Daily Archives: July 14, 2011

AHRC: INDONESIA: Torture Report – A heinous act which is not seriously addressed

July 14, 2011

Report on the practice of torture in Indonesia for the International Day of Support for Victims of Torture from the Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS) in Indonesia forwarded by the Asian Human Rights Commission

INDONESIA: Torture: A heinous act which is not seriously addressed

Download the full report at http://www.humanrights.asia/countries/indonesia/reports/ngo/KontraSTortureReport2011.pdf

I. Introduction

One of the serious issue of human rights violations—which is one of the nonderogable rights —that recently arised public attention is torture. First, in early October 2010 shortly before his plane left for the Netherlands, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono decided to cancel his state visit in the country. The cancellation was due to the filing of the lawsuit to the local court in the Netherlands by the activists of South Moluccas Republic (RMS/Republik Maluku Selatan) who live there. The lawsuit for one reason was based on charges of torture committed by police officers against those accused of being RMS activists. They were charged with treason when they displayed RMS flag as they performed cakalele dance in front of the president and some foreign guests during his visit to the Moluccas in June 2007. Following the cakalele incident the security forces, including special anti-terrorism unit Detachment 88 immediately arrested and detained hundreds of suspected RMS activists and some of them were allegedly become victims of torture.

Second, only a few weeks later in October 2010 a 10-minute visual documentation—circulating through ‘Youtube’—on torture of two Papuans recorded with mobile phone video tool. In the video, the extremely brutal and inhuman action was obviously conducted by people in military uniforms in order to conduct interrogations. With the rapid spread of that torture video, various Indonesian authorities—including President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono— promptly responded to it and affirmed the practice of torture by military personnel in Tingginambut, Puncak Jaya, Papua. Many actually considered this video as an explicit example of the allegedly patterned practice of torture in Papua. The appeals of concern about the practice of torture also expressed by both foreign governments and international organizations.

This paper tries to examine the extent to which states implement human rights standards in the relevant international instruments of torture as an obligation of Indonesia post ICCPR and CAT ratification within the past year (July 2010 to June 2011). The implementative obligation is to do prevention efforts (through improvement of legislation, judicial system, and administration of state), ensuring the perpetrators brought to justice and provide redress to victims or their families. The contextual torture issues and problems in Indonesia can be seen from various post-priority agenda of meetings and discussions conducted by Indonesia government with relevant international human rights agencies.

So far Indonesia has made two reports to the Committee Against Torture under the Convention Against Torture, the first (initial report) was in July 2001 and the second (periodic report) in 2005. Unfortunately, Indonesia has not made the first report to the Human Rights Committee, the regulatory body for the ICCPR. In addition to reporting under the treaty body mechanism, there are also the follow-up results on torture based on the report
under the charter body mechanism. Under the mechanism of the UN Human Rights Council there are two follow-up agendas: first, the official country visit follow-up of Special Rapporteur on Torture, Manfred Nowak, conducted on 10-23 November 2007; second, the special meeting to discuss the results of Indonesia Universal Periodic Review/UPR in 9 April 2008 during the Fourth Session of the UN Human Rights Council. As follow-up results from various human rights mechanisms mentioned before, there are several similar recommendation agendas expected to be implemented by Indonesia related to the issue of torture, such as:

  • Torture should be made crime and its definition should be in accordance with Article 1 of the Convention against Torture;
  • The lack of this legal rule would lead to the practice of impunity;
  • There shold be an effort to revise the detention system, whether the duration of detention and the effort to test the validity of such detention;
  • In the context of law enforcement, any evidence or testimony that was made due to a practice of torture;
  • Ensure that victims of torture receive redress (reparation).

In conducting an audit over the issue of torture in Indonesia during the past year (July 2010-June 2011), KontraS took up cases of alleged torture which were directly dealt with. Information on alleged cases of torture would be considered a secondary source that could help clarify the picture of torture practices more broadly. In addition the audit report also discusses several policies, including plans for the creation or legislation revisions, which emerged within the past year.

