Monthly Archives: May 2011

West Papua — Violence against indigenous women

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AHRC-FAT-021-2011
May 20, 2011

An article from Fien Jarangga & Galuh Wandita, Cultural Survival – Spring 2011 forwarded by the Asian Human Rights Commission

INDONESIA: West Papua — Violence against indigenous women

Fien Jarangga coordinates the Papuan Women’s Human Rights Network, a newly formed network of Indigenous human rights workers from Papua, Indonesia.
Galuh Wandita is a senior associate at the International Center for Transitional Justice.

Papuan women have been suffering terrible violence both outside and inside their homes for the past 40 years, and for most of that time, they’ve suffered in silence. But now a group of women has launched their own truth commission to give support to the victims and to pressure the government to change its behavior.

Papua (the western half of the island of New Guinea) has long been in a state of upheaval. When Indonesia declared independence from the Netherlands in 1945 and achieved international recognition in 1949, Papua remained under Dutch rule. Indonesia contested this situation, and in 1962 the territory’s administration was transferred to the United Nations. Part of that agreement called for an “act of free choice”—a territory-wide vote in which citizens could choose independence or becoming part of Indonesia. The vote was supposed to be universal, but in practice an Indonesian general choose 1,025 men to act as representatives of the whole population, and those representatives voted unanimously for the territory to be absorbed by Indonesia. Some Papuans claim that the process was flawed because it did not follow the one-person-one-vote model and was conducted in a context of on-going military operations, and there has been a low-level resistance movement operating in Papua ever since.

The Indonesian military and police forces, ostensibly acting against these rebels, has committed a wide range of human rights abuses, including murder, rape, torture, and kidnapping, often in secret and rarely with any consequences.

That behavior came to particular public attention in October 2010, with the circulation of a YouTube video showing three Indonesian soldiers torturing two Papuan men. The soldiers were tried by a military court, which sentenced them to less than a year in prison for “not following orders” (the Indonesian military code does not recognize torture as a punishable offense).

Indonesian military presence remains strong in Papua, and the number of Indonesian settlers from other islands is quickly outgrowing the number of indigenous Papuans. Papua was granted “special autonomy” status in 2001, with legislation to establish a human rights court and a truth and reconciliation commission “to clarify the history” of Papua. To date, none of these provisions for justice have been established, while atrocities committed against the Indigenous Peoples continue.

So, more than a year ago, a group of Indigenous Papuan women gathered to talk about the violence that we have experienced. We wanted to look back to the past, because we knew that there needs to be a reckoning, a way to listen to Indigenous women who experienced violence since the time of conflict started more than 40 years ago. We wanted to write down, for the first time, women’ s stories of rape and abuse that took place during military campaigns in Papua. We also wanted to listen to stories of Indigenous women beaten by their husbands, because we know that the violence in our private lives is also connected to the violence that took place during times of political conflict.

In May 2009, 19 Indigenous women and 3 men from 11 organizations across Papua met for 4 days to discuss how we could we begin to collect some of these stories. With support from the National Women’s Commission and assistance from the International Center for Transitional Justice, we developed some forms and came up with a plan to find these women, convince them to tell their story, and write those stories down. Working for more than a year, we were able to collect stories from 261 Indigenous women survivors of violence.

The team worked for more than six months interviewing victims and witnesses, as well as conducting group interviews while making maps and timelines together, to jog each other’s memories. Interviews were analyzed and discussed together by the team, and a report and recommendations were drafted and discussed in workshops held in Jayapura. This participatory approach was used to ensure transfer of knowledge and skills to Indigenous Papuan women involved in this effort.

These are some of the stories we collected:

1967, military operations were conducted in the town of Biak and began to move to the villages. In 1969 went home to Swaipak, Biak staying there during the Sadar operations. The Yospan became a threat to parents, because they had to let their young daughters ; in fact, some parents pressured their daughters to go to the Yospan rather than be targeted with physical violence or threatened… In the middle of the night the people were woken up… the young girls were made to dance Yospan then have sexual relations. The troops said to the parents and husbands, ‘You must understand.’

