Monthly Archives: August 2011

AWPA: PIF should grant observer status to the territory of West Papua

Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)
Media Release 31 August 2011
 
PIF should grant observer status to the territory of West Papua [1]
At the  42nd Meeting of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) to be held in  Auckland next week, AWPA calls on the PIF leaders to grant observer status to  genuine representatives of the West Papuan people who are struggling for their right to self determination.
As more of the Pacific community applies for observer status at the Forum  (Congressman Faleomavaega in a press release on the 8 August thanked   U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for clearing American Samoa, Guam and CNMI to apply for observer status at the PIF) http://www.house.gov/apps/list/press/as00_faleomavaega/enithankssecretaryclinton.html
surely it is time on the 40th  anniversary  of the PIF  to  bring the  Melanesian people of West Papua back into  the Pacific community.
In its guiding principles the PIF talks about ” the importance of averting the causes of conflict” and how  “Human Rights are a fundamental component of the vision of the Pacific Island Leaders which states that “We see a Pacific region that is respected for the quality of its governance…the full observance of democratic values, and for its defence and promotion of human rights.
Joe Collins of AWPA said West Papua is the one territory in the Pacific  where the  deteriorating human rights situation could lead to  instability  in the region.  The Forum leaders should be concerned about this and do all they  can to help resolve this conflict.  A good start would be to grant observer to those West Papuan representatives who are struggling for their right to self determination. They PIF leaders would have the support of their people in bringing West Papua back into the Pacific community.
In a letter to the PIF leaders in June 2011 AWPA urged
 the  PIF Leaders to put the issue of West Papua on its agenda  at its September summit and to not only  discuss the deteriorating human rights situation in West Papua but to  make a public statement of concern regarding the human rights situation in the territory as it has in past Forum Communiques. We also urge the PIF  to raise concerns about the human rights situation in West Papua with the Indonesian President.
to grant observer status to  genuine representatives of the West Papuan people who are struggling for their right to self determination
A number of governments have supported the autonomy package for West Papua  stating that the it is the best way forward for the West Papuan people. Although funding for the autonomy package has flowed to West Papua it has only benefited some elites and the bureaucrats with no benefit for the majority of West Papuans, which is why it has been rejected. We believe that it is pointless for  governments to keep saying the autonomy package is the best way forward. Even a revised Special Autonomy in whatever form it might take will never satisfy West Papuans demand for self determination. West Papuans have lost  trust that Jakarta will ever develop West Papua for the sake of the Papuans. The Forum can help by urging Jakarta to dialogue with the Independence Movement to find a lasting solution.
We also call on the Forum leaders to urge the Indonesian President to release all West Papuan political prisoners as a sign of good faith to the West Papuan people and urge the Forum to send a fact finding mission to West Papua to investigate the human rights situation in the territory.
 AWPA (Sydney) uses the name “West Papua” to refer to the whole of the western half of the Island of New Guinea.
info.
Joe Collins
+61.2. (0)4077 857 97

Church leaders mediation efforts between TNI/Polri and TPN/OPM in Paniai

JUBI, 29 August 2011

The churches in Paniai are very concerned about the unsatisfactory situation that has continued in Paniai following an armed skirmish that took place on 17 August, and also about reports that additional troops have been sent to Paniai to search for two firearms that were reportedly seized from police headquarters in Komopa on 15 August. In view of this situation, the churches are trying to mediate between the TPN/OPM and the Indonesian army and police to reach a dignified agreement to solve these problems.

The Rev. Hana Tebay, S. Th.said in a meeting on Sunday, 28 August that they had made approaches to the TPN/OPM and the Eduda headquarters (?) two days previously and she also said that in the near future, church leaders would be meeting the chief of police in Paniai.

‘The church is neutral. In our view we are all children of God which is why we speak from the heart with both the TPN/OPM and the security forces, the army and the police, she said.

‘We hope and pray that our efforts will bear fruit because we very much regret the continuation of these unsatisfactory conditions. A solution can be found and we will do everything in our power to mediate between the two sides so as to safeguard security in Paniai,’ she said.

The co-ordinator of the KINGMI Church in Paniai, Rev. Gerard Gobai, S.Th. said that the churches will use their prophetic mission to put an end to the situation that has emerged among the people. This situation has led to the people abandoning their homes, their work, their animals and fleeing from their homes.  As a result, Sunday worship meetings were attended by far fewer people than usual.

‘We are hoping for a solution. The two sides must agree to engage in peaceful efforts. ‘

He also expressed the hope that the local government would not allow this situation to continue for this would mean the continuation of a state of uncertainty for the people who are now living in fear.According to the mass media, the situation in Paniai is safe, but the fact is that the people feel very afraid. The place for the people is there, and they should not be wanting to flee from Paniai.

‘How can the people feel calm if even the bupati (sub-district chief) has vanished from Paniai?’

He went on to say that as far as the church is concerned, everyone must strive to make Papua a Land of Peace.

‘There must be an end to disorder, to conflict, an end to the loss of life..The church therefore expects the government to make serious efforts together with the TNI/Polri and the TPN/OPM to think about joint efforts to end this situation, and in particular to secure the return of the two firearms.’

[This item and the previous item from JUBI were translated by TAPOL]

Churches speak out for peace and security in Paniai

JUBI, 29 August 2011

The desire for peace in the district of Paniai is a common aspiration, especially in the wake of the many conflicts that have occurred in the recent past.   Everyone should be aware of the need to work together to restore a sense of security so that people can continue with their day-to-day activities.

These were the words contained in a press release issued by the Commission for Justice and Peace of the Paniai Diocese and the Commission for Justice and Peace of the KIINGMI Church on 28 August.

The representative of the Diocese of Paniai, Fr Marko Okto Pekei, and Yafet Tetobi of the KINGMI Church said that they hoped that the leaders of the security forces would not deploy forces from outside Paniai.   Moreover, they hoped that the forces already in the area would not roam round freely in the area with all their military equipment because doing so would only worsen the situation. People who are now thinking about returning home to Enarotali, Madi and places close by will start feeling afraid of going back to their kampungs after
realising that the situation is not yet safe.

They also said that all sides should realise that the preservation of security and an atmosphere of peace is the duty of all, leaders of the communities, the security forces – TNI the army and Polri, the police – as well as the TPN/OPM, leaders of the community, religious leaders, leaders of customary groups and leaders of the women and the youth.

The two church commissions for peace and justice also deeply regretted the wounding of two people during an armed conflict that occurred on 17 August in Uwibutu, Madi.  ‘We also deeply regret the actions of certain elements who have destroyed the economies of families living in the area.’

They went on to say that any problems between the security forces and the TPN/OPM should be handled by means of persuasion, not by the use of repressive military measures because the latter would only result in casualties among civilians who are not in any way involved in these matters. Repressive measures, that is to say, violence or armed conflict, will only result in casualties. This means that all sides are responsible for preserving peace and security for the civilian population.

The church representatives said that they had felt called upon to speak out about the unsatisfactory conditions of the local people during the past three weeks. The various churches in Paniai have therefore been trying to mediate to find the best possible solution that accords with the wishes of the people so that they can live in safety and prevent the occurrence of casualties among the people.

AHRC: PAPUA: Medical workers criminally charged for protests over their income

August 30, 2011

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME

Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-150-2011

30 August 2011
———————————————————————
INDONESIA: Medical workers criminally charged for protests over their income

ISSUES: Freedom of Expression, Fabrication of Charges, Labour Rights
——————————————————————–
Dear friends,

AHRC-UAC-150-2011-01.jpgThe Jayapura regional police in West Papua have charged eight medical workers with incitement and objectionable acts following their peaceful protest against regulation 141/2010 by the provincial governor. The regulation deprives the Jayapura hospital’s medical workers of certain payments. An earlier request to meet and discuss the situation was ignored by the governor. Moreover, the medical workers were reported to the Jayapura regional police for violating criminal law with their protest. The AHRC sees the fabrication of these charges as a violation of the workers freedom of expression. Peaceful protesters have frequently been criminally charged for incitement or disobedience in West Papua and other parts of Indonesia. (photo: workers in front of the house of representatives in Papua, source: ALDP)

CASE NARRATIVE:

The AHRC has received information from KontraS, the Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence, regarding the fabrication of charges against workers who had conducted a peaceful protest. The medical workers serving in the Jayapura District Hospital have been receiving an incentive bonus since 2005. In 2010, the governor of Papua decided to alter this incentive.

When news reached them of the possible change the workers feared that they would lose this payment and made requests for a meeting with the governor which were initially ignored. Only after the medical workers conducted a peaceful protest in front of the local parliament building in Jayapura on 2 December 2010 did a dialogue take place the following day. The workers met with several commissioners including the Regional Secretary of the province, the head of the Legal Division, Papua’s health agency representative and a representative of the Jayapura hospital.

AHRC-UAC-150-2011-02.jpgThis meeting resulted in an agreement regarding the amount of the incentive payment. On 6 December 2010, the governor of Papua issued resolution no. 125 of 2010 implementing the agreement. However, in an abrupt about face, on 30 December 2010, the governor revoked the earlier resolution with another one (no. 141 of 2010) and thus deprived the medical workers of the respective payments. (photo: workers at the regional police correctional facility, source: ALDP)

The medical workers again requested a dialogue with the governor asking the reinstatement of resolution no. 125 of 2010 which was once again ignored. They then held a peaceful demonstration from 1 — 14 March 2011.

AHRC-UAC-150-03-2011.jpgOn 12 March, 2011 a report was made to the Papua regional police that the protestors were alleged to have carried out acts of incitement and objectionable acts as mentioned in article 160 and article 335 point 1 respectively in the criminal code. The report deplored the medical workers absence from their health service duties while participating in the protest. Leni Ebe, the coordinator of the protest pointed out that not all staff attended the protest and that they had arranged to ensure that health care was sufficiently provided to patients. (photo: workers receive letter regarding leave on bail from a lawyer, source: ALDP)

On 15 March 2011, at 10.00 am, Leni Ebe and Popi Mauri were examined as witnesses in the criminal case against them at the Papua regional police headquarter. At 03.00 pm, the police declared eight persons including Leni Ebe and Popi Mauri as suspects in the case.

The AHRC is concerned about the ongoing criminal procedures conducted against the workers for organising a peaceful protest. Criminal charges against peaceful protesters have increased in Papua and West Papua in recent years and several political protesters were convicted with prison sentences.

SUGGESTED ACTION:
Please write letters to the authorities listed below urging them to drop the charges against the eight medical workers of the Jayapura hospital.

Please be informed that the AHRC is sending letters on this case to the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, calling for strong interventions.

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear _____,

INDONESIA: Medical workers criminally charged for protests over their wages

Name of the victim: Leni Ebe, Popi Mauri, Stevi Siahaya, Luthrinu, Siska Mandosir, Yolanda Inauri, Dolita Ataruri, Imbenay
Alleged perpetrator: Papua regional police
Time of incident: 12-15 March 2011
Place of incident: Papua regional police headquarter

I am writing to express my serious concern over the charges of incitement and objectionable acts against Leni Ebe, Popi Mauri and several others.

According to reports from KontraS, the Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence, the medical workers serving in the Jayapura District Hospital have been criminally charged for their participation in a peaceful protest against a new regulation of the governor of Papua depriving them of some payments.

Fearing that they would lose this payment when news reached them of the possible change the workers made requests for a meeting with the governor, which were initially ignored. Only after the medical workers conducted a peaceful protest in front of the local parliament building in Jayapura on 2 December 2010 did a dialogue took place the following day. The workers met with several commissioners including the Regional Secretary of the province, the head of the Legal Division, Papua’s health agency representative and a representative of the Jayapura hospital. This meeting resulted in an agreement regarding the amount of the incentive. On 6 December 2010, the governor of Papua issued resolution no. 125 of 2010 implementing the agreement. However, on 30 December 2010, in an abrupt about face the governor revoked the earlier resolution with another one (no. 141 of 2010) and thus deprived the medical workers of the respective payments. The reasoning given for this new resolution was that the payment of the incentive would create duplication of budget.

The medical workers again requested a dialogue with the governor asking the reinstatement of resolution no. 125 of 2010 which was once again ignored. They then held a peaceful demonstration from 1 — 14 March 2011.

On 12 March, 2011 a report was made to the Papua regional police that the protestors were alleged to have carried out acts of incitement and objectionable acts as mentioned in article 160 and article 335 point 1 respectively in the criminal code. The report deplored the medical workers absence from their health service duties while participating in the protest. Leni Ebe, the coordinator of the protest pointed out that not all staff attended the protest and that they had arranged to ensure that health care was sufficiently provided to patients.

On 15 March 2011, at 10.00 am, Leni Ebe and Popi Mauri were examined as witnesses in the criminal case against them at the Papua regional police headquarter. At 03.00 pm, the police declared eight persons including Leni Ebe and Popi Mauri as suspects in the case.

