FYI Open letter to Vice -President Boediono ( who is visiting Australia) concerning human rights and political prisoners in West Papua

Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)
PO Box 28, Spit Junction, Sydney, Australia 2088
Ph/fax 61.2.99601698 email:

Open letter to Vice -President Boediono

Vice -President Boediono,
C/- Indonesian Consulate
Perth , Western Australia

9 March 2011

Dear Vice -President Boediono,

On behalf of the Australia West Papua Association (Sydney), I am writing to you concerning the human rights situation in West Papua[1].

We are concerned that the human rights situation in West Papua has continued to deteriorate in the past year. 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.

A number of military operation also took place in the Puncak Jaya region in the past year and these operations leave the local people traumatised and in fear for their lives. Security forces conduct regular sweeps in the area to pursue members of the Free Papua Movement (OPM) and many reports have pointed out that the security forces have great difficulty distinguishing between what they term separatists and the general public. 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. In September 2010 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.

AWPA is also concerned about the large number of political prisoners in West Papua, the majority jailed merely because the were involved in peaceful demonstrations where their national flag, the Morning Star was raised.

In July 2007, Indonesia’s Constitutional Court declared unconstitutional articles 154 and 155 of Indonesia’s Criminal Code, commonly known as the “hate sowing” (Haatzai Artikelen) offenses. Articles 154 and 155 criminalized “public expression of feelings of hostility, hatred or contempt toward the government” and prohibited “the expression of such feelings or views through the public media.” These articles have been used to target activists, students, and human rights defenders to try and silence political discussion and limit free expression in Indonesia.

A series of articles from 1999 to 2002 refer to the Human Rights Bill of 1999 . The law concerning protection of human rights of political prisoners is referred to in Article 4 of Law 39 in the Indonesian Constitution in 1999. In that same Law 39 in Article 6 , paras 1 and 2 particular mention is made of protection of rights of Indigenous people, including land rights.

Republic of Indonesia legislation number 39 of 1999 concerning human rights
Article 4
The right to life, the right to not to be tortured, the right to freedom of the individual, to freedom of thought and conscience, the right not to be enslaved, the right to be acknowledged as an individual before the law, and the right not to be prosecuted retroactively under the law are human rights that cannot be diminished under any circumstances whatsoever.
Article 6
(1) In the interests of upholding human rights, the differences and needs of indigenous peoples must be taken into consideration and protected by the law, the public and the Government.
(2) The cultural identity of indigenous peoples, including indigenous land rights, must be upheld, in accordance with the development of the times.

AWPA urges the Indonesian Government to release all West Papuan political prisoners imprisoned under these laws (contrary to Indonesia’s constitution) as a sign of good faith to the West Papuan people.

Yours sincerely

Joe Collins
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

Demonstration rejects MRP and criticises GKI Synod

JUBI, 8 March 2011

Several hundred people took part in a demonstration outside the offices of the governor of Papua and the Papua provincial legislative assembly office criticising the position taken by one of the chairmen of the Synod of the GKI church in Papua, the Rev. Yemina Krey, STh.

The demonstrators said that the Rev. Yemina had previously expressed
her rejection of the election of a second-term MRP along with other
denominations, yet she had now signed a recommendation put out by
several church leaders.

Her views were highlighted in a poster carried by some of the
demonstrators accusing her of now doing something that was deceitful for the Papuan people.

The poster accused her of selling out the indigenous Papuan people.

Other banners carried by the demonstrators bore slogans that are
frequently seen and heard in Papua: Special Autonomy is a Total Failure; the Papuan People’s Right to Life under Threat; Halt the Election and Swearing in of the MRP as a puppet of Jakarta; and Jakarta must Speedily Respond to the 11 Recommendations adopted by the MRP and Papuan People’s Representatives in June 2010.

The calls rejecting special autonomy and rejecting the new MRP came from a number of local groups taking part in the demonstration, among others: Parjal, the Street Parliament; the West Papua National Committee, KNPB, Political Prisoners of Papua – tapol-napol; and Front Pepera PB, and the West Papuan People’s Front for Self-Determination.

The demonstrators first gathered outside the office of the governor of
Papua where they presented their aspirations. From there they went to the office of the Papuan provincial legislative assembly later in the
afternoon for the same purpose.

Comprehending West Papua: A report on the CPACS conference in Sydney and surrounding events

University of Sydney Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies

Comprehending Papua Conference

February 22-23, 2011

Comprehending West Papua: A report on the CPACS conference in Sydney and surrounding events


“We are Melanesian, not Indonesian!” and “Free Filip Karma!” chanted a group of West Papuans from around Australia – some refugees, some studying in Australia on scholarships – who had gathered in front of the Indonesian embassy in Maroubra, Sydney, on February 22, 2011. This demonstration urging Indonesia to free West Papuan political prisoners kicked off a week of events in Sydney bringing together academics and other advocates to focus on the status of West Papuan human rights.


Later that evening, a cocktail reception hosted by the West Papua Project at the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (CPACS), University of Sydney, followed by a dinner for conference participants, marked a merry beginning to a serious conference on Comprehending West Papua (February 23-4), the sixth in a series of conferences on the topic held by CPACS over a decade.


