Tag Archives: Rebellion/Subversion charges

OpEd: Asia, Africa and the Unresolved Question of Papua

by Budi Hernawan*

April 24, 2015

EDIT: WPM received a transcript without the original author being credited and published as an original .  We apologise for this, but will maintain the article as fair dealing.  Article originally appeared at http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/opinion/commentary-asia-africa-unresolved-question-papua/

Sixty years ago in Bandung, 29 representatives from Asian and African nations were enthused with the spirit of decolonisation, and today even more seem determined to pursue South-South cooperation.

If we look back at the 1955 Bandung conference as described in Richard Wright’s “The Colour Curtain,” it was simply stunning. Most of the leaders of newly independent nations were former political prisoners under their respective colonial regimes. Those who had long been treated as underdogs were now in charge of new nations. It was a new dawn of liberation and in 1960 these Asian and African countries made history through the adoption of Resolution No. 1514 on Decolonisation at the General Assembly of the United Nations.

For this year’s commemorative Asian-African Conference, Indonesia has set three main goals:

  1. strengthening South-South cooperation to promote world peace and prosperity;
  2. reinvigorating the New Asian-African Strategic Partnership; and
  3. a Declaration on Palestine.

However, one thing is missing in this picture: Papua.

Sixty years ago, Papua was on the top of then-president Sukarno’s decolonisation agenda. He managed to get the support from many of the participants of the Bandung conference for his diplomatic battle at the UN to make Papua — still ruled by the Dutch — part of the Republic of Indonesia. The Dutch were still recovering from their post-colonial syndrome and although they had started to realise that their time had passed, they were determined to hold on to what they called Netherlands New Guinea, and what Indonesia referred to as West Irian.

The debates at the UN centred on the topic of unfinished decolonisation and the serious threat to world peace this posed. With the support of other Asian and Africa countries, Indonesian diplomats tirelessly argued before the General Assembly that West Irian was part of Indonesia as agreed during the Roundtable Conference in The Hague in 1949. Furthermore, they argued that the situation was detrimental to stability in the Southeast Asian region, calling on the UN to step in, as mandated by the UN Charter.

With the support of 14 countries, in 1954 Indonesia managed to table “The Question of West Irian” at the UNGA but it took another year before the UN General Assembly adopted it as Resolution 915(X) in 1955. The journey was far from over.

In the following years, Indonesia fought hard for the topic to be put on the agenda at the UNGA, with the support of 15 Asian and African nations, but failed. Australia was one of the countries that consistently voted against the proposal, whereas the United States opted for abstention — giving the Dutch leeway. This diplomatic failure led Sukarno to divert his energy to scale up the nation’s military capacity and, ultimately, launch an assault — Operation Trikora in 1961.

Not long after, the current provinces of Papua and West Papua were transferred to Indonesia after a brief period of UN administration. However, many people do not realise that until today, “Papua” remains an unresolved question.

Papuans have long appealed for a peaceful solution to the decades-old conflict in the easternmost part of the country. It has been a while since local church leaders declared Papua as a “Land of Peace” in 1998, following the bloody massacre of Biak, which remains unresolved. Filep Karma, who rose the Morning Star flag in Biak days before the massacre, remains in jail for doing the same thing in 2004.

The Papuan Peace Network has been trying to persuade Jakarta to engage in dialogue with Papuans since 2009. President B.J. Habibie’s administration told the 100 Papuan representatives to go home and rethink their call for independence. The administration of president Susilo Bambang Yudhyono held two separate meeting with Papuan church leaders and promised to organise a dialogue, which never happened. President Joko Widodo visited Papua after promising to improve the situation on the campaign trail.

But Papuans are still waiting.

While the national government is determined to revive the Bandung spirit of liberation by proposing a “Declaration on Palestine”, local police in Jayapura on April 8 arrested five Papuan leaders and charged them with treason even though they had only just returned home from a  meeting with Defence Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu. Papuan efforts to establish a dialogue are being criminalised. Charges remind us of the colonial time, when our founding fathers were persecuted for expressing their political positions.

Papuans are no longer placing their hopes in Asian and African countries, and some have started to shift their focus to the Pacific.

The Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) has become a new forum to find a solution for Papua. During its 2013 summit, the MSG expressed concerns over the human rights situation in Papua and called on Indonesia to find a peaceful solution. The summit also discussed an application for membership from Papuan representatives, although a decision has been delayed. But in May, the MSG will again discuss the application during its summit in Honiara.

“The Question of West Irian” is still very much alive.

*Budi Hernawan is a long time researcher on human rights issues in Papua, and is currently a research fellow at the Abdurrahman Wahid Center for Interfaith Dialogue and Peace at the University of Indonesia (UI).

Unconfirmed reports of FRWP delegation to Jakarta arrested upon returning to Jayapura.

April 16, 2015
from West Papua Media sources
WestPapuaMedia has received the following alert, which has not yet been independently verified:”On Friday, April 10, 2015 a Delegation of the provisional government of the Federal Republic of West Papua ‘ (held a) Joint Meeting with Minister of Defence in Jakarta. This meeting is part of lobbying (that) recognition of the Federal Republic of West Papua state should emerge from both side, namely negotiation from the Indonesian government, and to pursue International recognition.

Don Flassy
FRPB Vice President Don A.L.Flassy, second from left (photo: FRPB/ File)


After joint meeting with Minister of Defense, on April 14, 2015 they returned to Jayapura. (When) they arrived the Papuan Regional Police arrested them and put them in Papuan Police Regional headquarters now.

Names of the arrested are:
1. Don A.L Flassy, Vice President of the Federal Republic of West Papua
2. Ones Banundi, Vice Chairman of the Papua National Council of the Federal Republic of West Papua
3. Masjohn Sueabu, Staff
4. Lawrence Mehue, Staff
5. Eyias Ayakeding, Chief of Papua National Police of the Federal Republic of West Papua
6. Deki Pahabol, staff”

Indonesian police have allegedly charged the group under Article 106 (makar or treason/subversion) of the Indonesian Criminal Code (KUHP), which carries up to 20 years or life in prison.

A spokesperson for the group, Yoab Syatfle, has called for International pressure on the Indonesian government to immediately release the 6 men.

More to come.


Indonesia constantly ignoring West Papuan’s pleas for peace


By : Rufinus Madai

May 14, 2014

There is never a day that passes when the people of Papua as individuals, do not express their longing to see peace.  Instead of responding to their cries for peace, their daily lives are continuously spattered with violence and conflict created by Indonesian Armed Forces.

Even at those everyday moments when people eat and drink, in every place and at all times, people of Papua are speaking of their longing for peace.  They dearly hope that the Government of Indonesia will bring an end to the violence being committed in their land. Yet their cries for over 50 years have gone unheard: the Government just ignores their pleas, showing no response whatsoever.  One can’t but question what really is the underlying desire of the Indonesian Government in regards to Papua.

It is little wonder that the people of Papua no longer trust the Government of Indonesia.  They feel so deeply that they are not truly regarded by Indonesia as being a true part of the Republic of Indonesia. As a result they don’t refer to themselves as Indonesians, but rather as Papuans.  For it is the very Forces of the State itself that are carrying out the constant acts of violence. Papuans accordingly speak of the State of Indonesia as being a coloniser, as an oppressor and as a murdering state. What is it going to take for Indonesian to rid itself of such labels and develop a new image in the hearts of the people of Papua?  To date Indonesia has never listened to the voice of the people of Papua.  The people’s constant pleas for peace , which the Government has just ignored, are not just empty words. They are an expression that comes from the bottom of people’s hearts in response to what they are experiencing and facing up to every day of their lives.  Of course Papuans question Indonesia’s true intent in Papua, when for over 50 years now the State has not only allowed the violence against the population to continue, but in fact in every instance, it has been violence and conflict created by the State’s own Forces.  Indeed the Government of Indonesia has failed miserably to date in regards to Papua.  It is this failure of the State to bring an end to the conflict in Papua which has given rise to a lack of confidence towards the Government in the hearts of the people of Papua. Yet despite all this, many people still hang on to a hope that the Indonesian Government will stop the violence and conflict against their people. But when?

The people of Papua have faithfully waited on the Government of Indonesia to act to bring about their hopes for peace in their land. Yet those hopes have fallen on deaf ears. The State needs to start hearing the cries of the people, to open its eyes and ears and act humanely and take responsibility for the continuous violence committed by its Forces. As the root of all problems in Papua lie with the Indonesian Government itself. The Indonesian government is responsible to protect the people of Papua and to take actions  to bring an end to the conflict in the land. It must change its attitude and show an intention to listen to the people and together to search for the solution that will bring about peace.

