SBY: Non-organic troops to withdraw from Papua, UP4B Suspended

Albert Insaf Tarigan – Okezone

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The atmosphere in the Library Meeting SBY in Cikeas.  (Frederika Korain / PGI)

The atmosphere in the Library Meeting SBY in Cikeas. (Frederika Korain / PGI)

JAKARTA – The Indonesian government has promised to withdraw non-organic troops from non-organic provinces of Papua and West Papua.

The promise was delivered directly by the President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono during a meeting with Papuan church leaders at his residence, Puri Cikeas, Bogor, West Java, on Friday (12/16/2011) night.

The religious leaders present were:

  • Chairman of the Papua GKI Synod, Yemima Kret
  • Chairman of the Baptist Church of Papua, Socrates Sofyan Yoman
  • Chairman of the Kingmi Synod, Benny Giay
  • Martin Luther Wanma
  • Rika Korain

President Yudhoyono was accompanied by Vice President Boediono and several ministers, including Coordinating Minister for People’s Welfare Agung Laksono, Public Works Minister Djoko Kirmanto, National Police Chief Pol Gen Pradopo East, Armed Forces Commander Admiral Agus Suhartono, and Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Djoko Suyanto.

In a press conference at the office of the Guild of Churches in Indonesia (PGI), Jakarta, this afternoon, the religious leaders expressed appreciation for the government’s intentions.   Moreover, in December, most of the people of Papua  will celebrate the feast of Christmas.

“I convey to the President, this month the month of peace, in love, people should be calm. I asked for the violence to stop, it’s time we embraced each other, ” said Chairman of the Synod to Legal Kingmi Benny Giay, on Saturday (17/12/2011).

Hearing the request, said Benny, the President immediately asked the Police Chief and Commander of the TNI in order to stop the violence,  “President command to the Chief of Police and the Armed Forces (TNI) to stop the violence in Paniai, at least during the month of Christmas, “he added.

Pastor Gomar Gultom, also present at the meeting, explained that the President did not mention a specific deadline for withdrawal of non-organic troops. However, it is still regarded as an important step to begin the process of dialogue between Jakarta and Papua.

“The President ordered all non-organic troops to be withdrawn and stop the security approach as preparation for dialogue, (which) is not possible if there is a security approach,” he said.

Gultom referred to the (military) assault by Army and Police in Paniai from 12 to 15 December 2011 that has killed (at least) 15 people.  The official explanation by police is that they seized and occupied the headquarters of the TPN/OPM (National Liberation Army of West Papua). {West Papua Media note: independent human rights activists and church officials have accused TNI and Police of village burnings, helicopter attacks and massive displacement of 20,000 civilians in the campaign – which is still ongoing}.

According to Gultom, dialogue can not happen if at the same time there are security operations in the territory of Papua.   Until now, it is unknown the exact number of non-organic troops stationed in Papua.  Imparsial, a human rights organisation last August claimed there are approximately 30 thousand troops in Papua.  Of these, 14,000 are organic forces under the control of the Cenderawasih region military command.

Gultom said the two sides have not yet determined the dialogue format, nor points to be discussed, as a new opening meeting last night heard similar views. Furthermore, religious leaders are scheduled to meet again in mid-January 2012 in order to formulate the program in more detail.

However, in general, the President outlined the government’s position in the dialogue within a five point framework, namely the integrity of Indonesian territory and sovereignty integrity and sovereignty of Indonesia, Special Autonomy, Acceleration and expansion of development, with special act for affirmative action, and upholding the rule of law against all who violate the law.

“Affirmative action was meant as long as there is injustice against the people of Papua.  So later given the opportunity to them, for example, sitting in the government and so forth, ” he said.

Gultom added, President  SBY also expressed in the meeting his views about the role of the Unit to Accelerate Development of Papua and West Papua (UP4B) led by Lt. Gen. ( ret) Bambang Darmono. The Religious leaders view was that UP4B was formed unilaterally, and without hearing the aspirations of the Papuan people.

“There is a meeting point agreed upon last night.   All points will be evaluated together, and  UP4B will be stopped until results of the joint evaluation are available,” he said.