During a dance party organized by the troops in Jayapura district, around 1989, a fight broke out between some community members. Some soldiers intervened:

The soldiers brought my sister in law and told her to swallow a battery, until she was coughing. They wouldn’t allow us to bring her to the hospital . . . . The next day, they brought me and to their post . . . . They opened our clothes, and told us to stand in water for hours . . . . Then they made us sleep on the beach for about one hour. We were given no food; we were very hungry. Then they forced to rape me. After that they made us walk to the post naked; at the post a picture was taken of us.

But we also heard stories of violence in the home:

Fighting in families in my neighborhood usually happens after our husbands consume alcohol . . .CT (a local brand) . . . . When we wives are beaten to almost half dead by our drunken husbands, the crazed husbands don’t get arrested or taken away. Maybe this is also because other than some people who sell CT, there are also policemen who sell and consume (alcohol). So how will the police take care of security?

And how Indigenous women are susceptible to HIV/AIDS:

I was married when I was 14 years old. When I was in elementary school, in fifth grade, I was forced by my family to enter a traditional marriage with a chief who already had three wives. I tried to resist; I wanted to go to school like my other friends. But the chief kept pressuring my family, so I had no choice . . . . After a year, the chief brought a new wife from the town and told us this is the fifth wife. Since the fifth wife arrived, our family started getting sick . with my husband, who died, then wife number five, then three, then second, and first. They all died in one year… After being examined (at the hospital), I was infected by HIV/AIDS. This is a new illness for us. We were told to take ARV medication regularly.

Finally, on April 19, 2010 we produced a 90-page report called “Enough Already” on violence against women that took place during 1963-2009. We presented this report to the Papuan Indigenous People’s Council, an official body established by the Special Autonomy law for Papua to protect Indigenous People’s rights, and to the National Women’s Commission. The Special Autonomy law was passed in 2001, and it includes the establishment of a truth commission and a court to try human rights violations. But until now, none of these has been established. Many other parts of the Special Autonomy law have also not been implemented.

Main Findings and Recommendations
Our report documents more than 135 cases of state violence against women and 113 cases of violence in the family, using as our guide the definitions in the UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women. As mentioned above, we purposefully looked at both state and domestic violence to reflect what we have experienced in our lives. Indigenous women experience violence in the context of the political conflict in Papua, where we are displaced during military action, often becoming victims of rape, abuse, and other human rights violations. At the same time, Indigenous women are reporting high rates of domestic violence perpetrated by their husbands or partners, while receiving little protection from police or state agencies. Ironically, the influx of funds as part of the special autonomy package granted to Papua since 2001 seems to have increased the level of alcohol consumption, unprotected sex, and incidents of domestic violence. Similarly, special autonomy has not become a deterrent to human rights violations. Cases of rape by the military have continued to take place after reformation (1998) and special autonomy (2001). In fact, we found cases where women victims of human rights violations later become victims of domestic violence due to the stigma they experience as victims.

The crimes by the military and police that we documented included killings and disappearances (8 cases), attempted killings and shootings (5), illegal detention (18), assault (21), torture (9), sexual torture (6), rape (52), attempted rape (2), sexual slavery (5), sexual exploitation (9), forced contraception or abortion (4), and displacement (24). And those were just among the women who gave testimony.

Looking at the stories we collected, we made some findings regarding the conditions that perpetuate and contribute to violence against Indigenous women in Papua:

1. The central government maintains a security approach that overuses violence, with impunity for perpetrators of human rights violations, including gender-based violations.
2. There is discrimination against women in the Papuan Indigenous culture which leads to a tolerance towards violence against women.
3. The continued conflict (over natural resources, the political situation, and local-to-national-level struggle for power) has created a context that leads to an increase in incidents of violence against women, both in the public and private realms.
4. There is a lack of response and political will from the government to find a peaceful solution to the conflict in general, and specifically to the problem of violence against women.
5. Indigenous Papuan women experience layers of trauma and disempowerment without access to any interventions, causing a cycle of victimization.

We made recommendations to the Indonesian central government, calling for accountability, including acknowledgment of the truth regarding human rights violations; establishment of a truth commission and human rights court for Papua, as required under the Special Autonomy law; and the political commitment to enter into a peaceful dialogue with Papuan stakeholders.

Reform recommendations, including vetting and trials for those who committed crimes, were made to Indonesia’s armed forces. We also made recommendations to the Papuan local government, legislative body, and the Papuan Indigenous People’s Council to take concrete steps to eradicate violence against women, including developing a comprehensive approach to prevent and respond to domestic violence, and a local mechanism based on law for the rehabilitation of victims.

