Tag Archives: Indonesian State Violence


By Pastor Honaratus Pigai


November 2, 2015

The creation of human beings is indeed one of the brilliant works of God,  giving freedom to humans to choose between right and wrong, good and bad.  It is the very intelligence of humans which differentiates us from other living things in the creation.  We are indeed unique. Animals share the characteristic of humans that they tend towards using violence in order to defend themselves.  Animals also have instincts.

Unlike human beings, animals don’t possess the means to be able to evaluate the appropriateness of actions.. The instinct of animals is but one of survival. Yet despite the “higher level intelligence” of humans, at times they will act not just out of an instinct to survive when threatened, but rather as a predator against their fellow humans. (Something like a group of lions which may seize by violence the territory of another lion group.)

Sadly there are far too many instances of such predatory behaviour being seen in Papua against the indigenous people of the land.
Humanity – one would have thought – should have ceased using violence against their fellow beings long before this point in human history. What’s more those nations that call themselves ‘civilised’.  It is appropriate that human violence  only be tolerated when one nation is faced with an threat to their safety by another nation.  So then violence would only be used in a way that is legal under human law (to defend) against that which is carrying out the wrong.

However here in Papua violence is being systematically used not against criminals, but against the people.

The State versus the Community

A State has a certain authority recognised in the protection of its community.  It is regarded as the ‘protector’ of the people.  Instances of the use of violence by a State should only in the context of protecting its people from some threat of harm.  Violence should never be used by the State against the community itself.  However what has been occurring in Papua in recent times is totally paradoxical to that (notion).

Although it is forbidden to openly admit that the Indonesian State is opposing the very community that it is supposed to protect in Papua, the fact is that frequently the Papuan community does feel as if it is being regarded as the ‘opposition’ of the State.  Particularly around instances when the State forces its own will onto the people.  National policies applied in Papua largely can be said NOT to be representative of the Papuan context, nor the needs of the local community.  Often heard on the streets in response is “What is asked for is one thing, what is given is another.”  This is a reality. The policies are not in accordance with what is asked for, or even what is wanted and hoped for by the community.

It seems likely that violence has been adopted as the one and only ‘solution’ of the State of Indonesia to solving the problems in Papua.  At those moments when the community is seen to oppose the will of the State, indeed this seems ever so clear.  However Indonesia does not seem to recognise that the violence of its agents is having a counter productive result:  among its ramifications is that the State will predictably lose legitimacy and the trust of the Papuan community. This is an important matter for the state, which will only be changed by the State having an approach of dialogue and treating people humanely.

Obviously we are all human beings and that we should as much as possible be using means that are humane and civilised.  Would it therefore not be preferable that when a government (representing the power of the state) is adopting any policy that profoundly effects the community, that they would seek the opinion of that community to be affected, prior to that point? The government must not just hide from its obligations, seeking protection behind legalities of power, with statements like ‘This is in accordance with legal procedure’.  They must stop the inherent power games against the community, claiming that ‘This is in accordance with a legal decision, so it must be implemented’.

The State must seek to bring about justice and peace for the people, not the opposite! The law is an instrument to be used to attain a civilised state of affairs and good for its citizens, not to be used to spill the blood of the people and create death and tragedy in their lives. The recent human history of Papua is indeed full with the spilling of blood and killing of the Papuan people. There has been absolutely no episode of life for Papuans in this era where there has been a real peace and a lack of violence in the land against its people. The violence itself has become like a little king, a ruler in Papua. Indeed it is no mistake to say that a ‘smooth’ genocide has befallen the indigenous community of Papua.

‘Smooth’ Violence

The State violence in Papua is clothed with a smooth, soft touch. Those that commit the acts of violence and create the anarchy wear security hats and are referred to as the so-called ‘protectors’ of the community. This is a fact of what is happening.   Far from the ideals of ‘Peacekeeping and protection,’ it seems have been watered down to meaning  ‘closing down (cultural) pride actions that might otherwise arise’.

It’s up to each of us to interpret what is really going on in relation to those wearing those ‘hats’ in light of the realities in Papua. The Writer sees it as a ‘smooth’ violence, a ‘refined’ violence being committed against the people. This really can damage the sense of peacefulness in the community. Even the justice spoken of in the Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia 1945 is damaged as a consequence of this neglect by the State of its people.

The State could try just once in a while seeking the opinions from the community regarding  policies in Papua. If the majority of opinions sought were in agreement with the policies, by all means continue to apply them. However if the community does not agree, they must be discontinued. Unfortunately there is no such mechanism as this in existence; It is but utopian as the role of the community should already be represented by the Papuan Legislative Assembly (DPRD). They are the ones in the Indonesian structure which represent the community. There is no use regretting this as this is the mechanism which we chose democratically.
The DPRD has an incredibly obvious shortcoming. All manner of aspirations of the people that reach their desk are in one way or another overlooked. As the representative of the community that sits in the most respected of positions it feels indeed like there has been some sort of ‘cutting off’ of a limb. Both attention and partiality of the DPRD towards the Papuan community are severely dulled.

