Monthly Archives: April 2011

Food Crisis after Papua Floods


Banjir Ambarita | April 17, 2011

Jayapura. Thousands of people are at risk of starvation and disease after heavy flooding in Papua’s Paniai district, an official said over the weekend.

District head Naftali Yogi said heavy rains over the past three months have led to Lake Paniai overflowing and flooding at least seven subdistricts in up to 4 meters of water, destroying homes and farmland and rendering thousands of families homeless.

There have been no reports of casualties as a direct result of the flooding.

“The situation now is pretty grim because so much agricultural land and so many fish farms have been flooded and can’t be harvested,” he said.

“This means that around 10,000 people who are subsistence farmers and rely on prompt harvests are at risk of starvation.”

Naftali said the extent of the flooding also made outbreaks of diseases such as cholera, respiratory ailments and malaria more likely.

“We don’t have enough medical supplies or health workers to respond to a potential outbreak,” he said.

“So we’re calling on all residents not to drink water from the lake. Drink rainwater instead.”

He added his administration was already distributing food supplies to residents, including uncooked rice and instant noodles — both of which need to be cooked in clean water. However, authorities have not distributed any potable water.

“We’ve been given Rp 1 billion [$115,000] in relief aid from the provincial administration and Rp 500 million from Jakarta, but that’s only enough for a month,” Naftali said.

“We expect many residents won’t be able to farm for another two years, so they’ll need food aid until then.”

Authorities have not set up shelters for the evacuees, who have been forced to stay with family and friends or out in the open.

“We’re still looking for sites where we can set up temporary shelters for those rendered homeless,” Naftali said.

He blamed the flooding on the increased sedimentation in Lake Paniai, which he said was a result of the clearing of forests in areas adjacent to the lake.

“About 10 years ago the military scorched the forests because they suspected that separatists were hiding out there, and since then there hasn’t been any effort to reforest the area,” he said.

Besides the effects of deforestation and subsequent flooding, Naftali said the district was also at threat from illegal mining.

He said illegal gold mines in Baya Biru subdistrict were responsible for large-scale pollution and environmental degradation.

“We’ve given the companies responsible until June to halt their activities, but obviously this is a tricky issue to handle,” Naftali said.

“There are an estimated 7,000 people working in the industry there.”

He said previous calls by the district and Papuan administrations for a halt to the illegal mining had fallen on deaf ears because of the many interests involved in the industry.

“Those mines are so remote that you can only get there by helicopter,” he said.

“If those helicopter services could be stopped, there would be no more mining, but they continue to transport workers, supplies and ore in and out of there.”

More Mysterious Killings near Nabire

Jubi — After shootings and sweeps by rogue police officers and personnel of the Indonesian National Army (TNI) a few days ago in Dogiyai, families and residents currently in Dogiyai are again surprised by the discovery of two bodies of known identity.

The two bodies found were from Kampung Pouwouda, named Kris Pigome and Mark Goo, the children of the Tuwaida Village Head, Southern District of You, Dogiyai District. They were both found dead last night (15 / 4) in the path of the Trans Nabire – Ilaga road, 38 kilometers Nabire.

This incident was known by the family. “It happened last night. They both have advised us not to leave the house or do not make the trip to Dogiyai. But they are two stone heads. Those two seem to travel to return home. But they were killed in the middle of the journey toward Dogiyai,” said Vincent Goo, a family member who contacted JUBI, Saturday (16 / 4).

Until now the cause of death is a mystery for both victims. “We were from the hospital Siriwini (Nabire). We do not know why and who to kill? But clearly they were both killed, “said Vincent. Until this story was written two bodies will preach from the bottom to the family’s funeral home in the city of Nabire. (Wells)

Central Highlands parliamentary group reject new MRP

Bintang Papua, 11 April 2011The swearing of the new MRP by the minister of the interior has been rejected by the parliamentary caucus of the Central Highlands, following the death on 7 April of Agus Alue Alua, who was the chairman of the MRP from 2005 – 2011.

Swearing in the new MRP could lead  major problems  and should be considered very carefully before going ahead, said Melkyas Gombo.

He said that the names of all the members should be made public. Papuan people knew all about the problems facing the MRP as a body concerned with  cultural affairs, so it is quite wrong to keep anything hidden from them.

‘We believe that the government is involved in some kind of  a game, and is keeping hidden the swearing in. The names of all the members should be made public,’ he said.

He said that if the government was not prepared to announce the names of all the members, then the swearing in ceremony should not take place, because they may  include people who were not chosen by the Papuan people  and would be seen by the Papuan people as people who were not likely to  speak out on behalf of the Papuan people.

He also said that the Papuan people were still in mourning the death of Agus Alua and it was not the right time for the new MRP to be sworn in.

MRP member Hanna Hikoyabi given 14 days to clarify her political position

Bintang Papua, 14 April 2011Abridged in translation by TAPOL

Hanna Hikoyabi is given 14 days  to clarify her political position of rejecting OTSUS

There were two persons whose swearing in as members of the new MRP did not take place, when the Indonesian interior minister Gamawan Fauzi swore in the members of the new MRP on 12 April. Of the 75 members, only 73 were sworn in.