The religious leaders (repeated their) call for international third-party facilitated dialogue. In addition, they asked the government to release all political prisoners, and to repeal Government Regulation Number 77/2007 that regarding the prohibition of  the use of “separatist” symbols in Aceh, Maluku and Papua.  This regulation is the government’s basis to prohibit raising the banned Morning Star flag, despite Papuan people being legally allowed to fly the flag by the government of former President Abdurrahman Wahid. (ugo/edited by WestPapuaMedia)

West Papua Media Note:  this significant news was confirmed on December 18 during telephone conversations with participants and observers at the meeting and this article is was written at the request of observers, however comment has been sought from other parties.  

West Papua Media Editorial comment:  At the face of it, this appears to be  a hughely positive step and announcement.  However, by refusing to set specific deadline, or measurable and achievable guarantees, it remains to be seen whether this is yet more window dressing whilst still refusing to address the root causes of violence in Papua today: which is the behaviour of Indonesian security forces, and suppression of West Papuan peoples basic human rights to self-determination and freedom from persecution, and their desires for West Papuan independence.

Please contact West Papua Media for contact details for meeting participants.

KAMPAK Papua Condemns Police Beating of Human Rights Activist and Legal Aid Lawyer

by Oktovianus Pogau at PAPUAN VOICES

(translation, editing by West Papua Media)

Dorus Wakum, human rights activists and Kord Papua Axe (Photo: Papuan Voices)
 Jakarta — Indigenous Papuan Communities Against Corruption  in Papua (KAMPAK) condemned the beating of human rights activists and lawyers from Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI) by Jakarta Police Mobile Brigade, yesterday afternoon, Saturday (17/12) at the YLBHI Office.
Dorus Wakum, a Papuan activist from KAMPAK, in a media interview on  Sunday (18/12), said that the beating incident must be followed up, and unscrupulous Brimob brutality must be prosecuted according to the law.
“If you need to fire corrupt Chief of Police and Mobile Brigade members , because they have clearly committed brutal acts against human rights activists,” he added. Dorus explained that after the incident, police and intelligence officers continued to keep the office of the Legal Aid Foundation under surveillance, and also to block access to the KontraS (Commission for the Disappeared) office on Jalan Borobudur KontraS, Menteng , Central Jakarta.
“This has caused great anxiety for civilians who live around the KontraS  and YLBHI offices.  They (officers) keep passing by with full weapons deployed” .  Dorus said for three days armed forces have been monitoring all activists, and human rights lawyers activities in these two offices.
 “The Metro Jaya police chief should withdraw his officials from around the office YLBHI and KontraS right now,” he said.  The beatings of human rights activists and lawyers from YLBHI lasted until about 05.00 pm yesterday afternoon.
Occurring directly outside the YLBHI office.  a lawyer named Sidik admonished some of the Mobile Brigade officers who were at YLBHI offices without a warrant.  Not thankful for being reprimanded, Sidik was hit directly behind by some Mobile Brigade officers.  At time of writing the beating complaint has not been followed-up the Jakarta Police.
WEST PAPUA MEDIA note:  KontraS, a highly respected Indonesian human rights NGO, has been highly critical of Jakarta’s abuses and military approach to dealing with Papua, and it’s lawyers are regularly targeted by security forces for representing victims of abuse.

A Christmas Message to SBY from Papuan Churches

by Andreas Harsono

FOUR PAPUAN church leaders drafted and debated about their letter to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono while they’re in Jakarta this week. They met Indonesian Coordinating Minister on Politics and Security Djoko Suyantoon Monday, Dec. 12. They spent the next four days to draft the seven-page letter. It was finally signed at about 4pm at the office of the Communion of Churches in Indonesia. They handed over the letter to President Yudhoyono on Friday night at his private residence in Cikeas.They titled the letter, “Pesan Profetis Gereja-Gereja se-Tanah Papua” or the “Prophetical Message from the Churches in the Land of Papua.”

