AWPA calls on Rudd to monitor Increasing tension in West Papua, focused on 1st December

The Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)


Media release   28 November 2011

 Increasing tension in West Papua, focused on the 1st December 

AWPA has written to the Kevin Rudd concerning West Papua national flag day (letter below) . Joe Collins of AWPA said “because of the dangerously deteriorating situation in West Papua we are asking the Foreign Minister to use his good offices with the Indonesian Government asking that it controls its security forces in West Papua, urging that the security forces should be kept in their barracks during any West Papuan celebrations on the 1st December as a way of avoiding possible bloodshed. We are also urging the foreign minister  to ask the Indonesian Government to allow full and free access of journalists to Papua and to send Australian embassy staff to monitor and observe events on December 1″.

Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)

PO Box 28, Spit Junction, Sydney, Australia 2088

The Hon Kevin Rudd MP

Minister for Foreign Affairs

Parliament House


ACT 2600


28 November 2011

Dear Mr Rudd,

I am writing to you concerning increasing tension in West Papua[1], presently focused on the 1st December which is West Papuan national flag day.  Fifty years ago on the 1st of December 1961, in the then Dutch colony of West New Guinea, The West Papuan flag, called the Morning Star was flown for the first time officially beside the Dutch Tricolour.  The Dutch were finally about to give the West Papuan people their freedom. However, it is one of the great tragedies that at their moment of freedom it was cruelly crushed and West Papua was basically handed over to Indonesia in 1963.

The West Papuan people raise their flag as an act of celebration but also of protest against the injustices they suffer under Indonesian rule. We believe that the West Papuan people will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first flying of their flag with peaceful rallies in various parts of the territory on the 1st December. We are concerned that the security forces will use any rallies as an excuse to crackdown on the West Papuan people.

One of the most famous West Papuan political prisoners is Filep Karma who was arrested on the 1st December 2004 for being part of a rally where the Morning Star flag was raised.  In May 2005, a court sentenced Filep Karma to 15 years jail on charges of treason against the state. Amnesty International considers Filep Karma to be a prisoner of conscience who has been detained solely for the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression.

Because of the dangerously deteriorating situation in West Papua we urge you to use your good offices with the Indonesian Government asking that it controls its security forces in West Papua, urging that the security forces should be kept in their barracks during any West Papuan celebrations on the 1st December as a way of avoiding possible bloodshed.

We also urge you to ask the Indonesian Government to allow full and free access of journalists to Papua and to send Australian embassy staff to monitor and observe events on December 1.

Yours sincerely

Joe Collins


AWPA (Sydney)

[1] AWPA (Sydney) uses the name “West Papua” to refer to the whole of the western half of the Island of New Guinea.

Triple J Hack: Papuans fear bloodshed after footage emerges of Congress Violence

ABC Triple J Hack – Sophie McNeill reports that footage has surfaced of the violent Indonesian military crackdown on the Third Papuan People’s Congress in West Papua on October 19, and speaks to West Papuan student’s about their friends’ experiences and concerns for Papua.

Aired on Hack: Wednesday 23 November

Listen/Download here:  WEST PAPUA 4-33

BRIMOB Paniai severely beat teacher Yulian Yeimo

November 28, 2011

(ENAROTALI, Paniai, West Papua)  In another display of arbitrary brutality against civilians, members from the increasingly notorious Indonesian paramilitary police unit Brimob last Thursday severely beat a local teacher without cause.

Yulianus Yeimo, 46, a teacher from Paniai was beaten  at 15:00 local time on 24 November by Brimob officers at Kogekotu / awabutu field in Enarotali, Paniai, Papua.   Police Officers fractured Yeimo’s nose and jaw from repeated blows with rifle butts.  The injuries caused by the Mobile Brigade officers caused severe bleeding, with his tongue almost severed by blows from the rifle butts.