To read the following sections, please download the full report here:

II. The Lack of Normative Provisions Against Torture
III. The Pattern of Torture Cases
IV. Development of New Legislation Draft Related with Torture Issue
V. Conclusions and Recommendations


Tensions Increase Between PT Freeport Indonesia Employees, Authorities

From Joyo

The Jakarta Post [web site]

July 11, 2011

Tensions between native Papuan workers, who come from seven various tribes, at PT Freeport Indonesia and police escalated on Monday after the workers blocked the access road heading to the mine.

According to Andre, a PT Freeport Indonesia employee detained in Tembagapura, Papua, the tension between the workers and police had started on one of roads leading to the mine.

“The authorities were heading up to the mill with several pipe operators to deal with the stockpile that had started to overflow,” Andre said as reported by tempointeraktif.com.

However, native Papuan workers physically blocked the group, eyewitnesses reported.

Tembagapura Police chief Adj.Comr. Sudirman denied that there were problems in the area. “The situation is safe,” he said.

RNZI: Difficult conditions remain for Freeport’s Papua workers‎

RNZI Posted at 07:32 on 14 July, 2011 UTC
Striking workers at Freeport-McMoran’s gold and copper mine in Indonesia’s Papua province have returned to work after their union said the firm agreed to its demands in the latest round of talks.
The estimated 7-thousand workers had been demanding higher wages and were protesting against the dismissal of six union leaders.
Their eight-day strike crippled operations at the remote Grasberg mine, which contains the world’s largest recoverable reserves of copper and the biggest single gold reserve. Johnny Blades reports that Freeport’s Papua staff work under uniquely difficult conditions:
Freeport management has granted the reinstatement of the sacked unionists, and has agreed to further negotiations on wage rates.
Nick Chesterfield of West Papua Media Alerts says no real concessions have been made to the workers who are said to be paid up to 10 times less than what other Freeport workers around the world earn.
“People who are working significant hours, and their welfare is not being looked after. They’re only earning about a dollar-fifty (US) an hour for extremely dangerous conditions. They wanted their pay to be raised to three dollars. Freeport are out there, making massive amounts of profit and not giving anything back to the workers or the people.”
Not all employees at Freeport were happy with the industrial action.
One non-striking worker who wishes to remain unnamed warns that any wage increases would incur a cost for the local community.
“It will be impact to other sub-contractors for Freeport. They will lose their jobs because their company cannot pay for the high salary in their company like Freeport. And the other people in Timika – like police, like local government, community – will get a problem because for meals, for transportation, for gasoline, the price will rise up like that.”
Freeport workers have recently been demanding guarantees of safety at Grasberg.
An Indonesian human rights activist, Andreas Harsono, says the deaths of two staff in an attack in April are still fresh in workers’ memories.
“They also had a strike last year, demanding better security. The problem with security in Freeport is not always coming from the West Papua guerilla fighters. Sometimes it also comes from Indonesian security forces. The Indonesian military police used to be bought earlier this year but the ones who shot (workers) at Freeport mine were actually three Indonesian soldiers.”
Andreas Harsono hears many complaints from Freeport personnel about the conduct of the Indonesian security forces around the mine.
There are 3,000 of these forces in the area and the soldiers tend to act as a law unto themselves.
“The solders sometimes go beyond their duties like selling protection, involved in illegal alcohol sales, prostitution, and of course hunting, because it is so difficult to control the soldiers in the jungle and mountains around Freeport.”
For the strike to end, the union wanted Freeport’s Indonesia CEO Armando Mahler to be included in negotiations over pay.
Union leaders say Mr Mahler will be involved intermittently in pay talks, which are due to start next week

Global support for human rights and human rights defenders in West Papua

Global support for human rights and human rights defenders in West Papua

Organizations based in more than a dozen countries today issued a statement of support for West Papuan organizations appealing for justice and human rights.

The Papuan organizations have “decried the failure of the Indonesian government to ensure justice for or protect Papuans who have been the victims of security force brutality, including extra-judicial killing, torture, abduction and imprisonment,” the statement said. The international organizations expressed their “support for these courageous appeals” by the Papuan organizations and pledged “to pressure our individual governments and international organizations to press the Indonesian government to act positively and immediately on these demands for justice and the protection of human rights defenders.” They said that the “continuing violation of human rights starkly demonstrates the limits of ‘democratization’ in Indonesia.”

