Daily Archives: January 13, 2011

AWPA: West Papua 2010 Chronology of events

The Australia West Papua Association has produced a very useful chronology of all key events that occurred in West Papua in 2010.  The full document can be accessed here: West Papua 2010 Chronology of events,

The introduction is reprinted below:

Human rights situation in West Papua[1]

The human rights situation in West Papua continued to deteriorate in 2010. One incident in particular highlighted the worsening human rights situation and that was the shocking video footage of West Papuans being tortured by Indonesian soldiers. The video showed several men in military fatigues torturing two Papuans. The soldiers in the video threaten the two men with sharp weapons and pressed a burning bamboo stick against one of the men’s genitals. The torture of the men prompted a wave of international criticism with human rights organisations around the world condemning the actions  of the Indonesian military.  This incident was not an isolated incident and in further evidence of  human rights abuses another report  accused the police of burning down the village of Bigiragi in the Puncak Jaya district.  The report said that 16 Mobile Brigade officers had burned the village to the ground on October 11. The report said that at least 29 homes were destroyed in the incident leaving at least 150 people homeless

Military operations in Puncak Jaya

A number of  military operation took place in the Puncak Jaya region in 2010 and in fact security operations have been ongoing in the Puncak Jaya region for years . Security forces  conduct regular sweeps  (military operations) in the area to pursue members of the Free Papua Movement (OPM).  Many reports have pointed out the the security forces have great difficulty distinguishing  between what the term separatists  and the general public. These operations leave the local people traumatised and in fear for their lives.  In a report in Bintang Papua (29 June)  The local chief of police admitted that “the OPM  are all over the place including in the town of Mulia, mingling with the community. He said that because the features of the mountain people are almost the same as other people in the area, ‘it is making it very difficult for us to differentiate  between who is OPM and who is just an ordinary member of the community”. This statement raises great concerns that civilians are in danger of being targeted as members of the OPM. During these military operations villages have been destroyed as well as  gardens and livestock. In September  the House of Representatives (DPR) Law Commission deputy chairman, Tjatur Sapto Edy lamented the military operations in the Puncak Jaya Regency following a report by the  National Commission for Human Rights (Komnas HAM). Tjatur said there should be no more military operations and such approaches  are no longer suitable in a democracy. A report by Komnas HAM’s Papua chapter revealed 29 cases of rights abuses occurred in Puncak Jaya regency from 2004-2010, including the torture and rape of villagers in March 2010 by law enforcers.

In September  an article in the the SMH alleged that Indonesia’s elite counter-terrorism unit, Detachment 88, brutalised a group of separatists, repeatedly beating them in detention. Australia helps fund Detachment 88.  The report also said the Australian Government had sent an official to the Indonesian province of Maluku to investigate the  claims but an Australian embassy official denied there was an investigation going on although an embassy officer had visited Maluku as part of a regular program of provincial visits.

Leaked Kopassus report

In November investigative journalist Alan Nairn released a secret report by a Kopassus task force which shows a list of West Papuans engaged in human rights work are a target of the Indonesian Special Force Group, Kopassus. The list includes members of civil society organisations, church groups , activists, students and  members of the MRP.  The report can be found on his blog at

http://www.allannairn.com/2010/11/breaking-news-secret-files-show.html

In December cables released by WikiLeaks in relation to West Papuan human rights confirmed what NGOs  have been telling their governments for years, that it is the Indonesian military that are one of the main problems in West Papua.

The cables revealed that US diplomats blame the government in Jakarta for unrest in West Papua due to neglect, corruption and human rights abuses.  That Indonesian military commanders have been accused of illegal logging operations and drug smuggling from West Papua into Papua New Guinea, and also that a lifting of the US ban on training with Kopassus was made a condition of Obama’s  visit to Jakarta.

Also in December the coordinator of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras), a major Indonesian human rights group accused the National Police of being the state institution guilty of committing the highest number of acts of violence against the public in 2010.  In the Jakarta Post (7/12/10) , the Papua chapter of the National Commission for Human Rights (Komnas HAM) reported a 70 percent increase in the number of cases of violence in Papua, most of which were allegedly committed by security officers. The Jakarta-based Legal Aid Foundation  in another report said Indonesian law enforcers routinely torture suspects and convicts to extract confessions or obtain information. The groups report found beatings, intimidation and rape are so commonplace they are considered the norm. It also found that few victims believe they have the right to lodge complaints.