I am concerned about the ongoing criminal procedures conducted against the workers for organising a peaceful protest and urge you to ensure that the charges against the eight members of the medical staff be dropped. I hope that the provincial administration could show more openness to dialogue and would commit to ensure that no person will be criminally charged for participating in a peaceful protest as such charges present a violation of every person’s right to freedom of expression as enshrined in Indonesian and international law.

I am kindly urging for your intervention into this case.

Yours sincerely,

———————

PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:

1. Mr. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
The President of INDONESIA
Jl. Veteran No. 16
Jakarta Pusat
INDONESIA

Tel: +62 21 3863777, 3503088.
Fax: +62 21 3442223

2. Minister of Home Affair of Republic of Indonesia
Jl. Merdeka Utara No. 7 Jakarta 10110
INDONESIA

Tel: +62 21 3450058, 3842222
Fax : +62 21 3831193

3. Chairman of the National Police Commission (Kompolnas)
Jl. Tirtayasa VII No. 20
Komplek PTIK
South Jakarta
INDONESIA

Tel: +62 21 739 2352
Fax: +62 21 739 2317

4. Head of Indonesian Police
Markas Besar Kepolisian INDONESIA
Jl. Trunojoyo No. 3
Kebayoran Baru
Jakarta 12110
INDONESIA

Tel:+62 21 3848537, 7260306, 7218010
Fax :+62 21 7220669
Email : info@polri.go.id

5. The Head of House of Representative of Papua
(Ketua Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat Papua)
Jl. Dr. Sam Ratulangi No.2
Jayapura, Papua
INDONESIA

Tel: +62 967 533580
Fax:: +62 967 533691

6. Barnabas Suebu
The Governor of Papua
Jl. Soa Siu Dok
Jayapura, Papua
INDONESIA

Tel: +62 967 537523
Fax: +62 967 531847, 531853

7. Head of Police Area Headquarters Jayapura, Papua province
Polda Papua
Jl. Samratulangi No. 8 Jayapura
INDONESIA

Tel: + 62 967 531014
Fax: +62 967 533763

8. Head of National Commission on Human Rights of Indonesia
Jalan Latuharhary No.4-B,
Jakarta 10310
INDONESIA

Tel: +62 21 392 5227-30
Fax: +62 21 392 5227
E-mail : info@komnas.go.id

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (ua@ahrc.asia)

Document Type :
Urgent Appeal Case
Document ID :
AHRC-UAC-150-2011
Countries :
Issues :

An Indonesian War of ‘Unknown Persons’

By AUBREY BELFORD

Published: August 26, 2011

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/27/world/asia/27iht-papua27.html?_r=2&pagewanted=all

JAKARTA — It is a seemingly unending conflict in a part of the world famous for both its awesome remoteness and the incredible wealth on and beneath the ground.

For half a century, Indonesian troops and police officers have fought a shadowy and sporadic war in the vast forests and highlands of Papua, as the western end of New Guinea is known, after taking control of the former Dutch colony in the 1960s. It is a long-running conflict that is poorly understood by even those involved.

On one level, the fight is between security forces and ragtag groups of indigenous separatists, armed with guns, spears and arrows.

Sometimes, it is alleged, it is factions of the security forces fighting among themselves, drawn into competition over the ill-gotten spoils of a region of vast natural resources, including some of the world’s richest mines. Often, official references to those doing the killing go no further than “unknown persons,” leaving their identity — agents provocateurs, business rivals or guerrillas — the stuff of conspiracy theories.

But after an outburst of violence in recent months that has killed dozens, Indonesia is coming under renewed calls to solve a conflict, replete with economic misery and human rights abuses, that has tainted the country’s image as an emerging democratic giant.

A report this week by the International Crisis Group, an independent research organization, is the latest in a series of calls by civil society groups for a renewed dialogue between Papuans, who are ethnically distinct from other Indonesians and many of whom favor independence, and officials in Jakarta, who see the region as an inviolable part of Indonesia.

At issue are special autonomy arrangements put in place a decade ago by the administration of former President Megawati Sukarnoputri to head off renewed calls for independence following the 1998 fall of the Suharto dictatorship. Suharto ruled Papua with an iron fist while making billions for Jakarta from its natural wealth.

Special autonomy devolved some power to Papuans and saw the creation of local governments and the pumping of huge sums of money back into the region. The government also, controversially, split Papua into two separate provinces, Papua and West Papua.

