Help us stay online: urgent appeal for funds for West Papua Media

Dear supporter of a free and robust media in Papua:

West Papua Media URGENTLY requests cash donations so that we can replace our 6 year old, worn out computers.  Our workhorse, a six year old Toughbook, has finally said “no more” and we need a faster, larger, more capable and equally robust replacement to keep up with video and audio coming out of West Papua, to conduct field training in safe witness broadcasting for citizen journalists, and to enable us to develop new and innovative ways for getting out media to the world.

Please help us stay online! Please help us continue to expose abuses to the world and activate international media.

Please donate what you can by visiting and clicking on the donate button on the top right of the page.  If you would prefer to donate directly via ban deposit or other means, please contact editor<at> for bank details.

(We have a target of $3000 to keep the computers running, plus another $10,000 to conduct a series of training workshops – please spread the word wide to help get us to this level).

Many thanks
Nick Chesterfield
Editor and co-founder
West Papua Media

More capital assistance for Papuan women, officials promise

Financial help to Papuan businesswomen seriously lacking

The press in Papua has recently reported extensively on the allocation
of OTSUS funds to assist Papuans in their business operations, in
particular Papuan women referred to as ‘mama-mama’

On 11 June 2011, the JUBI tabloid newspaper reported that most of the
allocation of OTSUS funds is concentrated on public infrastructure and
government assets but insufficient attention is being paid to local
Papuan traders, including ‘mama-mama.’ The problem was raised in
particular by the head of the Oadate Major Clan, in the district of
Yapen-Waropen, Yulinus Kowela.

He said that OTSUS funds were being allocated almost entirely to
government officials, the government elite, as he called them.
‘Meanwhile, local Papuan traders and indigenous Papuan women continue to
be impoverished and on the margins, because of the nature of the
development according to OTSUS,’ said Yulinus.

‘For many years, we have been saying that OTSUS funds should be used to
combat poverty and improve the living conditions of indigenous Papuans.
But up to the present day, this hasn’t happened, people are asking about
this, including people living in the interior.’

He said that the allocaton of OTSUS funds should take account of the
fate of indigenous Papuan traders and not just focus on building
infrastructure such as road-building and building bridges in all the
districts. ‘The allocation of OTSIS money should be fairer and be used
to improve the conditions of women traders. They need help to be able to
obtain better facilities for their business activities,’ he said.

On 22 June, JUBI reported that the district chief of Merauke, Romanus
Mbaraka spoke of the need to pay attention to the little people and pay
greater attention to their need for capital. He said that the government
was planning to provide capital to groups of businesses, amounting to Rp
500,000 for each group.

At a ceremony in Gedung Negara, he symbolically handed over the money to
one group of traders. He said that the money was being allocated to
groups of businesses because past experience had shown that this was
better than allocating it to individuals. ‘In this way,’ he said, ‘the
monitoring process can be more easily managed.’

He said that the money was not being allocated for free but the groups
would be expected to repay the money but in this way, the groups would
have greater motivation to run their businesses well.’

‘If a business is successful, its earnings will increase, which means
that the government will be willing to help them again. He also said
that teams will be set up to monitor the businesses run by the women
such as those selling crabs or vegetables. This would motivate the
mama-mama to run their businesses well,’ he said.

[COMMENT: It remains to be seen whether this grand promise will bear
fruit in terms of promoting the economic interests of indigenous Papuans
in their never-ending difficulties to compete with the business acumen
of the thousands of Indonesians who flood into Papua and set up
businesses. TAPOL]

AHRC (INDONESIA): Delayed Criminal Code reform prolongs institutional use of torture


June 24, 2011

A Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission on the Occasion of the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, June 26, 2011

INDONESIA: Delayed Criminal Code reform prolongs institutional use of torture

Has the video showing military torture in Indonesia in October last year created any serious concern for torture in that country? In the video, members of the Indonesian military tortured two indigenous Papuans to obtain information about alleged separatist activities. While some of the perpetrators got a few months of imprisonment for disobeying the orders of their superior, nobody was punished for the torture committed, nor did the victims receive any compensation or medical treatment. The extreme practices shown in the video shocked the public even though numerous cases of torture had been documented by NGOs and the National Human Rights Commission for years.

Torture is frequently used by the Police and the Military to force confessions, intimidate or to obtain information. The infliction of severe pain by public officials for the above and certain other purposes is prohibited in the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (full text in English, Bahasa Indonesia). This definition of torture and its prohibition also applies to Indonesia. Experts in and outside the country have repeatedly pointed out the neglect for institutional reform that the government has shown so far to effectively end this medieval practice.

Indonesia decided to ratify the Convention in 1998 and make it thus fully applicable into its legal and institutional system. While this may have appeared as a dedicated choice towards human rights, this promise from 1998 has never been kept. After 13 years, the government and parliament have failed to take even the basic key steps to end torture. As a result, torture continues to be applied.

What are the next steps to end torture? To make torture a crime! Amending the Criminal Code to make an act as defined in the international Convention punishable by law is a minimum requirement. Instead of fulfilling this requirement the government makes reference to maltreatment articles that actually only cover some parts of the problem as well as conduct guidelines for the police, which are neither promoted nor effectively enforced within the service.

Torture can be a convenient methodology for unprofessional members of the police force or the national military to “get things done”. Obtaining confessions, intimidating protesters, threatening minorities, producing quick case reports or to increase the income through bribes. Many dedicated staff in the national police, the national police commission and other related bodies have made considerable efforts to end this practice in their institutions but to support their efforts, more needs to be done.