The conference was opened the following day by Emeritus Professor Stuart Rees and a performance group from the West Papuan community in Melbourne, both of whom graced the conference, respectively, with West Papua-centred revolutionary poetry and songs of inspiration. Up to 80 people attended the conference which convened at International House, with presenters from overseas (The Netherlands, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand and Vanuatu), and interstate (Victoria and the ACT). Papers from in absentia participants (Paul Barber and Rosa Moiwend from TAPOL based in Surrey, John Saltford from London and Jim Elmslie from South Australia) were presented on their behalf, and Eben Kirksey, currently based in Florida, addressed the conference via video link.


The conference received good media coverage prompting an op ed in the Sydney Morning Herald by Hamish McDonald (; several ABC radio interviews; a New Matilda article (, and coverage by Radio New Zealand International and SBS.


Paper highlights covered new interpretations of self-determination, from Akihisa Matsuno, in light of the concept of legitimate sovereignty (rather than decolonization) that guided the independence successes of East Timor, Kosovo and (soon to be) South Sudan; a presentation by Nick Chesterfield on the opportunities afforded for West Papua by new social media currently carrying revolutions in the Arab world; a spectacular analysis of the Australian Museum’s Sentani bark cloth art production by Yvonne Carrillo-Huffman; the outlaying of precise political goals for achieving independence and for post-independence governance by Jacob Rumbiak; and an astute reappraisal of the anti-Act of Free Choice campaigns that took place in West Papua in the 1960s by Dutch historian Pieter Drooglever. The entire collection of papers will be gathered into a book to be published later this year.


West Papuan political positions were represented by Rex Rumakiek and Otto Ondawame from the West Papua National Coalition for Liberation, Jacob Rumbiak and Herman Wainggai from the West Papua National Authority, and Franzalbert Joku and Nick Messet from IGSSARPRI (the Independent Group Supporting the Special Autonomous Region of Papua Within the Republic of Indonesia). Passions ran high as discussions on the different political positions (essentially support for independence or integration) predictably emerged with so much at stake for all, but a respectful atmosphere reigned and peaceful dialogue between parties transpired.

The conference closed with the launch of a beautiful short film titled Mambefor Dance directed by West Papuan Melanie Kapisa, showcasing two young children learning West Papuan dance from imitating bird of paradise rituals. Dr Jude Philp from the Macleay Museum also generously showed conference participants around the University of Sydney’s West Papua collection donated in the 1970s and housed at Fisher Library. Finally, conference participants signed an open letter initiated by Human Rights Watch to Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, requesting that the prohibitive restrictions on access to West Papua be lifted for researchers, NGOs and foreign media.

That evening at the Amnesty International offices in Sydney, Indonesian Solidarity launched a campaign to free West Papuan political prisoners. The launch was addressed by Human Rights Watch’s Andreas Harsono with a powerful presentation documenting Filip Karma’s imprisonment, and John Dowd, QC, President of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) Australia. The week closed on Saturday 26 February with the annual national meeting of the Australia West Papua Association at which campaign decisions to support West Papuan self-determination for 2011-2012 were decided upon, together with West Papuan advisers (and members) Rex Rumakiek, Jacob Rumbiak, and Otto Ondawame.


Cammi Webb-Gannon camelliabell at;

Socrates Yoman rejects govt’s move to set UP4B

JUBI, 7 March 2011

The Papuan leader, Socratez Sofyan Yoman, the leader of the Alliance of Baptist churches in Papua, is reported to have expressed his lack of
confidence in a new unit that is to be created by the government to
resolve a range of problems in Papua.

The UP4B – Unit Percepatan Pembangunan Papua dan Papua Barat (Unit to Accelerate Development in Papua and West Papua), is to be set up by the government to handle a number of political problems as well as the human rights situation in Papua.

‘We reject the UP4B because it will not solve the problems in Papua,’ he said. ‘The central government should hold a dialogue with the Papuan people, mediated by a neutral international party.’

He said that the UP4B was no different from other mechanisms that have been created by Indonesia to deal with the situation in Papua, all of which have failed. This new body is not the way to solve to the
situation in Papua and can only make things worse, he said

The problems in Papua can only be resolved by seeking to understand the roots of the problem.

‘There should be no more moves by the Indonesian State to deceive the Papuan people. The government should immediately take concrete action to deal with the roots of the conflict,’ he said.

He said that he was aware that the Indonesian government was at present working with several agencies to make preparations for the creation of the UP4B which is expected to be set up in the month of March.

Students want firmer action by Komnas HAM in Papua

UBI, 7 March 2011

The Student Executive Board of the Cenderawasih University Law Faculty has called on the Papuan branch of Komnas HAM, the National Human Rights Commission, to take firmer action regarding a number of human rights violations in Papua.

Chairman of the Board, Thomas CH Syufi, said that they felt that the
Commission had not done enough to handle the cases and hoped that Komnas HAM would investigate a number of cases of violation. He mentioned in particular the murder of Theys Hiyo Eluay, chairman of the PDP, who was murdered in November, 2001. The case is still unsolved to this day.

Komnas HAM was also urged to collect more accurate data about a number of human rights violations in Papua because in many of these cases, the data is far from accurate.

He said that collecting data and documentation was very important
because of the need to anticipate the failure of the State to handle the cases, in order to prepare for the possibility of submitting the cases to the International Court or the UN Security Council.

He stressed the need for Komnas HAM to take firm action to investigate every human rights violation that occurs in Papua.

[COMMENT: Komnas HAM only has powers to investigate human rights
violations. The cases can only be taken further by the Attorney-General’s office.]

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