It is truly hoped that the games of violence in Papua – whether of the ‘smooth faced’ type or more crude forms of violence against the people – might be questioned. The hats of the ‘peacekeepers and protectors’ must be removed as the proliferation of Indonesian military forces in Papua is not the solution! Violence is not the solution and neither is money the solution. The solution lies in listening to the true desires of the community. Not the wishes of the Papuan government officials who have no genuine concern for the suffering of the Papuan indigenous community.

The Author is a Church Worker in Timika, Papua.

Translated, annotated and edited by West Papua Media for linguistic clarity.  The religious views espoused in this Opinion piece are the author’s own and not necessarily those of West Papua Media.

Jokowi Evades Questions on Paniai Shootings: West Papua Daily

by Victor Mambor at Tabloid Jubi
May 11, 2015

Peoples in Paniai evacuated body of victim - Suplied

Jayapura, Jubi – President Joko Widodo evaded questions about a lack of progress in the investigation into the December 8 shootings that killed four students in Enarotali, Paniai.

“I’ll answer it later after this (granting pardons to five political prisoners),” he said when a Jubi reporter asked him about the Paniai case’s settlement in the question-and-answer session during a ceremony granting pardon to five Papuan political prisoners at Abepura prison in Jayapura on Saturday (9/5/2015).

After the ceremony, Jubi asked him the same question in a private interview but Jokowi said repeatedly: ” I’ll give the answer later. I couldn’t answer it now. Because if I answer it now it could eclipse the granting of pardon issue.”

After the plenary session held on 7 – 8 April 2015, the Indonesian National Human Right Commission announced receiving the investigation report from the Paniai Investigation Team.

“We received the report from the Paniai Team and endorsed it towards the Law No.26/2000, that the team must complete the report and its requirement (case matrix and legal studies),” Dr. Meneger Nasution, the Chairman of Paniai Case Team said before dozens of Papuan students and supporters after the plenary.

Further Nasution who accompanied by other Human Rights Commissionaire Natalius Pigay, said the case matrix and legal studies would be presented in the plenary session in May 2015. “One month is required because the report must be compiled with legal studies and case matrix which should be met with the international legal instrument,” Nasution added. But up to now, there is no further decision about the case by the Indonesian National Human Rights Commission. (Victor Mambor/rom)

Police shoot farmer in Yapen

February 13,  2015

by West Papua Media

(Updated for correct date)

Early  reports have been received from West Papua Media sources of police killing on Yapen Island on Wednesday, February 11..

Police officers on patrol in Yapen, approaching the village of Saubeba, have shot dead a civilian named Faris RUMANGGITO (FR), approximately 40 years of age. FR was shot dead by police in unknown circumstances by Indonesian BRIMOB officers at 5:47AM near the KM 5 junction of the Ambaidiru – Saubeba road.

The bodies have now been brought to the village Kontiunai, in Angkaisera District, Yapen.

A farmer, Rumanggito is from the village Yobi, but he lived in the village Kontiunai.  According to local officials questioned by a WPM stringer, Yobi may have been shot by police “because they were looking for Michael Merani,” the local West Papua Revolutionary Army guerrilla commander.

More information as it becomes available.


Papuans Behind Bars October 2014: ‘Bloody Yotefa’: police turn a blind eye to violence against indigenous Papuans

From our partners at Papuans Behind Bars, with additional reporting from West Papua Media and JPIC

17 November 2014

At the end of October 2014, there were at least 69 political prisoners in
Papuan gaols.

At least 46 members of the West Papua National Committee (Komite Nasional Papua Barat, KNPB) were arrested in Jayapura and Merauke this month for participating in peaceful demonstrations. The demonstrators were urging the Indonesian government to release two French journalists who faced trial for breaching immigration rules.

In likely reference to the Social Organisations Law (RUU Organisasi Kemasyarakatan, RUU Ormas), police claimed during the mass arrests that the KNPB is an illegal organisation as it is not registered with the Department of National Unity and Politics (Kesatuan Bangsa dan Politik, Kesbangpol) and affiliated symbols or attributes are also therefore illegal. Last June, police conducted a mass arrest in Boven Digoel under the same auspices.  Indonesian human rights group Imparsial challenged the shutting down of peaceful demonstrations in Jayapura and Merauke, stating that freedom of expression in Papua is the worst in Indonesia, particularly when it comes to the treatment of KNPB rallies. The criminalisation of peaceful demonstrations, often under the auspices of the Ormas Law, restricts democratic space and stigmatises Papuan civil society groups.