Moreover, many see the use of torture as a legitimate and necessary mean to deal effectively with any wrongs ranging from petty crimes like theft up to organised terrorism. “Tough crimes need tough responses”, some may respond while forgetting that punishment is not part of the role of the police and military. Punishment for crimes is to be applied after a judicial process has established the guilt of the perpetrator and may then include imprisonment or other forms of non-violent punishments. But leaving an entire justice process in the hands of a police officer cannot be further away from fair trial and a just society.

Sunday June 26, 2011 is the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. Indonesia has thousands of victims, probably more. Many of them have not committed any crime and the majority of them is poor or from marginalised groups. Persons undergoing serious torture often suffer from the post traumatic stress disorder syndrome, cannot sleep well, relate personally to society and are violated and broken in their heart and soul. Decades of medical research have shown how tremendous and long lasting the impact of torture for the body and mind are for the victims and often also for the perpetrator.

Justice does not need torture as the eradication of the practice proofs in other countries. In fact as long as torture continues in a society, violence prevails. This practice can end if the use of torture is effectively punished and fully prohibited. To fulfil the promise Indonesia made in 1998 to the Indonesian people the Criminal Code needs to be reformed immediately. The victims of torture need our support.

# # #

About AHRC: The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional non-governmental organisation that monitors human rights in Asia, documents violations and advocates for justice and institutional reform to ensure the protection and promotion of these rights. The Hong Kong-based group was founded in 1984.

Moanemani incident under investigation, say police

JUBI: 22 June, 2011
The chief of police of Nabire, AKBP Mohammad Rois said that the Moanemani
incident that occurred in the district of Dogiyai i s now under
investigation and was soon to be taken to court.

”Those of my men who were involved in that incident are being
questioned, and if there is evidence against them, firm action will be
taken.,’ he said.

The chief of police was responding to accusations made by the
Association of Students from the Central Highlands along with the
families of the victims that the legal process was under wraps with
regard to this incident when there were shootings and sweepings in
Dogiyai, as reported by the tabloid newspaper JUBI.

He declared that the police was firmly committed to investigate this
incident. which involved the burning down of people’s homes, the
beating of the police chief and the shooting of a number of civilians,
as well as the ‘togel’ (gambling) case.’We are handling them all,’ he said.

He denied that the case was being neglected and said that action would
certainly be taken against those of his men who were guilty. ‘This also
includes civilians who may have committed crimes; they too would be
brought to justice.’

He insisted that no one is this country is immune from justice.

Two civilians died in the Moanemani incident while three others were
seriously wounded. In addition, local people had burned down the office
of the chief of police as well as other places and were also trying to
burn down a place of worship.

MRP dualism threatens the existence of the Papuan people

Bintang Papua, 23 June 2011

Pastor Jonga: ‘MRP has now become a mechanism for the government’s splitting tactics.’

The controversy about the setting up of an MRP for West Papua had
continued to rumble on and is likely to last for a long time. There are
people who now claim that having two MRPs will threaten the existence
of the indigenous Papuan people.

This was the theme of a seminar held by the Students Executive Council
(BEM) on Wednesday this week.

The controversy emerged when the governor of West Papua, acting on
behalf of the Minister of the Interior, announced the creation of the
West Papua MRP. The seminar was held at the auditorium of the
Cenderawasih University, and was attended by about a hundred people.The
main speakers were Fadhal Alhamid of the Papuan Customary Council (DAP)
and Pastor Jong Jonga, representing the religious community The
moderator was Laus Rumayon.

Fadhal Alhamid said that the danger posed by MRP dualism was that the
standard set for basic human rights of Papuans living in the province
of West Papua would be different from those set in the province of
Papua. In addition, the creation of the West Papua MRP was to promote
certain vested interests, part of a conspiracy between the governor and
the vice-governor of West Papua. ‘The MRP reached an agreement
regarding cultural and economic unity.But if there are now two MRPs,
there is the danger that this unity will disappear.’

He also said that responsibility for creating the second MRP rests with
the MRP itself. ‘We should raise the question of whether they were the
ones responsible for creating the second MRP.’

He also drew attention to the position of people in the leaderhip of
the Papua MRP and the West Papua MRP. ‘The fact that Ibu Dorkas is the
chairman of the Papua MRP and is also the vice-chairman of the West
Papua MRP has led to a great deal of confusion.

The other speaker, Pastor Jong Jonga, dealt more specifically with his
own experiences with congregations living in the district of Keerom. ‘In
my opinion, special autonomy (OTSUS) has failed to provide protection,
tranquillity and security indigenous because its benefits are only
being enjoyed by people living in the vicinity of the district capital.
‘These were precisely the regions where the percentage of indigenous
Papuans is very low as compared to the percentage of newcomers or
migrants.’ What they were hoping for, he said, was that the MRP which
had been intended as a unifying body would now become a means for
splitting the Papuan people.’

During questions and answers that followed the speeches, the students
focused primarily on OTSUS. Many said that OTSUS had become nothing
more than a mechanism to prolong the sufferings of the Papuan people.
OTSUS has become the long arm of the central government. ‘What was
needed now,’ the one questioner said, ‘was for the DPRP to take action
to disband the West Papua MRP.’ Many in the audience shared these views.

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