Frederika Korain, a Papuan human rights researcher, thought that it was an important, and histotical moment. She decided to record the moments when the letter was signed.

Rev. Martin Luther Wanma, chairman of the Indonesian Christian Bible Church (blue batik) and Rev. Jemima M. Krey, chairwoman of the Evangelical Christian Church in Papua (black blazer and red scarf) signed the seven-page letter. ©Frederika Korain
Rev. Socratez Sofyan Yoman, chairman of the Alliance of Baptist Churches in Papua signed the seven-page letter. Yoman is also an author. The Indonesian General Attorney Office bans two of his books, Kucuran Air Mata Umat Tuhan di Papua Barat Harus Diakhiri and Pemusnahan Etnis Melanesia. ©Frederika Korain

They prayed and shook hands after signing the seven-page letter. They spent most of their time in the office of the Communion of Churches in Indonesia on Salemba Street, Jakarta. It has a Papua Desk dedicated solely on helping Papuan churches doing their businesses in Jakarta. Rev. Phil Erari, a Papuan priest, an environmentalist and a board member at the Communion of Churches in Indonesia, also attended the signing event.

Rev. Benny Giay, chairman of the Kingmi Gospel Tabernacle Church, spent days to discuss the letter with his colleagues. Giay is also an anthropologist educated at the Vrije University in Amsterdam. When meeting Giay, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, himself a Ph.D, asked Giay in what field he wrote his Ph.D thesis. ©Frederika Korain
Rev. Martin Luther Wanma, chairman of the Indonesian Christian Bible Church, gestured to Rev. Socratez Yoman when signing his letter. Rev. Wanma is based in Manokwari unlike the other three church leaders with their offices in Jayapura.©Frederika Korain

The seven-page letter has the picture of a dying Papuan freedom fighter, Yawan Wayeni. It says that Indonesian police officer Imam Setiawan had killed Wayeni on Aug. 9, 2009 on Serui Island. Setiawan got a promotion. He became the police chief of Jayapura. On Oct. 13, 2011 he led the use of excessive force to crack down the Papuan Congress after one of the leaders read out the 1961 Papua Declaration of Independence. Setiawan is now the deputy director of traffic management at the Papuan police department.

Papuan Church Leaders request dialogue during meeting with Indonesian President


by Andreas Harsono

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Vice President Boediono met four Papuan church leaders in Yudhoyono's private library on Dec. 16, 2011. The Papuan priests presented a letter with several recommendations to Yudhoyono. ©Frederika Korain

FOUR PAPUAN church leaders met Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Vice President Boediono and several cabinet members as well as Indonesia’s military commander and its police chief in President Yudhoyono’s private residence in Cikeas, outside Jakarta, on Friday Dec. 16.

They included Rev. Jemima M. Krey (chairwoman of the Evangelical Christian Church in Papua or Gereja Kristen Injili di Tanah Papua), Rev. Benny Giay (chairman of the Kingmi Gospel Tabernacle Church or Gereja Kingmi di Tanah Papua), Rev. Socratez Sofyan Yoman (chairman of the Alliance of Baptist Churches in Papua or Persekutuan Gereja-Gereja Baptis Papua) and Rev. Martin Luther Wanma (chairman of the Indonesian Christian Bible Church or Gereja Kristen Alkitab Indonesia). Frederika Korain, a Papuan human rights activist and an Australian National University student, also joined the delegate.

The meeting was initiated by the Communion of Churches in Indonesia (Persekutuan Gereja-gereja di Indonesia) whose board members also took part in the meeting: Rev. Andreas Yewangoe (chairman), Rev. Gomar Gultom (secretary general) and Rev. Phil Erari (deputy chairman).

The church leaders handed over a seven-page letter to President Yudhoyono, asking the Indonesian government to have a dialogue with the people of Papua. They also asked Yudhoyono stopping the Matoa Operation in Paniai, Papua, which had caused 14 dead and some burned villages on Dec. 12.

Other recommendations included retrieving non-organic troops from Papua, releasing Papuan political prisoners and annulling the Government Regulation No. 77/2007 which bans the Morning Star flag.

They also declared that the 2001 Special Autonomy in Papua had failed. They questioned the establishment of the Unit to Accelerate the Development of Papua and West Papua provinces (UP4B) without the participation of the Papuans, calling such a move “non democratic.”

Benny Giay told me Saturday that the meeting was taking place for more than two hours. “It really hurt me when knowing our church members were attacked, their villages being burned, while we’re here in Jakarta.”

Giay came from the village Onago on Lake Tigi in Paniai, near Edadu, where the Indonesian military and police have been organizing a joint military operation since Dec. 13.

They also told President Yudhoyono that most native Papuans have suffered from Indonesian rule since Indonesia took over New Guinea in 1962. Violence created much suffering on the people. They said most Papuans aspired to be separated from Indonesia.

In front of his guests, Yudhoyono immediately asked Indonesian police chief Gen. Timur Pradopo to stop the Matoa Operation. He also mentioned that U.S. President Barack Obama and State Secretary Hillary Clinton had raised the issues of human rights violations in Papua.

Yudhoyono welcomed such a dialogue but he reminded his guests that as president he has to keep the territorial integrity of Indonesia. He promised to enforce the law in Papua and to stop human rights abuses. Yudhoyono promised to have another dialogue with the four reverends in the third week of January.

Rev. Martin Luther Wanma, chairman of the Indonesian Christian Bible Church or Gereja Kristen Alkitab Indonesia (blue batik), Rev. Benny Giay, chairman of the Kingmi Gospel Tabernacle Church or Gereja Kingmi di Tanah Papua (black jacket), Rev. Socratez Sofyan Yoman, chairman of the Alliance of Baptist Churches in Papua or Persekutuan Gereja-Gereja Baptis Papua (light grey jacket) and Rev. Jemima M. Krey, chairwoman of the Evangelical Christian Church in Papua or Gereja Kristen Injili di Tanah Papua (black blazer) and Rev. Gomar Gultom of the Communion of Churches in Indonesia (brown batik) talked straight to Indonesian leaders. ©Frederika Korain

The meeting began at 9pm and ended at 11.30pm at Yudhoyono’s private library. Gomar Gultom organized a press conference at the office of the Communion of Churches in Indonesia Saturday morning.

Both Yoman and Giay are under the Indonesian military watch list. An Indonesian military document leaked in August 2011 revealed that Kopassus agents were closely monitoring Giay and Yoman.

Another leaked letter dated April 30, 2011, from the Indonesian military commander in Papua, Maj. Gen. Erfi Triassunu, to the provincial governor, Barnabas Suebu, also shows a military interference in civil society in Papua.

The letter accuses Rev. Benny Giay’s Kingmi Gospel Tabernacle Church of trying to build an exclusive organization based on Papuan ethnicity, which Major General Triassunu viewed as a potential separatist movement, and suggests having the military mediate a conflict between the Kingmi Church (Gereja Kemah Injil or Kingmi Church) and the Indonesian Gospel Tabernacle Church (Gereja Kemah Injil Indonesia or GKII). The letter also urges that if deliberations cannot resolve the conflict, “immediate action” should be taken. Since the letter came to light, Major General Triassunu has publicly apologized for accusing the church of being a separatist organization, claiming a faction of the church had asked for assistance from the military.

Yawan Wayeni

Giay told me that Yudhoyono was surprised when seeing the photo of a dying Papuan activist Wayan Wayeni on the letter. They told him that Imam Setiawan, the Indonesian police officer who led the attack against Yawan Wayeni on Serui Island, in August 2009, was later promoted to be the police chief of Jayapura. In his new position, Setiawan used excessive forces when cracking down the Papuan Congress in October 2011 and arrested around 300 Papuans. But Setiawan got another promotion despite a written warning for his abusive behavior. He’s now the deputy director of traffic in Papua.

Original Letter from West Papuan church leaders on presented at President Yudhoyono’s private residence in Cikeas, outside Jakarta, on Friday Dec. 16, asking the Indonesian government to have a dialogue with the people of Papua. (Bahasa Indonesia: English translation currently unavailable) :

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