Do not ignore the cries of our people Indonesia! Bring an end to the violence in our land!

The Writer is a post-graduate level theological student at the Catholic Seminary in Abepura, Papua.

KNPB Timika Chairman freed from custody after international pressure

From our Partners at Pacific Media Centre

KNPB’s Steven Itlay … arrested then set free. (Image: Free West Papua Campaign)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

JAYAPURA (Pacific Media Watch): The West Papua National Committee’s [KNPB] Timika chairman, Steven Itlay, has been released from prison after being arrested by the Indonesian police yesterday.

The news site KNPB has reported that Indonesian police shot 10 bullets into the campaign’s office in what seemed to be an attempt to provoke a fight in order to arrest activists inside.

KNPB reported that when West Papuan activists asked the police why Itlay was being arrested, they told them: “Steven Itlay is a suspected Free West Papua activist”.

The Free West Papua Campaign said Itlay’s relatively speedy release was due to international pressure being placed on the police.

Just hours earlier, the campaign had published the phone number of the head of the Indonesian police in Jayapura on its Facebook page. It is understood that activists from all over the world phoned the number to call for Itlay’s release.

In a statement issued yesterday, the campaign said: “We would like to thank you all with all our hearts for all your incredible support for Mr Itlay and the people of West Papua, especially after the international plea for his release was made earlier today. Following his release, Steven also asked us to thank you all for the support of the suffering people of West Papua”.

Meanwhile, Papuans Behind Bars has released its April 2014 report, which details 12 incidents of torture of West Papuans in custody last month.

In one case, two West Papuans were “stabbed and slashed” by Indonesian police for objecting to police brutality against a third person, while “another seven men were tortured on arrest with electric stun batons”, the report says.

On April 2, the international day of protests for a Free West Papua, Indonesian police tortured two students at the campus of Cenderawasih University in Jayapura.

Karnavian: 11 prominent security cases in West Papua for 2013

From Victor Mambor at  Tabloid Jubi

December 1, 2014

Head of Papua Police, Inspector General of Police Tito Karnavian (Jubi)
Head of Papua Police, Inspector General of Police Tito Karnavian (Jubi)

Jayapura, 1/1 (Jubi) – Head of Papua Police, Inspector General of Police Tito Karnavian said, during the year 2013, there were eleven prominent cases related to Security and Public Order.

“There were eleven prominent cases during the Year 2013. Such as attacks carried by unidentified peoples, fifteen cases, and assault in the area of ​​PT Freeport Indonesia, eleven cases,“ said Tito Karnavian to reporters on Tuesday (31/12) night.

The eleven prominent cases are :
1. Tribal warfare, 3 cases;
2. Shooting in the area of ​​PT. Freeport Indonesia, 11 cases;
3. Mass attacks against members of the police, 6 cases;
4. Attacks by Armed Civilian/The National Liberation Army of Free West Papua Movement, 15 cases;
5. Deprivation against foreigners, 1 case;
6. Plane crash, 0 cases;
7. Protests against Special Autonomy Law, 3 cases;
8. Possession of illegal weapons , 4 cases;
9. Shootings by police, 3 cases;
10. Anarchist demo, 3 cases;
11. Raising of the Morning Star, 5 cases.

In addition, Papua Police had eleven operation carried out in the year 2013.
Eleven of these operations include Operation Mantap Praja II,  Operasi Mantap Praja III, Operasi Sahabar Matoa, Operasi Simpatik Matoa, Operasi Dian, Operasi Patuh Matoa, Operasi Zebra Matoa, Operasi Lilin Matoa dan Operasi Aman Matoa III.

“To eradicate corruption, from ten activities with 122 existing cases in police report, the State suffered a loss of Rp. 58,166,994,730, – but money returned to the state was Rp. 15,066,951,566, – , ” said Tito Karnavian.

Papua Police have predict public order and security situation (Sitkamtibmas) for 2014 will still be dominated by mass demonstrations relating to the Legislative and Presidential Elections. (Jubi/Aprila Wayar/Victor Mambor)