West Papua suffered from a number of natural disasters in 2010 including a 7.1magnitude earthquake  that occurred of the northern coast of Papua in June,  destroying a number of  villages with loss of life on Yapen island.  In October the town of Wasior was hit by flash  floods  causing severe damage leaving over 158 people dead, 145 persons missing and thousands left homeless. There was some debate if the cause of the floods was due to deforestation in the surrounding areas or was due to  unusually heavy rainfall

Political prisoners

It is difficult to known the exact number of political prisoners who are in jail in West Papua because of the difficulty of access and restrictions on the gathering of information in the territory. In Amnesty’s  International Report for  2010, it states

“At least 114 people were detained for peacefully expressing their views. The overwhelming majority were peaceful political activists who were sentenced to terms of imprisonment for raising prohibited pro independence flags in Maluku or Papua”.

And in an  extract from Human Rights Watch World Report for 2010, in relation to West Papua.  “Indonesian authorities have responded to a longstanding, low-level armed separatist insurgency in the provinces of Papua and West Papua with a strong troop presence and often harsh and disproportionate responses to non-violent dissent or criticism. Human Rights Watch has long expressed concerns over anti-separatist sweeps by the police, which often result in individuals who peacefully express support for independence being arrested and detained on charges of treason or rebellion (makar).

West Papua -one of our nearest neighbours

West Papua is one of our nearest neighbours and the West Papuan people face great challenges including  ongoing human rights abuses, the exploitation of their natural resources with little or no benefit to themselves, the danger of becoming a minority in their own land as the result of migrants arriving daily and a  HIV/AIDS epidemic.

The Australian Government has  always been concerned about instability in the region to our north but as events in 2010 have shown, it is the Indonesian military which  are causing the instability in West Papua. The recent reports of the torture of West Papuans by the Indonesian security forces and the information from the WikiLeaks cables about US concerns at the activities of the TNI in relation to West Papua, aptly show this.

Recommendations.

The Australian West Papua Association  (Sydney)

urges the Australian Government to re- think its policy of ties with the  Indonesian military until such time that Indonesian military  personnel involved in past human rights abuses are brought to justice and the culture of the Indonesian military becomes of an  acceptable standard to both the Australian people and Australian military. In the short term we urge the Government to put a moratorium on the training, funding and any ties between  the Australian military,  Detachment 88 and the special forces unit Kopassus, until a full inquiry is held into the activities of these units in relation to human rights abuses in the archipelago.

urges the Australian Government to sent a fact finding mission to West Papua to not only investigate the human rights situation in the territory but to see how Australia can  help the West Papuan people in capacity building in the fields of health  and education. We thank the Australian Government for the funding it has already given to aid  projects in West Papua but urge more aid-funding to support health programs and medical organizations (local and international) working on the ground in West Papua and in the long term to support the training of the West Papuan people themselves as health professionals.

There are a number of Indigenous  human rights NGOs in West Papua and the Australian Government can  strengthen  the  human rights situation in West Papua by supporting these organisations  with financial aid,  capacity building and education.

We recommended that human rights defenders working in human rights organisations in West Papua be funded to attend human rights courses in Australia and the region.. There are a number of programs in Australia which can  advance human rights and empower civil society in West Papua through education, training and capacity building. These programs are suitable for individual human rights defenders and community advocates.

We also call on the Australian Government to urge the Indonesian President to release all West Papuan political prisoners as a sign of good faith to the West Papuan people.

The problems in West Papua won’t be solved by Jakarta  deploying more troops to the region or conducting more military operations. What the West Papuans are asking for is dialogue between Jakarta  and West Papuan representatives.  AWPA calls on the Australian Government to urge the Indonesian Government to dialogue with representatives of the West Papuan people to solve the issues of concern held by the West Papuan people.


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

Statement from Forkorus Yaboisembut, Chair of the Papuan Customary Council to West Papua Media Alerts by sms on 12 January 2011:

Statement from Forkorus Yaboisembut, Chair of the Papuan Customary Council to West Papua Media Alerts by sms on 12 January 2011:

“Problems of mutual suspicion between families [created as a result of reports of a plan to kill Forkorus Yaboisembut] have been resolved peacefully.

Whether the security forces are involved in plots to kill me or not remains to be seen.”

