Daily Archives: July 20, 2011

HRW – Indonesia: Clinton Should Raise Human Rights Concerns

Address Military Impunity, Freedom of Religion and Expression

July 19, 2011
(New York) – US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton should raise military accountability for abuses, freedom of expression, and the rights of religious minorities during her visit to Indonesia on July 21 to 24, 2011, Human Rights Watch said in a letter to Secretary Clinton released today.

2011_Indonesia_Clinton.jpg
"This is an important opportunity for Clinton to speak publicly about the need for genuine military reform." - Elaine Pearson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch (Photo © 2011, Reuters)

Clinton is to arrive in Bali a year after Robert Gates, the US defense secretary at that time, formally announced the resumption of US military relations with Indonesia’s special forces, Kopassus, which removed the last significant barrier to full-fledged US-Indonesian military ties.

“Closer US military ties with Indonesia were a reward for better behavior by Indonesian soldiers, yet one year later atrocities by the military still go unpunished,” said Elaine Pearson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “This is an important opportunity for Clinton to speak publicly about the need for genuine military reform.”

On July 22, 2010, Secretary Gates announced that the Indonesian Defense Ministry “publicly pledged to protect human rights and advance human rights accountability and committed to suspend from active duty military officials credibly accused of human rights abuses, remove from military service any member convicted of such abuses, and cooperate with the prosecution of any members of the military who have violated human rights.”

However, the Indonesian military has failed to live up to its pledges to the US government to improve accountability, Human Rights Watch said. In one example, in January, three soldiers received light 8-to-10 month sentences for “disobeying orders” in the May 2010 torture of two farmers in Papua. None were charged with torture despite video evidence showing the soldiers kicking the victims, threatening one with a knife to his face, and repeatedly jabbing the second in the genitals with burning wood. Yet, a US Defense Department official characterized the prosecution of this case as “a success.”

Human Rights Watch also urged Clinton to raise concerns about several laws that criminalize the peaceful expression of political, religious, and other views. Clinton should call on President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to release immediately the more than 100 activists currently behind bars in Indonesia for peaceful acts of free expression, Human Rights Watch said.

Longstanding impunity for violence against religious minorities in Indonesia has fostered larger and more brutal attacks by Islamist militants. Since President Yudhoyono issued a decree restricting activity by the Ahmadiyah religious community in 2008, more than 180 attacks against Ahmadiyah mosques and other properties have been recorded. The Ahmadiyah, who consider themselves Muslims, have long been the targets of violence and persecution in Indonesia because some Muslims view them as heretics. Clinton should urge Yudhoyono to withdraw the 2008 anti-Ahmadiyah decree and take other actions to protect religious freedom in the country, Human Rights Watch said.

“Laws stifling dissent are used against peaceful critics, and violent attacks on religious minorities are getting worse,” Pearson said. “If the US really wants to support Indonesia as a rights-respecting democracy, then Clinton should not shy away from stressing the importance of rolling back practices that undermine freedom of religion and speech.”

http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2011/07/19/indonesia-clinton-should-raise-human-rights-concerns

© Copyright 2010, Human Rights Watch

Related Materials:

Letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Regarding Indonesia and Human Rights Issues

AWPA letter to Aust Minister for Foreign Affairs re Puncak Jaya

Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)
The Hon Kevin Rudd MP
Minister for Foreign Affairs
Parliament House
Canberra
ACT 2600
 19 July 2011
Dear Mr Rudd
I am writing to you concerning the Indonesian military operation that is occurring in the Puncak Jaya regency of West Papua. Media reports have indicated that up to 600 TNI personal are involved in “sweeping “ operations in the region. In the latest incident four civilians , one  women and  3 children were wounded when Indonesian troops from the Infantry Battalion 753 , who are based in Nabire  fired into huts in the villiage of Kalome while searching for members of the Free Papua Movement (OPM). The incident occurred on the 12 July.
These aggressive military operations in pursuit of the OPM leave the local people traumatised and in fear for their lives.  Many reports have pointed out the the security forces have great difficulty distinguishing  between what the term separatists  and the general public.  During these military operations villages are destroyed as well as  gardens and livestock. While the OPM are committed to peaceful dialogue, the retain the right to self defence and protecting the local people if attacked. Although the security forces try to blame all incidents in the area on the OPM, many attacks on the TNI are by unknown attackers .
Tensions are always high in the Puncak Jaya regency because of the regular military operations that occur in the area. Suspecion between the local people and the TNI remain high with the security forces  accusing locals of supporting  the OPM while the local people accuse the Indonesian military of human rights abuses.
In May the military began a “socialising programme “ in Puncak Jaya involving up to  300 Army, Air Force and Navy personnel . The programe is proposed to run for four months  and is to include the renovating of  homes, churches and markets. However, local people believe it is simply  a shield and a cover-up of the violation of human rights abuses that have occurred in the region. It is all reminiscent of the US programme to win the “hearts and minds of the Vietnamese people.
The problems in West Papua won’t be solved by Jakarta  deploying more troops to the region or conducting more military operations. In September  last year the House of Representatives (DPR) Law Commission deputy chairman Tjatur Sapto Edy commenting on a report by Komnas HAM on past military operations  in the PUNCAK Jaya Rregion said  “there should be no more military operations and such approaches  are no longer suitable in a democracy”.
We urge you to use your good offices with the Indonesian Government to
call on the Indonesian President to halt all military operations in West Papua and return all military personal to their barrack as a way of easing tension and saving lives.
Yours sincerely
Joe Collins
AWPA (Sydney)
CC. The Hon Stephen Smith MP, Minister for Defence
Various human rights organisations