The statement was endorsed by 54 international, regional, national and local organizations, based in more than a dozen countries. It was initiated by Tapol , West Papua Advocacy Team and East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN)


July 14, 2011 – In recent weeks, highly regarded West Papuan non-governmental and religious organizations which promote respect for human rights have spoken out forcefully regarding the deteriorating human rights situation in the territory. In two separate statements, the organizations decried the failure of the Indonesian government to ensure justice for or protect Papuans who have been the victims of security force brutality, including extra-judicial killing, torture, abduction and imprisonment. The organizations have also called for protection of human rights defenders. The continuing violation of human rights starkly demonstrates the limits of ‘democratization’ in Indonesia.

In a recent press conference, two human rights NGOs, BUK (United for Truth) and KontraS-Papua (Commission for the Disappeared and the Victims of Violence), underscored the failure of the Indonesian justice system to address endemic violation of human rights by the military and police. They noted that some cases have languished for over a decade and said that years of inaction by the Indonesian government regarding these cases have compelled them to appeal to “international mechanisms” to ensure that the Government of Indonesia brings these incidents before a court of law.

At their June 14 press conference in Jayapura, the NGOs, describing the consistent failure of justice in West Papua, said:

“With regard to the human rights violations that have been perpetrated in Papua at the hands of members of the Indonesian army (TNI) and the Indonesian police (POLRI), in all these cases, it has been virtually impossible to bring them before a court of law. In the case of those incidents that were actually taken to court, nothing was done to side with the victims; the perpetrators were protected with the argument that what had been done was in the interest of the security of the state.”

The NGOs made specific reference to particularly egregious incidents in which Papuans were killed, brutally tortured or disappeared. These include the June 2001 Wasior and 2008 Wamena incidents, a police rampage in Abepura, as well as repeated military “sweeping operations” in West Papua’s central highlands in which civilians were driven from their homes into local forests where many died due to a lack of food, shelter and access to medical care. The NGOs also detailed policies and practices which subject “many Papuans to discrimination, intimidation and extra-judicial punishment based on groundless charges by Government agencies that these Papuans, or their family members are “separatists.”

The two NGOs issued the following demands:

1. The President of Indonesia should immediately resolve the Wasior and Wamena cases and in doing so recognize the fact that Papuans are citizens of the Unitary Republic of Indonesia, NKRI which means that their standing and dignity within the state is in keeping with the values of the Papuan people as citizens of Indonesia.
2. The attorney-general’s office should end its machinations with regard to the Wasior and Wamena cases and co-ordinate with other state institutions and in so doing halt their activities which have resulted in reinforcing the cycle of impunity.
3. The administration of the province of Papua, along with the DPRP (Provincial Legislature of Papua), KomnasHAM-Papua and the MRP (The Papuan Peoples Council) should act together as quickly as possible to ensure that the Wasior and Wamena incidents are brought before a human rights court in the Land of Papua.
4. A Papuan human rights court should be set up immediately.
5. If the government fails to deal seriously with the Wasior and Wamena cases, we, as representatives of all the victims of human rights violations in the Land of Papua, will bring these matters before an international court of law.

In a separate June 17 press conference, the Coalition of Human Rights Defenders in the Land of Papua, comprising leading human rights and religious organizations spoke out against “acts of violence and terror that have been perpetrated against human rights defenders as well as against journalists.”

The coalition includes KomnasHAM-Papua, the Synod of the Kingmi Church in Papua, the Synod of the Baptist Church in Papua, Foker NGO (NGO Working Group) Papua, KontraS Papua, LBH – Legal Aid Institute in Papua, and BUK. The organizations were especially critical of the Indonesian military whose members were involved in five recent incidents of violence against Papuan civilians and whose actions they noted, contradict claims that the Indonesian military is engaged in a process of reform.

