Letters of solidarity flood in their thousands for Filep Karma

by a Special Correspondent for West Papua Media in Abepura

March 19, 2012

Kontras and Filep Karma's family with some of the nearly 7300 letters sent by international supporters of Karma (Photo: West Papua Media)

Filep Karma, is one of the political prisoners given sentences of 15 years of imprisonment by the government of Indonesia, by raising the Morning Star flag, on December 1, 2004, at Trikora field, Abepura. Ever since a period of 7 years, and 3 months of his prison sentence  have lasted in Abepura prison. During captivity Filep Karma received letters of solidarity sent by the International community through the office of the Commission for missing people and victims of violence in Papua (KontrasPapua).   Nearly 7292 letters of support have been sent in the period of 2011 untill 2012.

Filep Karma inside the prison hospital (Photo: West Papua Media)

United for the truth (BUK) and Kontras Papua held a Press Conference on March 19, 2012, and immediately submit a letter of support to the family representative of Filep Karma. Andrefina Karma,  Filep Karmas second daughter  said ” International Community support is strong solidarity for the freedom of my father, the people there once a month hold a simple campaign in front of the Indonesian embassy and called for the unconditional release of Filep Karma”, she said.

Letters that came from different parts of the world  proved that there is support for political prisoners in Papua. Olga Hamadi, Director of Kontras Papua says”  the government should not close her eyes  for the injustice suffered by political prisoners in Papua, both in conditions of health and food at the prison, which  received less serious attention”, she said. She also denied the statement by the Minister of Justice and Human Rights Republic of Indonesia during a visit to Papua saying that there are no political prisoners in Papua.

Filep Karma is one of  figures of political prisoners who never made a compromise with the Government of Indonesia. He rejected any form of clemency, amnesty, and abolition that is given by the Government. ” If I receive clemency, that means I ask for forgiveness to the government, but I do not feel guilty at all, I am just making a peaceful protest. Indonesia is a democratic country, am I wrong to fight for the basic rights of indigenous Papuans?

“I will continue to undergo a period of detention up to 15 years in prison, if you want to release me, I ask to be released unconditionaly”, Filep Karma said, as he was undergoing physiotherapy treatment in DOK II general hospital.


Ban Ki-Moon gets “diplomatic answers” from SBY over Papua

Ban Ki-moon waves to protestors for West Papua, PIF NZ Sept 2011

by John Pakage for West Papua Media


President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon held a bilateral meeting at the presidential palace in Bogor, West Java, on Tuesday (20/03/2012). In the meeting, human rights abuses in Papua were also discussed.

 UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon certainly knows in detail about the development of human rights abuses in Papua because he sought a diplomatic answer from the President of Indonesia.

 “Papua is Indonesia and we are obliged to maintain its security, but if there are violations of human rights then there is law enforcement action,” said SBY.

 Of course with this kind of diplomatic answer, SBY wants to hide the number of cases of gross human rights that have occurred, and are continuing to occur now in Papua.  Only at few days before the arrival of Ban Ki-Moon to Indonesia, Forkorus Yoboisembut, Gladius Waromi Edison, Augustine M. Sananay Kraar, Selpius Bobii and Dominic Sorabut were sentenced 3 years in prison on Friday (16/3) with charges of treason for forming the state of West Papua.

 The implementation of the Third Papuan People’s Congress went ahead with official permission from the Indonesian government, both from the central government and the police to hold a congress in Jayapura.   But Indonesia’s military attacked and captured civilians at the Congress without first showing any arrest warrant, in accordance with Indonesian regulation.

 Again and again, military and police forces shot live ammunition at civilians at the Congress, inconsistent with legal process, in stark contrast with Yudhoyono’s promises to Ban Ki-Moon at the Bogor Palace.

The multitude of human rights abuses in Papua, which is tightly closed by state policy that prohibits foreign media and international NGOs from entering Papua,  gave rise to human rights lawyer Jennifer Robinson (lawyer for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange) calling on new Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr, to immediately urge Indonesia to open Papua up, and allow incoming international NGOs into Papua to conduct human rights investigations independently (see Radio Australia, March 20, 2012).

Indonesia’s policy to cover up human rights abuses in Papua has been harshly rebuked by Human Rights institutions around the world; (see for instance a press release by Franciscans International, TAPOL, the Asian Human Rights Commission, Faith Based Network on West Papua (FBN) and West Papua Network.)

Legal rights agencies lament the unjust decision facing the five civilians who were detained while organising the Papuan Congress, sentenced to three years in prison.   According to these institutions, the Congress was a form of free expression and a fundamental tenet of democracy for communicating opinions.

In addition, humanitarian agencies deplore the attitude of the Indonesian military who with full weaponry arsenal stormed and attacked the Congress participants. This Indonesian Military attack and killed several Papuan civilians. (See: Franciscans International, Release March 16, 2012.)

 Ban Ki-Moon is certainly more aware now of what has happened in Papua since 1969 when Indonesia invaded Papua.   So SBY’s diplomatic answer  of  “SBY diplomacy” might make the number one person in the world confused.

Ban Ki-Moon also mentioned that South Sudan is an example of an area of extended conflict that has embraced the process of ending its fighting.  The UN successfully held a referendum for citizens to determine their aspirations – and they chose independence from the Sudan.

Of course the conditions of ongoing human rights abuses in Papua, covered up by the state policy of denying access to foreign media and international NGOs to Papua, could by its very nature invite a humanitarian intervention to end the conflict in Papua, with (or without) the Indonesian government.

Detachment 88 and counter-terrorism in Indonesia: The Wire

Detachment 88 and counter-terrorism in Indonesia
Tuesday, 20 March 2012
Produced by Melissa Lahoud
Detachment 88 Indonesia
Story audio

A division of the Indonesian military has shot dead five terrorism suspects over the weekend, who they’ve accused of plotting to attack a popular bar in Bali. The Australian government supports the Indonesian Detachment 88 to fight terrorism, and this division was involved in the shooting.

A daily Papuan perspective of Australian-funded Detachment 88 from Indonesia's occupation forces (West Papua Media)

But there are many critics who blame Detachment 88 for human rights abuses against civilians and question their quick resort to violence.

Featured in story

Nick Chesterfield, editor of West Papua Media group
Peter King, convenor of the West Papua Project at the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies

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