PT Rajawali to establish sugar factory in Merauke

JUBI, 16 July 2011 PT Rajawali is planning to establish a sugar factory in two areas in Merauke, Malind district, in Kampung Kaligi and Kampung Domde. The government has already agreed to hand over 37,500 hectares for this purpose. The company is waiting for an agreement on the release of forestry land which is expected to be issued by the Director of Panology (?).

This is likely to happen in August this year. The project manager of PT Rajawali, Abdul Wahab, told JUBI that they were waiting for the AMDAL license. Speaking for the company, Abdul said they had carried out tests on 200 hectares and this will be followed by the hand over of 1,000 hectares. Abdul said that laboratory tests have not yet been conducted because the sugar cane must have grown for at least one year, but he said that, considering the results of the seedling tests, the prospects are very good indeed.

Tests in the nursery have indicated that from one hectare of seedlings, the sugar cane can cover an area of seven hectares. Asked about the work force, Abdul said that their priority would be to employ indigenous people. He said that for the initial tests, local people had been employed for planting the seeds and other jobs. He said that they were urging the company to commence its operations as soon as possible.

Komnas HAM meets army commander to discuss rights violations

Bintang Papua, 16 July 2011

Komnas HAM meets military commander to discuss human rights violations

Jayapura: Many human rights violations are now confronting the National
Human Rights Commission – Komnas HAM in Papua. Commission deputy
chairman Nurcholis paid a visit to the command centre of the Cenderawasih Military Command to discuss two important problems.

The first was about the security situation at Freeport.   ‘A few weeks ago, we
received complaints from workers at Freeport about the security situation at the company and this is now being discussed with the military commander.’

The security problem began when some Freeport employees made complaints
about the situation and the families of the victims went to Komnas HAM, seeking assurances that legal processes would begin quickly.

The second problem relates to the shooting of members of the TNI in Puncak Jaya.  But apart from these casualties, there were four civilian casualties, a woman and three small children.  ‘We need to know whether these casualties were wounded or had died,’ he said.   Nurcholis stressed the need for caution about information being received, so as to correctly determine what measures need to be taken. ‘We are now gathering more complete information with the help of the human rights commission in Papua, to ensure that speedy action can be taken to solve the issue.’

Meanwhile, there are reports that some villagers have fled their homes because of armed skirmishes between civilian forces and the TNI in Puncak Jaya. He said: ‘If this is indeed happening, we hope to solve the problem so that our activities can focus on restoring security,’ he said.

No access to Puncak Jaya
He said that Komnas HAM is not at present able to gain access to Puncak Jaya and can only establish contact by phone. ‘The core of the problem needs to be dealt with through dialogue while recognising that this will not be easy. The next move will be to consult with the ministry of political and legal affairs, with dialogue being the only choice, and one that is supported by most of those involved so as to ensure that the difficulties can be overcome.’

Komnas HAM is checking whether the victims are civilian or military and whether the victims were wounded or have died. When asked how long this would take, Nurcholis said that he could not say.

‘The best indicator for solving human rights issues is not fixing a time frame but finding the best way to solve the problem ,’ said Nurcholis.

Freeport employees want human rights violator sacked

JUBI, 18 July 2011Following the violation of human rights that were perpetrated by personnel working for Freeport Indonesia,  there have been calls for the perpetrator, Nurcahyo to be sacked by the company.

‘We dont want that person to go on working here because he is bound to continue with his habits of discrediting indigenous Papuans.  We have experienced these things because of some trivial mistakes. Does the company want a repetition of recent actions,’ said one worker who didn’t want his name to be identified, when asked to confirm the action.

The matter was said to be closed after the person concerned was given a second warning.  For some of the staff, a very simple thing can result in the worker being sacked without mercy.

It appears that the person involved in this latest case is a superintendent  working at the Marine Section of the company named Nurcahyo who committed these human rights violations which are forbidden within the company. When there is clear evidence that someone has committed such things, that person is immediately sacked. Yet in this case, the man in charge of the human rights department, SemiYapsawaki, was simply given a second warning.

There have been many cases like this, according to JUBI, which recently triggered a strike at the company.

‘We want this person to be sent home because this is not the first time that he behaved in such a way. We hope that the management will take action against this person who can cause further major problems  in the workforce,’ said this source.

Attempts to contact the management, including the Manager, Juarsa, were not successful as he did not respond on his hand phone.