On 27 October, two French journalists, Thomas Dandois and Valentine
Bourrat, were released after 11 weeks in detention. However, Lanny Jaya
tribal leader Areki Wanimbo, who was arrested alongside the pair, still
faces charges of conspiracy to commit treason. Lawyers from the Democracy Alliance for Papua (Aliansi Demokrasi untuk Papua, ALDP) have stated that the legal process for Wanimbo has been fraught with irregularities and that his case has been handled unprofessionally. Wanimbo faces charges different to those he was first accused of, and unsuitable evidence was used to build a case against him. The decision to impose a two-and-a-half-month prison sentence on the two journalists instead of acquitting them was a harsh blow for the campaign to open access to Papua. As noted by Human Rights Watch researcher Andreas Harsono, foreign journalists face a complex system of applying for visas to Papua, which requires the approval of 18 different government agencies – a process that severely restricts journalistic access. It remains to be seen whether Indonesian president Joko Widodo will make good on his promise of opening access to Papua.

Bloody Yotefa

In our July update we raised concerns regarding an incident which has come to be known as ‘Bloody Yotefa,’ that took place on 2 July at Yotefa market in Abepura. Early reports stated that three Papuan men were killed following a police raid on a gambling den at Yotefa market.  At least four Papuan men from the Central Highlands were tortured and 40 people arrested according to a Report from the Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Desk (Keadilan, Perdamaian dan Keutuhan Ciptaan, KPKC) of the Evangelical Christian Church (Gereja Kristen Injili, GKI). Following the raid on the market, police arrested and handed over two Papuans, including a 14-year-old boy, to a mob of non-indigenous Papuans who publicly tortured and beat them while police stood by, later continuing the job themselves at Bhayangkara Police Hospital. While police beatings, torture and killings of indigenous Papuans are not new phenomena, the public involvement of non-indigenous mobs to achieve this is a particular low point.

Bloody Yotefa challenges the government perspective that torture and killings are carried out by a rogue police in isolated cells, showing instead that these arbitrary violations are becoming social events in which the non-indigenous community can participate. This dynamic
perpetuates a culture of fear and domination in which indigenous Papuans are exposed to constant risk of public violence, even in traditionally ‘safe’ spaces such as hospitals and university campuses. Police discrimination and profiling of indigenous Papuans, especially those who come from the Central Highlands, makes them still more vulnerable to public torture, violence and arbitrary arrest.

You can read the full update here:

Papuans Behind Bars team

Papuan students attacked with machetes in Manado, 2 dead, 4 injured: WARNING GRAPHIC


from our partners at MajalahSelangkah.com, with additional reporting by West Papua Media

original report Sunday 19th October 2014,

2 Victim Petius Tabuni after being hacked to death by militias in Manado. Photo supplied

Victim Petius Tabuni after being hacked to death by militias in Manado. Photo supplied (accompanying image too gruesome to display openly, if you must see this click here.)

 Manado, MAJALAH SELANGKAH – a Papuan student, Petius Tabuni, was hacked to death with machetes by unknown assailants, believed to be militia, around 3am local time on Sunday morning(19/10/2014) in Tondano City, Manado, North Sulawesi.

Petius, a student at Manado State Political-technical university,  died on the spot from his extensive and vicious  machete wounds across his back, body, head and face.  Five other Papuans who went to look for him were also attacked and rushed to a hospital nearby, by the same assailants.  The names of the other students and dead boy have not yet been released at time of writing.

“At this point, the  situation in Manado is not very safe. We are all too scared to leave our dormitories,”  a student from Manado told majalahselangkah.com on Sunday.

The incident began as students from Manado University (UNIMA) on Saturday night (18/10/2014) were holding a graduation celebration party at the student dormitory village of Tataaran Patar Minahasa.

The victim was reported to have been intoxicated, and left the party. Around 03:00 am, he telephoned his brother and friends saying he was being attacked.   When 5 of his friends came to the place he had called from, they found him already lying dead.

Before they had time to park their motorbikes, they were attacked with machetes for over twenty minutes by a large group of local Manado people loitering in the darkness nearby. The five were severely injured with machete wounds, with one of the five students, reportedly just out of middle school, died in hospital.

Local sources reported that a large group of Papuan students at Tondano are being forced to barricade themselves and have been stranded in their student boarding houses.   They can not leave even with a rental car, according to local sources, because there is information circulating that the perpetrators are still looking for more Papuan victims.

Manado police have refused to return calls from West Papua Media about the status of the victims and the current security situation for Papuan students in Manado.  (BT/014/MS/WPM)

Additional reporting, Edited and translated by Westpapuamedia

%d bloggers like this: