuan Freedom movement such as the Morning Star Flag;
  4. Civilians with long dreadlocks or long beards, who are all suspected by the Indonesian armed forces of being members of the TPN/OPM (these persons were to be detained).
Waghete villagers mourning the police murder of priest’s son Alpius Mote

During the sweeping the Police detained 15 people based on nonsensical reasons, and at this time they are all incarcerated in the jail cells at the Paniai District Police Command headquarters. These include a female by the name of Alfrida Dogopia. They were detained under conditions of torture, intimidation and insult carried out by the TNI Timsus (Tim Khusus or Special Team unit from Kopassus special forces)unit, BRIMOB and Paniai regional police.

The local community responded to the above by protesting to the local police. The Head of the District Police commanded those under him to shoot any civilians that protested to the operation. Accordingly BRIMOB, ordinary police and the TNI joint forces responded to any behaviour of protest by civilians with extremely excessive violence by shooting civilians. The consequence was 3 civilians were shot by members of BRIMOB in the Waghete field (open grassed area in the town) at approximately 11.30 am local time.

The shooting victims were as follows:

  1. Alpius Mote, a student at the Deiyai Upper Secondary State School in Waghete, child of the local Church Minister Daud Mote. He was shot dead. The bullet entered on the right side of his chest and went through exiting his back.
  2. Alex Mote, a youth from Deiyai was shot. He is presently being treated at the Paniai Hospital.
  3. Yance Pekey, an English Teacher from the Deiyai State Upper Secondary School. News is that he was shot and beaten at the school offices and at this time is being detained at the Paniai Police District Headquarters.

The local community didn’t accept the actions of the joint armed forces and considered them to be extremely excessive. The body of the shooting victim was taken to the police offices by community members  at 19.00 hours and the police were asked to take responsibility for the death.  Until this moment the Waghete community is still struck by fear by the events that occurred.

According to the Head of the Paniai District Police High Police Commissioner Sammy Rony, the sweeping was carried out to make the area safe for civilians and intended against those who were in the practice of gambling, getting drunk and carrying sharp instruments. According to Rony property of local government was damaged as a result of the drunkenness. He said the disturbance had started five days before the shooting incident. “Since last Wednesday a group of people  have done damage to a number of houses of government officials in the town of Waghete, including that of the Deiyai Region Bupati (i.e. Head of the local regional (kabupaten) government) Dance Takimai and of the Kabupaten Secretary Basilius Badii” stated Rony.  He claimed that the damage to the officials’ houses was suspected to have been carried out by a group of supporters of a certain candidate for the bupati position that failed to be elected in the recent elections for the head of the Deiyai Kabupaten. “So in this there is an influence from alcohol and also problems regarding local elections” Rony stated to a journalist from Tempo, Jerry Amona.

According to the Head of the District Police Command the alleged culprits of the damage to the officials’ houses who were also suspected of intentionally starting the commotion at the time of the mobilisation of the joint police and Indonesian military armed forces to carry out the sweepings through the town of Waghete. “ Suddenly a group of people arrived and attacked our forces, hitting them with pieces of wood. I immediately gave the order to shoot” he stated (source: m.tempo.co/read/news/2013/09/23/058515978).

According to the spokesperson for the Papuan Provincial Police AKBP Sulityo Pudjo Hartono, the conflict between the civilians and the joint armed forces occurred at the moment the sweeping was being carried out to “make the area safe from a number of social sicknesses including gambling, drunkenness and carrying of sharp implements”. According to Hartono, the civilians didn’t accept the raids and there was even provocation with civilians throwing rocks at the armed forces, who responded by shooting into the air.  However according to Hartono, the civilians were becoming increasingly anarchist even to the point that one of the military was hit, so the joint forces fired in the direction of the civilians shooting one civilian. Hartono stated that the citizen shot critically aged 25 years was evacuated to the Paniai hospital, however he died before arriving at the hospital.

The spokesperson for the Papuan Provincial Police tried to justify the act of the police from a legal perspective, stating that the shooting of the forces was in accordance with procedure as the civilians were increasingly anarchist. He said if they hadn’t fired the actions of the civilians would have developed into something bigger (source: www.news.viva.co.id/news/read/446352-bentrok-aparat-dan-warga-di-papua–1-tewas).

However the a local activist at Waghete, Yohanes Mote, contradicted the statement of the Police that the community attacked the joint armed forces.  According to Mote, the community did not attack the police (BRIMOB and ordinary regional police) and TNI with arrows, wood or otherwise, but rather it was the police and TNI carrying out the sweeping with excessive use of agression that caused the disturbance amongst the community.

“I was there at the location at the time it happened. The community was not using arrows and did not attack in any way.  We were disappointed about the way the police were carrying out the checking operation to the point that they were even checking inside the koteka (i.e. traditional penis sheath worn by males) of men.   As there can be nothing possibly inside a koteka other than the male genitals. So why did they have to check inside the koteka? We want to ask why did the police not confiscate and ban the drinking of alcohol and gambling! It’s the alcohol and gambling that kills Papuans but they (armed forces) didn’t ban those, but rather acted to annihilate our people”  Yohanes Mote, human rights activist in Waghete.

To respond to this bloody tragedy, youth and students of Papua in Jayapura have united to form ‘In Solidarity and Concern for the Shooting of the State Upper Secondary School’ and carried out a demonstration on the office of the Papuan Parliament (DPRP) on 25 September 2013.  The student demonstration was received by the Chairperson of Parliamentary Commission (A) Ruben Magai together with a member of Parliamentary Commission (D) Nason Utty, where the students demanded the Head of the Indonesian National Police to remove from office the Head of the Papuan Provincial Police, the Head of the District Police in Paniai and the Head of the Sub-District Police Command, being those 3 persons being responsible for the Waghete incident. The students also demanded that those responsible for the shooting be forced to face transparent legal process and strongly urged the Papuan Parliament to immediately form an Investigative Team to look into the case at hand.  Together with a number of representatives from the student demonstration the DPRP this date formed an Investigative Team for the Bloody Tragedy at the Kabupaten of Deiyai.  It is planned that in the immediate future that this team will travel to Deiyai to gather accurate data from all parties involved at Deiyai (source; www.sindonews.com/read/2013/09/25/26/787221/gedung-dprd-papua-diduduki-mahasiswa).

In regard to this same incident, the community demanded that the Head of the Paniai Kabupaten Police who gave the instruction to shoot at the civilians and the member of BRIMOB who carried out the fatal shooting be required to face legal process as they have both committed serious human rights violations. It was requested that the Head of the Indonesian National Police that the Head of the Tigi Kecematan (i.e. Sub-District) Police, the Head of Paniai Kabupaten Police and the Head of Papuan Provincial Police all be stood-down from their positions as they were all assessed as not acting responsibly.

It is also hoped by the community together with the youth and students that the Deiyai Case Investigative Team that has been formed by DPRP in Jayapura would go immediately to the District of Tigi in Waghete to gather accurate data that can be trusted in relation to this incident.

Reported by: Selpius Bobii, General Chairperson – Front PEPERA –

(NOTE: WPM HAS CONFIRMED ALL FACTS IN THIS REPORT)