We handed over the report in a simple ceremony at the Papuan Indigenous People’s Council building in Abepura, where council officials, members of our team, commissioners and staff from the Women’s Commission, representatives of victims interviewed for the report, and other civil society members gathered to witness the handing over of the report. The chair of the council’s Working Group on Religion set the tone of the event when he led the opening prayer by articulating the need for acknowledgment. “We pray for those who have been tortured; we pray that God gives us strength and hope that there will be improvement in our lives. We also pray for those who committed this violence, so that they see themselves for what they have done.” The head of the council praised members of the documentation team as representing “the women of Papua who have won this first battle.” He acknowledged that one of the most difficult challenges is changing their own culture “so that cultural violence can be addressed and acknowledged.” He underlined the need for the elimination of violence, “even when our people say that this is normal.” “We now have to start the second battle,” he said.

A musical group and local choir sang songs that brought tears to all of us attending the ceremony, expressing the deep emotions in the struggle against oppression and racism of the Papuan people. Excerpts from some of the lyrics:

Black is my skin, curly is my hair, I am Papua…
Even when the sky falls down, we are Papua

Small Bits of Truth: Follow-up Activities
The work that we did is an example of how Indigenous groups are beginning to use human rights tools to recover and acknowledge the truth about past violations. In a context of impunity, where the debate about the need for a truth commission may or may not lead to the establishment of one, we are trying to make our voices heard. So far, what Indigenous women have experienced has not been acknowledged by the government. So we are at least acknowledging this ourselves.

Since we finished the report, we have formed a network for further work. We plan to work on how to help the women victims’ take positive steps to healing, while also pressuring the government to recognize their stories, and commit to stopping the violence.

Numerous problems in Papua since OTSUS was enacted

JUBI. 15 May 2011Since the enactment of OTSUS, the special autonomy law for Papua, a pile of problems have hit Papua. There has been no decline in the number of problems; on the contrary, they have steadily increased.Many buildings have been constructed that are of no benefit to the indigenous population. Take for instance the construction of commercial premises and the fate of Papuan businesspeople. ‘These buildings are for other people,’ said Olga Helena Hamadi, Director of the Commission for Disappearances and the Victims of violence, KontraS, on Saturday.

As for the demands for permanent business premises for Papuan businessmen, they are still struggling for this to happen. Their future is still very much in the air. The kind of premises they have been calling for have not been built by the government. The premises that have been built do not last long even though they have been calling for this since 2004., she said.

OTSUS makes provision for a Commission of Truth and Reconciliation to be set up but all that has happened since OTSUS has been the creation of a National Human Rights Commission which means that human rights violations, acts of violence and shootings are only dealt with by the Komnas HAM. The result is that many cases have got stuck, some of which got no farther than a court hearing. There has been no follow-up.

Furthermore, there has been no proper accounting for OTSUS funds. No procedures are in place to control the use of these funds. There is no accountability because no procedures have been put in place.

She said that all these things point to the failure of OTSUS, which has failed because no procedures have been put in place.

She said that she was making these clarifications because  of a previous news report  that OTSUS had not failed.. ‘We dont agree that OTSUS has not been a failure, because since the enactment of OSUS, a number of problems have emerged.’

Translated by TAPOL

Papuan killed by six members of the security forces + Images

JUBI, 16 May 2011

According to information from the Justice and Peace Secretariat of the Kingmi Church, Papua, a man called Derek Adii who had just completed his application for appointment as a civil servant in the sub-district of Deiyai, was maltreated by six members of the armed forces in the Nabire port area on Saturday 14 May.

He was beaten and stabbed and died as a result.

According to the SKP report, the victim was attacked as he was boarding the ship, KM Labobar, when a neighbour of the victim from Manokwari pulled out a bayonet and struck the victim in the forehead, and then went on to throw his body into the sea.

‘Six people were involved in the attack, all members of the Indonesian army, and after stabbing him, they threw his body into the sea,’ said Yones Douw, SKP co-ordinator  of SKP in Nabire.