The Coalition of Human Rights Defenders in the Land of Papua therefore issued the following statement:

1. Protection is needed for human rights defenders in Papua in carrying out their humanitarian activities throughout the Land of Papua. Such protection can be provided by the introduction of a special law, while at the same time setting up an independent commission at state level for the purpose of monitoring and advocacy as well as taking sanctions against those individuals who commit violence against human rights defenders.
2. As a short-term measure, we regard it as important to set up a special bureau within KomnasHAM to focus on the protection of human rights defenders.
3. In view the many acts of intimidation and violence perpetrated by members of the armed forces, we urge the military commander of Cenderawasih XVII military command (in West Papua) to take firm measures in the law courts and administration against all violations perpetrated by members of the TNI on the ground.
4. To provide moral guidance to all officers of the armed forces as well as disseminate an understanding of human rights so as to ensure that acts of violence perpetrated by members of the armed forces are not committed against civil society or against human rights defenders in the Land of Papua.

Indonesia has clearly failed to ensure justice in multiple cases of gross violations of human rights in West Papua and to protect Papuans defending their human rights violate the Indonesian government’s legal obligations contained within international agreements to which it is party, including the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. It also contravenes the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, notably articles 6, 7 and 8.

These abuses, policies and practices, as well as others not mentioned specifically by the NGOs and religious organizations have been carefully documented and condemned in United Nations reports, reports by other governments, and by leading international human rights organizations.

These international reports also include accounts of egregious government abuse, including the 1998 Biak tragedy and the Indonesian government’s incarceration of scores of political prisoners. Many of these political prisoners experienced targeted abuse and mistreatment that exceeded even the brutality meted out to criminal prisoners. International accounts of the failure of justice in Indonesia have also condemned the continued use of provisions of the Indonesian criminal code which form the basis for charges of “subversion” (such as Article 106 of the code). This was a legal tool of the Suharto dictatorship to repress freedom of speech and has its antecedents in Dutch colonial rule.

We, the undersigned organizations express our strong solidarity with and support for these courageous appeals made by these Papuan non-governmental and religious organizations. We pledge to pressure our individual governments and international organizations to press the Indonesian government to act positively and immediately on these demands for justice and the protection of human rights defenders.

Endorsed by

Tapol (UK)
West Papua Advocacy Team (USA)
East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN) (USA)

Asia-Pacific Solidarity Coalition (APSOC)
Asia Pacific Action (USA)
Asia Pacific Support Collective (Australia)
Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)
Australia East Timor Friendship Association Inc
Australian West Papua Association South Australia (Inc)
Baltimore Nonviolence Center (USA)
Campaign for Peace and Democracy (USA)
Catholic Agency For Overseas Development (CAFOD) (UK)
The Catholic Justice and Peace Commission of Brisbane (Australia )
East Timor Action Network / Portland, Oregon (USA)
East Timor Religious Outreach (USA)
Fellowship of Reconciliation (USA)
Foundation Dr. F.C. Kamma, the Netherlands
Foundation Pro Papua, The Netherlands
Green Delaware (USA)
Indonesia Human Rights Committee, Auckland (New Zealand)
Indonesian Solidarity (Australia)
THE INSTITUTE on Religion and Public Policy (USA)
International League for Human Rights
KontraS (Indonesia)
Land is Life
Luta Hamutuk Institute (Timor-Leste)
Madison-Ainaro (East Timor) Sister-City Alliance, Madison, WI (USA) Missionaries of the Sacred Heart Justice and Peace Centre, Australia
Nonviolence International
Office of the Americas (USA)
Pax Christi Aotearoa-New Zealand
Pax Christi Australia
Pax Christi Metro New York (USA)
Pax Christi, New Orleans (USA)
People’s Empowerment Consortium (PEC), Indonesia
Philippine Workers Support Committee (USA)
Press for Change (USA)
Seattle CISPES
Seattle International Human Rights Coalition (SIHRC) (USA)
Swedish Association of Free Papua
Swedish East Timor Committee
Syracuse Peace Council (USA)
Urban Poor Consortium, Indonesia
War Resisters League (USA)
West Papua Action Network, Canada
West Papua Action Network / US
West Papua Media (Australia)
West Papua Network (WPN), Germany
The West Papua Solidarity Group Brisbane (Australia )

John Feffer, co-director, Foreign Policy In Focus*
Sharon Silber, U.S. Representative, Society for Threatened Peoples
Eileen B. Weiss, Co-Founder, Jews Against Genocide (U.S.)
Shulamith Koenig, People’s Movement for Human Rights Learning (PDHRE)

*organization for identification only

This statement is online at http://etan.org/news/2011/07papua.htm