Daily Archives: November 5, 2010

West Papua torture victim speaks out

Report by Al Jazeera
Three Indonesian soldiers have appeared before a military tribunal in eastern Papua province to face charges over the alleged torture of Papuan civilians, which was captured on video.

Friday’s trial comes days ahead of a visit by Barack Obama, the US president, who seeks to resume ties with Indonesia.

The footage, posted online by human rights activists, showed soldiers applying a burning stick to the genitals of one of the unarmed men and threatening another with a knife.

The three defendants are from an infantry unit based in the city of Nabire in Papua province. Two other soldiers were called to appear as witnesses.

The graphic video drew international attention to allegations of widespread torture and abuse of activists and civilians in restive Indonesian regions such as Papua and the Maluku islands.

Victim speaks out

Al Jazeera has obtained a secretly filmed interview with Tunaliwor Kiwo, one of the torture victims who now lives in hiding in one of the most isolated areas in Papua.

Kiwo was burned with hot wires and cigarettes, repeatedly suffocated with a plastic bag and had a concoction of chili and salt rubbed into his open wounds.

“I kept screaming. But they didn’t care of the pain I suffered,” he was quoted as saying in the interview.

“The TNI (military) put gasoline and lit a fire and I was in the middle with the branches,” he said.

“I couldn’t move, the flames were approaching me, trying to burn my body and my legs and hands were still tied up. I was continuously hysterical, in pain.”

The incident occurred earlier this year in an area of Papua where Indonesian troops frequently clash with poorly armed separatist rebels from the indigenous Melanesian majority.

Rights groups including Amnesty International have called on Indonesia to punish the culprits and end an entrenched culture of impunity in the country’s security forces.

“From the beginning we have been demanding an independent investigation,” Marcus Haluk, a Papuan student leader, told Al Jazeera.

“The military can’t investigate a soldier. It would be like a thief investigating a thief,” he said.

Mending ties

Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, the Indonesian president, said on Monday there was “no immunity” for members of the country’s armed forces, ahead of talks in Jakarta with Julia Gillard, the visiting Australian prime minister.

Marty Natalegawa, the Indonesian foreign minister, told Al Jazeera that Indonesia has put the soldiers on trial “not because some government is knocking on our door, or because someone is telling us what to do”.

“We have taken the lead [in the investigation],” he said.

Al Jazeera’s Step Vaessen, reporting from Jakarta, the Indonesian capital, said that the testimony of the soldiers will further embarrass the Indonesian government.

Al Jazeera’s Step Vaessen reporting on the torture of Papuan civilians

“It is just a few days ahead of president Obama’s visit. Never before [has] a military trial [been] held this fast,” she said.

Robert Gates, the US defence secretary, met Yudhoyono in Jakarta in July and announced the US would lift a 12-year suspension of contacts with the Indonesian special forces as a result of “recent actions… to address human rights issues”.

Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, reportedly refused to comment on the specific torture allegations during a brief visit on Wednesday to Papua New Guinea, the independent eastern half of New Guinea island.

Indonesia incorporated the resource-rich but desperately poor western half of New Guinea in the 1960s after a UN-backed tribal vote, which separatists condemn as a sham.

Few Indonesian military officers have faced justice for rights abuses dating back decades, including alleged crimes against humanity in East Timor and the killing of thousands of political activists during the Suharto dictatorship.

Papua and the Malukus have underground separatist movements, which Indonesia regards as threats to its territorial unity.

Activists are regularly given lengthy jail terms for crimes such as possessing outlawed rebel flags.

Indonesian authorities suspected of launching cyber attacks on NGO websites

The websites of several NGO groups campaigning for human rights in West Papua have been under a serious DDoS attack for most of this week, forcing them offline as their servers have been overloaded. In the UK press, the finger of suspicion is focusing on the Indonesian authorities.

Survival International, the Asian Human Rights Commission, Friends of
People Close to Nature, Free West Papua Campaign and West Papua Media Alerts have seen their websites crippled in what is being described as a ‘coordinated cyber terrorism act’. All these campaign groups hosted video footage showing Indonesian troops torturing West Papuans, which has heaped shame on the Muslim majority country .

Channel 4 News in the UK tonight broadcast a report which also included footage from a demo held in West Papua earlier today. Newspapers including the Guardian and Yorkshire Evening Post have published reports on the cyber attacks, with more expected tomorrow.

Toby Nicholas, a new media expert at Survival International, said “What
they’ve done is remarkably effective and expensive – that’s why we think it’s linked to the Indonesian government or military authorities. There is no way this will stop our campaign for the tribespeople in West
Papua. If anything it makes us more determined.”

At the time of writing all the NGO websites remain down.

Links to news reports so far below. TV news report to follow:

Guardian newspaper:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2010/oct/28/survival-international-website-torture-video

Press Association:
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ukpress/article/ALeqM5j6fx4NxV3iaYoS8jalBIv5svH4dA?docId=N0036491288275207847A

Orange:
http://web.orange.co.uk/article/news/cyber_attack_on_rights_charity#newscomments

Yorkshire Evening Post:
http://www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk/news/Cyber-attack-on-human-rights.6603648.jp

IHRC: Freeport must show respect for Komnas HAM

Press Release by the Indonesian Human Rights Committee for Social Justice (IHRC)

A forum which was to be mediated by the National Human Rights Commission 
- Komnas HAM - involving four customary clans which form part of the 
Amungme people, along with the copper-and-gold company Freeport, which 
should have taken place on 18-19 October 2010 could not take place as 
planned because Freeport showed ill-will towards the event and said that 
it would not attend. The company simply sent the convenors a letter on 
18 October suggesting that the event should be postponed till 15 
November 2010.

At a meeting which took place on 19 October, Freeport only sent members 
of their staff, so Komnas HAM  decided to re-schedule  the mediation 
forum till 27 October at 9am, at its office.

In view of these developments, the IHRC wishes to state the following:

Freeport has shown disrespect and ill-will towards an institution of the 
Indonesian Republic, namely Komnas HAM, as well as disrespect for the 
legal system of this country.

Freeport has shown ill-will and disrespect for the dignity of the elders 
of the Amungme and Kamoro people and towards the directors of Lemasa and 
Lemasko, the bodies that represent those who hold customary rights over 
the land that is being used by Freeport.

Komnas HAM should act seriously and speedily in its efforts to resolve 
the dispute between Freeport and the Amungme and Kamoro people by 
convening a Mediation Forum on 26 October to be attended by the 
leadership of Freeport and the leadership of Komnas HAM, in order to be 
able to reach a peaceful, democratic and dignified resolution that 
ensures justice for the victims. If the mediation forum on 26 October is 
a failure, the Amungme people who live in mountains and the Kamoro 
people who live along the coast will organise a peaceful mass action 
which will take the form of a boycott of all the products of Freeport.

Jakarta, 26 Octoebr 2010
Executive Committee of IHCS

Gunawan, Secretary-General

Ecoline Situmorang, Chairperson




	

AWPA calls on Julia Gillard to raise the human rights situation in West Papua on her visit to Indonesia

The Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)

Media release   25 October   2010

AWPA calls on  Julia Gillard  to raise the human rights situation in West Papua on her visit to Indonesia

The Australian Prime Minister will visit Indonesia on the 1 and 2 November to discuss ways to further strengthen the bilateral relationship and increase cooperation across a number of economic, security, development and environmental challenges.

Joe collins of AWPA said “in light of the recent reports of torture of West Papuans we are calling on the Prime Minister to raise the human rights situation in West Papua with the Indonesian President.
We are also calling on the Prime Minister  to send a parliamentary delegation on a fact finding mission to West Papua  to investigate the human rights situation in the territory”.

AWPA has regularly  raised concerns that any aid or training given to the military could be used against the West Papuan people  and we  again urge the Prime Minister   to put a moratorium on the training, funding and any ties between  the Australian military and any Indonesian units found to have been involved in human rights abuses.

Although the Indonesian military said they would investigate the incident we believe  a full independent inquiry held  by a relevant United Nations human rights organisation will be the only
inquiry
acceptable
to the West Papuan people and are urging the Prime Minister  to call for such an inquiry.

Info. Joe Collins Mob. 04077 857 97

————————————–

Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)
PO Box 28, Spit Junction, Sydney, Australia 2088
Email: bunyip@bigpond.net.au

The Hon Julia Gillard MP
Prime Minister
Parliament House
Canberra
ACT 2600

25 October 2010

Dear Prime Minister,

On behalf of the Australia West Papua Association (Sydney),  I am writing to you concerning your coming trip to Indonesia on the 1 and 2 November. AWPA would like you to raise the human rights situation in West Papua[1] during your talks with President Yudhoyono

I am sure  you are aware of the recent media reports on the torture of West Papuans by the Indonesian military in the Puncak Jaya region of West Papua. The torture of the West Papuans by the Indonesian military  was captured on video and shows in one scene a Papuan  man having a plastic bag forced over his head and screaming in pain as a burning stick is held to his genitals.  The horrific video has been seen around the world and rightly condemned. The Indonesian military has  confirmed that members of the TNI did torture the West Papuans.

Just days after the release of the video  another report surfaced of the burning of Bigiragi village, in the  Puncak Jaya district by officers from the police’s Mobile Brigade. An official from the Papuan Customary Council (DAP) told the Jakarta Globe  he had received graphic images of the destruction of Bigiragi village.

These incidents of human rights abuses committed by the Indonesian security forces are unfortunately not unusual and reports of  the Indonesian security forces conducting military operations looking for the OPM in the Puncak Jaya region  have been ongoing for years leaving the local people in fear and traumatised.