But the report argues that special autonomy has so far failed to solve the roots of the conflict. Deep poverty persists, as does chronic corruption.

Non-Papuan migrants from other parts of Indonesia dominate the economy.

And, importantly, there remains a sense among Papuans that Indonesian security forces remain a law unto themselves, killing and torturing with near impunity.

“The government of President Yudhoyono, on Papua as on everything else, has been glacially slow to develop a policy that would be different from the default response of throwing cash at the problem and hoping it will go away,” the report by the crisis group said.

While democratic Indonesia has made huge strides in solving bloody wars of separatism and intercommunal conflict in provinces like Aceh and Maluku, Papua has stood out as a weeping sore.

Recent violence exposes the complexity of the conflict. The past two months have seen a rash of attacks in the highland district of Puncak Jaya, one of the poorest and remotest areas of Indonesia and a hot spot for a local insurgency led by a faction of the separatist Free Papua Movement, or TPN-OPM.

This month, a helicopter carrying a shot and dying soldier was hit by rebel bullets in the region and, last week, a motorcycle taxi driver was shot and killed in the district capital by “unknown persons,” said Lt. Col. Alex Korwa, the local police chief.

Over the hills, in Puncak, another district created as part of the government’s special autonomy plan, fighting between indigenous clans over control of the local government left 17 dead in late July.

This month, five people, including two soldiers, were killed in separate incidents near Jayapura, the capital of Papua Province. A series of other gunfights and stabbings have continued throughout Papua over this period.

The authorities have, mostly, pointed the finger at the TPN-OPM for the deadliest of the Jayapura attacks, an ambush in which four people were killed. But Papuan independence campaigners assert that elements of the security forces, or their clients, are behind many such attacks.

“These attacks I think have been carried out either by militias, or the military themselves, as violence to create an atmosphere of fear,” said Benny Giay, a pastor in the Gospel Tabernacle Church. The commander of military forces in Papua, Maj. Gen. Erfi Triassunu, said the attack near Jayapura was “purely the TPN-OPM.”

Mr. Giay also alleged that a Papuan farmer, Das Komba, was abducted and killed by soldiers near the border with Papua New Guinea on Friday, but the police and military have so far not commented on the case.

Cases in which members of the security forces received light sentences for the torture and murder of civilians have caused outrage in recent months, but the crisis group argues in its report that the fact such trials exist at all is a step forward.

With Papua thousands of kilometers from Jakarta, and tightly sealed from foreign journalists and many rights groups, it is difficult to confirm independently claims and counterclaims about much of the violence. For those on the ground, too, many attacks remain mysterious.

“How can we trust the police or the military if there are no perpetrators, if no one gets caught?” asked Latifah Anum Siregar, the director of the Democracy Alliance for Papua, a human rights group.

“Police will send out 200, 300 people on a sweep, but they won’t get anyone.”

One senior police officer who has had command roles in Papua’s hot spots said that even he was often uncertain who exactly was behind attacks — rebels or rogue soldiers. “We weren’t sure,” said the officer, who declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the subject. “Every time we got a glance of the shooter, they always disappeared really quickly into the jungle.”

Realizing the drawbacks of special autonomy, the government of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has pledged to put together a temporary body, called the Unit for the Acceleration of Development in Papua and West Papua, to seek solutions to corruption, poverty and rights abuses in the region, but its formation has been delayed.

“There’s a lot of mistrust by the people in Papua, both towards the government in Jakarta and their own regional governments,” said Dewi Fortuna Anwar, a political science professor at the Indonesian Institute of Sciences who is involved in setting up the body.

But building trust may take more than building schools. Many Papuans remain fiercely committed to independence, arguing that the process by which Indonesia achieved sovereignty over Papua in 1969 — a vote by 1,025 Papuan elders handpicked by the Indonesian authorities — was flawed.

Indonesia is similarly inflexible. Simply unfurling the region’s Morning Star independence flag can be considered subversion, a crime punishable by up to 20 years or life in prison. About two dozen people are in jail or awaiting trial in Papua on subversion charges, according to Human Rights Watch.

Amid violence earlier this month, thousands of people protested in Papuan towns and cities to demand a referendum on independence. The political affairs minister, Djoko Suyanto, was firm in his response. “Papua is a part of the unitary republic of Indonesia,” he said. “That is what we must maintain.”