Press Release issued by the Papuan People’s Coalition for Truth (KRPBK)

Press Release issued by the Papuan People’s Coalition for Truth (KRPBK)
[Received by TAPOL on 12 January 2011]

OTSUS (Special Autonomy) is a catastrophe, which is the most appropriate
word to to describe the role f the Indonesian Republic in binding
together Papua and Jakarta with their offerings to quell the the Papuan
people’s calls for MERDEKA.

We all know that since the enactment of OTSUS, the blood of the Papuan
people has been shed more than ever before, in all corners, in the
mountains, the valleys, along the coasts and in the cities.The
aspirations of the people have been stifled by legalistic measures that
have put the rights of the people behind bars. The stigma of separatism
is being increasingly stoked up and linked to the struggling Papuan
people. The Papuan people are being marginalised in their own homeland.

We still remember 15 August 2005 when the entire people came out onto
the streets throughout the territory of the Land of Papua, calling for
OTSUS to be handed back to the Indonesian government, but the fact is
that the Indonesian government doesn’t care about this. OTSUS continues
to be imposed by force with a series of actions that are destroying the
lives of the indigenous Papuan people. One such action was the
establishment of the MRP (Majelis Rakyat Papua) which was said to be
the cultural representative of the Papuan people, but was deliberately
created as a toothless institution.

On 8 – 9 June 2010, the Papuan people held a Grand Assembly (MUBES)
which adopted eleven recommendations as their solemn and most important
agreement. We all agreed that these eleven recommendations were born
out of the desperation of the Papuan people because of the tricks by
Jakarta.

On 17 July 2010, mustering all their forces, the Papuan people came out
onto the streets to hand back OTSUS and to demand that the Indonesian
government immediately implement the eleven recommendations of MUBES.

But the government has been struck by forgetfulness. Official agencies
such as the provincial assembly (DPRP) and the governors have simply
ignored these demands. In order to safeguard their hold over the Land of
Papua, an OTSUS Evaluation Committee was set up which has been rejected
by the people. An Indonesian-style agency, the Lembaga Masyarakat Adat,
was set up as a counter-weight to the Dewan Adat Papua (Traditional
Council of Papua). A committee for the recruitment of members of the
MPR was set up under the control of the Kesbangpol (a government agency
the name of which we cannot identify) to recruit members of the MRP.
These measures were taken to safeguard the election of the governors and
deputy governors of the provinces of Papua and West Papua, bearing in
mind that it will be up to the MRP to decide who are chosen to become
the governors and deputy governors.

The recruitment of the members of the MRP , based on a special
regulation, is now in progress in various parts of the territory and
will be completed shortly.

On 10 January 2011, a ministerial meeting was held in Jakarta to set up
two MRPs and on 18 January, the recruitment of the members of the MRPs
will be finalised, their names will be made public and they will be
sworn in on 31 January 2011.

All these facts show clearly that the Indonesian government, the DPRP
and the governors of the provinces of Papua and West Papua have violated
the wishes of the Papuan people. OTSUS, the offering made by Jakarta to
the Papuan people, has been rejected by the Papuan people who demand
that their political status should be established as a sovereign nation
and state.There can be no compromise this for would only lead the
Papuan people to many long years of suffering in their own homeland.

As the people of this homeland, what more can we do to continue with our
resistance? The only word is RESIST!

The Papuan People’s Coalition for Truth (KRPBK) demand the following:

1. That the establishment of the second MRP should be halted because
this does not conform with the wishes of the Papuan people who have
already rejected OTSUS.

2. To call on donor countries to immediately end their contributions to
OTSUS funds via the Indonesian government because OTSUS has failed.

3. The DPRP should immediately convene a plenary session to decide on
its response to the eleven recommendations made public by MUBES on 8 – 9
June 2010.

4. That the Lembaga Masyarakant Adat created by the government should be
dissolved because it does not represent the indigenous peoples in the
seven traditional regions of the Land of Papua.

5. That the Papuan conflict should be resolved immediately by granting
the Papuan people the right to self-determination.

The eight components of the KRPBK are:

Osama Usman Yogobi. KRPBK

Musye Weror, Students Council of UNCEN

Marthen Agapa, Coordinator of Parjal

Jack Wanggai, National Authority of West Papua

Simon Alua, chairmaan of AMPTPI.

Petrus Rumbiak, Papuan Youth

Alius Asao, SHDRP

Selpius Bobii,chairman of the Pepera Front

DAP leader rejects police moves to question him

Bintang Papua, 11 January 2011

Forkorus Yaboisembut, the chairman of the Papuan Indigenous Council, DAP
has reported that two members of the police force came to visit him at
2pm the previous day, saying that they wanted to take him to Jayapura
police headquarters to question him about a case of bribery in
connection with attempts to kill him some time ago.