We understand that the whole island of New Guinea will always be strategically important to Australia and it is in the interests of the Australian Government to have a stable region to our north.  However, in West Papua, the policies of the Indonesian Government, compounded by the actions of the Indonesian security forces will lead to the very instability the Australian Government is trying to avoid.  Although Indonesia has made great progress towards democracy in recent years, unfortunately this has not translated to an improvement in the human rights situation in West Papua as the above incidents show.

AWPA and other civil society organizations have written regularly to Australian Governments over many years about our country’s ties with the Indonesian military. We have recently written to you concerning the torture of peaceful activists in Maluku. We have raised concerns that any aid or training given to the military could be used against the West Papuan people  and we again urge  you to put a moratorium on the training, funding and any ties between  the Australian military and any Indonesian units found to have been involved in human rights abuses.

Although the Indonesian military said they would investigate the incident we believe  a full independent inquiry held  by a relevant United Nations human rights organisation will be the only  inquiry  acceptable to the West Papuan people and urge you to call for such an inquiry.  We also urge you to send an Australian parliamentary delegation on a fact finding mission to West Papua  to investigate the human rights situation in the
territory.

Yours sincerely

Joe Collins
Secretary
AWPA (Sydney)

[1] AWPA (Sydney) uses the name “West Papua” to refer to the whole of the western half of the Island of New Guinea. “West Papua” at this time is divided into two provinces, Papua and West Papua.

Papuan tells of torture by Indonesian soldiers

Tom Allard
Sydney Morning Herald

"I screamed on and on" ... Tunaliwor Kiwo.“I screamed on and on” … Tunaliwor Kiwo.   

A PAPUAN man depicted in a video being burnt, suffocated and hit by Indonesian troops says he was tortured for two days, according to his testimony recorded and translated by Papuan activists.

Tunaliwor Kiwo was shown in agony as the soldiers burnt his penis in the video, which was filmed in May and revealed exclusively in the Herald last month. It prompted a horrified response in Indonesia and around the world, and led to the rapid arrest of five Indonesian soldiers, who face a military tribunal today.

But in the new testimony Mr Kiwo, filmed two weeks ago, said the abuse was far worse than depicted in the first video.

He spoke of being repeatedly beaten and suffocated, of his head being crashed into a wall and of being burnt with cigarettes during the first day of torture, which followed his arrest as he travelled by motorcycle with his friend Telangga Gire on the road from Tingginambut to Mulia, the capital of Puncak Jaya regency, a hotbed of separatist activity.

An image from the video of Tunaliwor Kiwo being tortured by Indonesian soldiers.An image from the video of Tunaliwor Kiwo being tortured by Indonesian soldiers. 

”The next tortures were heating up a piece of iron or wire and it was put at my thighs and I screamed on and on,” he said in the video, conducted in the Lani dialect of Puncak Jaya and translated by Papuan activists. ”It got heated up again and put again on my left and right belly. I kept screaming. But they didn’t care of the pain I suffered. [The interrogators] tortured me incredibly since 9am to night to morning.”

That night, he was doused in freezing water.

The next day was even worse, according to Mr Kiwo, a 50-year-old farmer. Early that day, the soldiers threatened to burn him alive.

”The TNI [Indonesian military] put gasoline and light a fire and I was in the middle with the branches,” Mr Kiwo said. ”I couldn’t move, the flames were approaching me, trying to burn my body and my legs and hands were still tied up. I was continuously hysterical, in pain.”

At this point, Mr Kiwo said he was ”surrendering, ready to die”.

Then he says he was cut all over his body and face with a razor. The soldiers prepared a liquid concoction of chilli, shallots, onions, detergent and salt ”all smashed and mixed with water”.

The mixture was spread over his open wounds.

”I screamed loudly due to the pain but, in fact, it encouraged them to be more brutal and [they] kept showering me. They turned my body back and forth. The parts that were not showered [at first] were showered with chillies until the chillies was finished.”

Mr Kiwo was certain he would be executed. The soldiers repeatedly accused him of being a Papuan separatist fighter and demanded he reveal the location of a weapons cache. On the third day, he said, he escaped.

Mr Kiwo is living in hiding, as is Mr Gire. The filmed testimony was obtained amid great secrecy by Markus Haluk, from the Papuan Customary Council, which oversaw the translation from Lani to Indonesian. The translation could not be independently verified by the Herald.

Indonesia’s President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, has condemned the action depicted in the first video, and promised a transparent investigation.

But the head of Indonesia’s military, Admiral Agus Suhartono, has played down the seriousness of the offences.

The US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, during a brief visit to Papua New Guinea, would not comment on the incident but said any continuing human rights violations should be investigated and perpetrators held accountable.