One was Agus Alue Alua whose death was announced some days ago. The other was Hanna Salomina Hikoyabi. With regard to Ms Hikoyabi, she has been told by the interior minister that she must provide a ‘clarification’ within fourteen days before her membership of the MRP can be accepted. If she fails to provide this, another woman will take her seat in the MRP.

Didi Agus who is the acting head of the Unified Nation of the People of the Province of Papua refused to explain what conditions she would have to comply with nor why her swearing in was being delayed. But in an indirect fashion, he implied that it was connected with widespread actions rejecting special autonomy which took place during the run up to  the appointment of members of the new MRP in the early months of 2011.

Besides calling for the ‘return’ of OTSUS, they  also called for a dialogue between the Papuan people and Indonesia, mediated by a third party. These demands were drawn up at a mass assembly of Papuans that took place from 7 – 10 June 2010, which was held at the offices of the MRP. According to Didi, this could not be seen s a decision of the MRP and not all members were being held responsible for the decisions.

In a previous meeting that took place recently  between the minister of the interior and the governor of Papua in Jakarta,  it was stated that some candidates for the new MRP had constantly been talking about the ‘disintegration’  of the nation, whereas according to presidential regulation (PP) 54, 2004,  members of the MRP  must be loyal to the  Pancasila and to the Indonesian Constitution as a Unitary State.

If these problems were being raised, it would not only be Hanna Hikoyabi whose membership should be considered but others too who  also took part in the June 2010 meeting.

Amnesty: Authorities must investigate unnecessary and excessive use of firearms by security forces in Papua


AI Index: ASA 21/010/2011
15 April 2011

The Indonesian authorities must ensure a prompt, impartial and effective investigation into the unnecessary and excessive use of firearms by security forces that led to the deaths of at least two Papuans and injuries to three others.

According to credible sources, on the morning of 13 April 2011 police officers from the Moanemani sub-district police (Polsek) raided a gambling operation at the Moanemani Market Complex in Dogiyai district in Papua province, seizing money belonging to Dominokus Auwe, aged 27. Later that morning when Dominokus Auwe visited the Moanemani sub-district police station to ask about his money, the police reportedly shot him in the chest and head, killing him in front of the station. Police continued shooting and injured two other men who had followed Dominokus Auwe. Albertus Pigai, aged 25, was shot in the ribs, while Vince Yobe, aged 23, was shot in the chest. Another man in the vicinity, Matias Iyai, aged 27, was also shot in the leg and foot.

In reaction to the shootings, at about 2pm, local Papuans in the area burnt down the Moanemani sub-district police station and the police barracks. They also attacked and injured a number of police officers.

In response, police Mobile Brigade (Brimob) and military units were mobilized from Nabire and other districts to Moanemani sub-district to conduct joint operations in the area from 13 to 15 April 2011. Alwisius Waine, aged 25, was reportedly shot during these operations. His body was found on the road near Ikebo village, Moanemani sub-district in the early morning of 14 April 2011, with a bullet wound in his chest. During the operations at least five houses were burnt down, reportedly by security forces. Many villagers have fled into the jungle.

Amnesty International acknowledges the difficulties faced by security forces in Indonesia, especially when confronted with violence. However, the power to use force is restricted by relevant international human rights law and standards, the basis of which is the right to life. This right is provided for in Article 4 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Indonesia is a state party, and in the Indonesian Constitution.

The UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms state that law enforcement officials must apply non-violent means before resorting to the use of force and firearms. Intentional lethal use of firearms may only be used when strictly unavoidable in order to protect life.

Further, the 2009 Indonesian Police Regulation on the Use of Force highlights the need to respect the principles of legality, necessity and proportionality when using force, and provides a framework for police accountability when using force.

If the investigations find that there was unnecessary or excessive use of firearms by the security forces, then those responsible, including persons with command responsibility, should be prosecuted in proceedings which meet international standards of fairness, and victims provided with reparations.

In June 2009 Amnesty International published a major report, Unfinished Business: Police Accountability in Indonesia (Index: ASA 21/013/2009). The report highlighted the current weaknesses in existing internal and external police accountability systems, which contribute to the impunity of the Indonesian police.

In November 2009, Amnesty International and Indonesian NGO KontraS (The Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence) sent a letter to the Police Chief of Papua on unchecked abuses in Nabire district, including excessive use of force, torture and other ill-treatment, and unlawful killings (Index: ASA 21/024/2009). To Amnesty International’s knowledge, there have been no investigations into the cases raised in the letter.

This incident once again highlights the need for the establishment of an external police oversight mechanism that is operationally independent from the government, political influence and the police itself. Its mandate should empower it to receive complaints; carry out effective investigations; and refer cases to the Public Prosecutor or to the police internal disciplinary body. Existing bodies such as the National Police Commission and the National Human Rights Commission are largely inadequate to deal effectively with public complaints about ongoing police abuses, and bring justice and reparations to the victims.

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