West Papua Media has verified the photograph as genuine, and consistent with injuries reported.  Local sources have reported that Brimob and military officers are constantly raiding houses, taking away traditional hunting wepons and gardening tools such as axes, machetes and knives.  According to the same sources, this has made work and finding firewood for cooking impossible.  Many people have fled into the surrounding hills for shelter, fearful of continued arbtitrary violence from Indonesian security forces.

Combined operations throughout the Paniai district by Indonesian police and army since July have displaced several thousand local people, with many unable to find food or effective shelter in the mountains.

The district is subject to increasing tension, so please stay tuned to for further updates.

8000 workers walk – video from the Freeport Miners Strike

Freeport Miners' Strike

Freeport Miners’ Strike

“Video from the three month long strike at Freeport Mine in West Papua, police repression and actions in solidarity with the miners. Produced by traverser11 with music by Airi Ingram.”

Involves westpapuamedia.
Video supplied by:

SPSI Freeport (miners Unions)
West Papua Media
Yerry Nikholas
Beni Pakage

and public domain content from
Al Jazeera English


Related articles

Australia must act to protect human rights in Papua: Joint letter from HRLC and Human Rights Watch (28 Nov 2011)

The Australian Government should take a leadership role in promoting and protecting human rights in the troubled Indonesian province of West Papua say two leading human rights organizations in a Joint Letter to the Foreign Minister, the Hon Kevin Rudd MP.

Ahead of the 50th anniversary this Friday of the first raising of the West Papuan ‘Morning Star’ flag, the Human Rights Law Centre and Human Rights Watch have called on Minister Rudd to publically and unequivocally condemn the excessive use of force and suppression of peaceful protest and also deploy Australian embassy staff to Papua to monitor and observe anticipated events to mark the anniversary.

“Australia must unequivocally support the human rights of all persons to freedom of expression, association and assembly,” said Tom Clarke from the Human Rights Law Centre. “It is not in Australia’s strategic interest to have a festering human rights problem on our doorstep.”

“The default policy of successive Australian Governments has seemingly been to politely look the other way while human rights abuses occurred on our doorstep. This approach desperately needs rethinking. The problem of violence and repression in West Papua needs to be acknowledged and addressed,” Mr Clarke said.

The ‘Morning Star’ flag was first raised in 1961 when West Papua was moving towards independence with assistance from its colonial Dutch Government and the Australian Government. By this time, Papua already had its own government officials. However, in 1962 a chain of events eventually led to Indonesia taking control of Papua and well documented military violence and human rights abuses have plagued the province since. Today Papuans face imprisonment for simply raising the ‘Morning Star’ flag.

The letter urges Minister Rudd to call for a full and impartial investigation into recent use of force, including fatal force, by Indonesian police and military forces on a peaceful assembly on 19 October. The attacks on the Third Papuan People’s Congress resulted in at least three protesters being killed, at least 90 being injured and approximately 300 arrested.

“The West Papuan people do not enjoy the types of basic rights that we take for granted here in Australia. The right to meet to discuss ideas and express political beliefs are severely curtailed in West Papua. The international media is heavily restricted in travelling to Papua and reporting on events there. We are concerned that without international attention being focused on West Papua, human rights abuses are likely to continue,” Mr Clarke said.

The letter also requests that Minister Rudd urge the Indonesian Government to release all persons detained in Papua for the peaceful expression of their political views, including Filep Karma who the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention advises should be immediately released.

“Minister Rudd should follow US Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton’s lead and directly raise concerns with Indonesia about the violence and abuse of human rights in West Papua. If he has a ‘special relationship’ with Indonesia, now is the time to make the most of it and, as a friend, help Indonesia meet the commitments that it’s signed up to under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,” Mr Clarke said.

The Human Rights Law Centre will be hosting a public seminar in Melbourne with Human Rights Watch’s Elaine Pearson looking at this and other human rights issues in Asia on Wednesday 7 December. Further details can be found online here.

For further comments from HRLC: contact Tom Clarke on or 0422 545 763

For comments from HRW: contact Phil Robertson on or +66 85 060 8406

Create a website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: