Daily Archives: November 8, 2010

mass action in Manokwari, 5000 demand end to violence and Obama’s intervention


News just received from Papua:

Reports of up to 5000 people arriving in Manokwari in mass peaceful protest after a long march to the office of the DPRD for West Papua Province.  Demonstrators are armed with banners  and calling for US Presdent Obama to intervene, to understand the rejection of Special Autonomy, to respect Papuan human rights and hold abuse perpetrators to genuine account; and to force Indonesia to enter into negotiations to ensure a peaceful solution for the many grievances of the Melanesian people of West Papua against Indonesian brutality.

Initial indications are that 700-800 security forces are in attendance, all armed.  There is a concern that Indonesian security forces may not show restraint.  The demonstration is expected to grow in size.

More info as it comes to hand.

Torture trial exposed as a ‘grand deception’ – Indonesian Government caught lying to US and Australian Governments

Article from The Age

A MILITARY trial into abuses by soldiers in Papua, trumpeted by Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono as evidence of the country’s commitment to human rights ahead of Julia Gillard’s visit, has proven to be a grand deception.

The trial of four soldiers began on Friday in Jayapura, the capital of Papua province, amid assurances from the Indonesian government and military that those appearing were involved in the torture of two Papuan men depicted in a graphic video.

But when the trial started, it became apparent that the four defendants had nothing to do with the incident depicted in the video, which took place in Papua on May 30. Instead, they were four soldiers involved in another incident, in March, which was also captured on video. While disturbing – it involves soldiers kicking and hitting detained Papuans – the abuses in the March incident are milder than the genital burning torture in the May video.

Dubbed the ”red herring trial” by The Jakarta Post, human rights advocates said the deception proved the matter must be investigated by Indonesia’s human rights body and the perpetrators tried in Indonesia’s Human Rights Court.

Papuan activists said the ”farcical” military tribunal hearing was a deliberate strategy to deflect international condemnation ahead of the visits of Ms Gillard, who travelled to Jakarta last week, and US President Barack Obama, who arrives tomorrow.

A day before Ms Gillard’s visit, Dr Yudhoyono announced the trial was to take place and urged Ms Gillard not to raise the topic when they spoke. ”There’s no need to pressure Indonesia. We have conducted an investigation and are ready for a trial or anything that is required to uphold justice and discipline,” he said.

But at the weekend, Lieutenant Colonel Susilo, spokesman for TNI’s military command in Papua, admitted the soldiers before the tribunal had nothing to do with the torture.

”It is difficult for us to investigate the perpetrators in the second video because they did not show any attribute or uniform,” he said. ”So what we could do was working on the first video. We could recognise their units and faces easily. ”

Ms Gillard’s office and the Department of Foreign Affairs declined to comment.