Speaking by phone to Bintang Papua, Forkorus said that he was confused
by the police officers’ visit because, according to him, the case they
wished to discuss had been resolved in a collegial fashion within the
kampung. He said that there had been some misunderstandings between
himself and some of his grandchildren but the matter had been resolved
peacefully in November 2010. If the police now intend to investigate the
matter, this would be quite wrong because the matter had already been
resolved within the family.

‘There is no need for the police to investigate the matter,’ said
Forkorus, ‘because I have already told the media that the matter has
been resolved.’ He said that the money involved had already been
returned to its rightful owners within the family. The incident had
occurred when one of his grandchildren, under the influence of drink,
had made threatening remarks against him.

The local chief of police has denied that they had made any attempt to
take Forkorus in for questioning.

Selection of MRP members should stop, say church leaders

Abridged in translation by TAPOL

Bintang Papua,11 January 2011

Given the growing concern about the implementation of Special Autonomy
(OTSUS) as reflected in the decisions of the Grand Assembly of the MRP
and the Papuan Indigenous People held on 9-10 June 2010, several church
leaders have called on the Indonesian president, the governors of the
provinces of Papua and West Papua and the chairmen of the provincial
legislative assemblies to halt the process of selecting members of the
MRP (Majelis Rakyat Papua – Papuan People’s Assembly) until such time as
there are clear answers to the eleven recommendations that were
submitted to the provincial assembly (DPRP) on 18 June 2010, according
to a joint communique by the churches The signatories include the head
of the Evangelical Church, the GKI, Rev. Jemima Krey, the head of the
Kingmi church, Rev. Benny Giay, Rev. Socrates Yoman and the head of the
Pentacostal Church, Rev. Tonny Infandi.

The assembly held in June 2010 which was facilitated by the MRP was an
official forum representing the voice of the Papuan people, well within
the framework of the rule of law in Indonesia. On that occasion, the
Papuan people clearly expressed the view that the OTSUS Law 21/2001 had
failed to result in any improvements in the living conditions of the
Papuan people which is why the Papuan people had returned the law to
Jakarta.

The handing back of the law to the two provincial assemblies occurred in
Jayapura and Manokwari on 18 June 2010, when a deadline of one month was
set for members of the asemblies to hold plenary sessions to respond to
the people’s aspirations, but since that time, neither of the assemblies
had adopted any measures to respond to these demands.

The impression is that the the central government as well as the
provincial assemblies are not in any way interested in taking any
action to improve the implementation of OTSUS, which is in direct
contradiction with the wishes of the Papuan people.

The situation has been further aggravated by current moves to set up a
new MRP, a body that has now been rejected by the Papuan people.

There is even the impression that the central government via the
intermediary of the United Agency of the Papuan Provinces, is about to
create a ‘puppet MRP’ within the framework of the OTSUS law that will be
incapable of granting protection and upholding the basis rights of the
indigenous Papuan people.

Church leaders regard the creation of such an MRP as being in serious
violation of the dignity of the Papuan people. The church leaders
therefore state the following:

Firstly, we respect the aspirations of the indigenous Papuan people as
declared in the decisions of the Grand Assembly on 9 -10 June 2010, that
OTSUS has failed and has been returned to the central government.

Secondly, that the central government and the provincial assemblies
should immediately stop all moves to select members of the MRP until
such time as there are concrete responses to the results of the Grand
Assembly that were made public on 16 June 2010.

Thirdly, we call upon the governors of the Papuan provinces to stop
ignoring the aspirations of the Papuan people and to sit down with the
people to hold comprehensive talks about Papuan aspirations in rejection
of OTSUS, democratically and in a spirit of justice.

Fourthly, we call on the central government to enter in dialogue with
the Papuan people so as to bring to an end the protracted legal and
political uncertainty which has brought despair to the Papuan people
who we lead in this Land of Papua.

Fifthly, we reject all attempts or formulations that spread confusion
about the demand for dialogue between the Papuan people and the
government of Indonesia which has for many years been expressed by the
Papuan people.

Sixthly, we urge the Indonesian government to stop all forms of
intimidation and terror and other repressive measures that are aimed at
stifling critical opinions from our community regarding development
that is now under way in the Land of Papua which has failed to respect
the interests of the common people.