The incident started when the 26-year old man asked members of the army at the Nabire port to help organise the passengers as they were boarding the KM Labobar. In response to the request, the victim was subjected to maltreatment; he was stabbed with bayonets and died on the spot.

Several people nearby, angered by the attack, started to protest but they were dispersed by the security forces.

The brother of the victim, Martinus Adii, who lives in Amban, Manokwari was shocked when he heard of the death of his brother and demanded information about the killing of his brother. ‘What wrong did my brother do that led to his being killed? Are you human beings or not?  Why were his words responded to by an act of violence?’

Martinus said that members of the family were planning to return to Manokwari after gathering together the victims application papers to become a member of the civil service.

In protest against the incident, hundreds of students and members of the public, armed with tradional weapons such as arrows, choppers and spears, occupied the port of Manokwari on Sunday afternoon. They vented their anger by smashing the windows of the waiting room in the harbour, but fortunately, this action calmed down after members of the security forces took control of the situation.

Translated by TAPOL

IMAGES AVAILABLE HERE:

Warning: Distressing Images of the killing of Derek Adii, May 14, 2011

According to information from the Justice and Peace Secretariat of the Kingmi Church, Papua, a man called Derek Adii who had just completed his application for appointment as a civil servant in the sub-district of Deiyai, was maltreated by six members of the armed forces in the Nabire port area on Saturday 14 May.

He was beaten and stabbed and died as a result.

WARNING: THE FOLLOWING IMAGES OF DEREK ADII ARE HIGHLY DISTRESSING, BUT MUST BE PUBLICISED

The Indonesian State is responsible for the shooting of three civilians in Dogiyai

Press Release

The Indonesian State is responsible for the shooting of three civilians in Dogiyai

 

(JAKARTA, Friday, May 13th 2011) – The Anti-Militaristic Papuan Students’ Coalition urges the Head of the National Police to immediately dismiss the Heads of Papua provincial police, Nabire regency police and Moanemani district police after the shooting of three civilians that occurred in Moanemani district, Dogiyai regency, Papua.

This was stated by Frans Tomoki from the Anti-Militaristic Papuan Students’ Coalition during a press conference at the KontraS office, Jln. Borobudur No. 14, on Friday, May 13th.

According to Frans, shooting incidents have been occurring for nearly one month but haven’t been clarified yet. He also criticized the brutal behavior of  the police officers who shot at civilians without warning.

“There must be a warning before shooting, but the police directly opened fire without thinking of the possible consequences.  This  can be categorized as a serious human rights violation.”

According to Agus Okama Kosay, human rights violation have been going on in Papua since the territory was forcefully merged into Indonesia. “From 1961 on there have been human rights violation and tensions keep rising.”

In the Reformasi era, all the more since the implementation of the Special Autonomy Law, human rights violations should have decreased. But this eventually didn’t materialize. As compared to the Ancient and New Order eras, the Special Autonomy era is even worse.

“Why do Papuan people think that the Special Autonomy is a total failure?  Because human rights violations keep occurring  and the central government never tried to solve this problem,” Agus explained.

The Anti-Militaristic Papuan Students’ Coalition also urges the international community to lobby the Indonesian government to take responsibility  for the frequent serious human rights violations in Papua, including the shooting incident in Dogiyai regency.

Images of shooting sites, Dogiyai (IMages courtesy of witnesses on ground)

“The international community must lobby the Indonesian government to  thoroughly investigate several human rights violations in Papua,” Agus added.

The shooting of three civilians by police officers took place on April 13th, 2011, around 1.30 pm. It began as police officers raided a togel [illegal lottery] kiosk in Moanemani market housing complex. They seized the money belonging to the togel vendor who was just known as an agent working in fact for police members.

A group of people refused this and followed the police car to the district police station. The upset police officers shot at three civilians and wounded two others, directly in front of the district police station. Dominikus Auwe (24), Otniel Yobe (26) and Agus Pigay (24) died, while two of their friends were critically wounded.

As a consequence, local people were angered and torched the Moanemani district police station as well as several kiosks belonging to migrants from other islands, including the illegal lottery kiosk operated under the names  of First Brigadiers I Made Sudarsa and Eka. Papua provincial police sent two Brimob [Mobile Brigade] platoons to secure the area in Dogiyai and investigate the involvement of police officers but to date,  no further clarification was provided. (**)