Protest demands expulsion of Yapen police and military chiefs for brutal policies

from the West Papua Media team

May 23, 2012

After tens of thousands of Papuans staged mass rallies across West Papua in May 1, 2012, a radical change of tactics by Indonesian security forces has ignited fears in the civilian population throughout the region, according to Papuan peace and justice activists.   Serui, the main town on Yapen Island (off the north coast of Papua) has become a “hot spot” for major military and police operations using intimidation and terror tactics against the local Papuans, local sources told West Papua Media on Wednesday.

On May 23, a peaceful demonstration organised by activists from Manokwari (on the mainland) and Serui was held to express people’s concern about intensifying Police brutality against civilians.

This month, many unconfirmed reports from local activists have documented a steady increase in fear and trauma by the civilian population across Yapen Island stemming from security operations.  Mass rallies have been held to protest the situation but according to organisers, the rallies – expected to number thousands of participants – were not well attended because the extreme violent confrontational policies of the security forces caused many people to stay home due to fear.  Unconfirmed reports from local stringers told West Papua Media that for several days leading up to the demonstrations, shots were fired at night to threaten the locals.

The rally organisers were not permitted to rally but the demonstrators audaciously braved police threats to express their concerns, according to sources in Serui.  Before the rally began at 9am local time, a joint-force Indonesian Police and Army (TNI) conducted a search/interrogation operation, targeting every Papuan who passed through from Mantembu to the gathering place.

Despite heavy security blockades in place preventing many from attending, the demonstration proceeded smoothly from 10am to 1pm local time with up to 1000 people defying Indonesian occupation forces threats of violence..

Amongst the demonstrators, Selpinus Waroy (30) was arrested after the police took his mobile phone and found images and video footage of prior mass rallies.  Police told the organisers that he was to be released by 7pm local time but Waroy had not been released when the article went to press.

The West Papua Media team telephoned Kapolres (Serui Police Chief) Roycke Harry Langie several times for comment, but the Kapolres said that he was not convinced that the call was made from Australia but  instead was from Indonesia. He refused to comment on any questions and hung up.

Marthen Manggaprouw, one of the organisers of the peaceful demonstration, expressed his deepest concern about the Indonesian security forces’ ongoing vicious conduct.

“Even though, the Indonesian military and police continue to intimidate us; continue to terrorize us; we will continue to raise our voices and exercise our democratic right through peaceful means to show the security forces to learn about respecting Papuans as human beings and not animals.”

The demonstrators called for the DPRD office in Yapen District to seriously consider the Indonesian Police’s atrocious behaviour and expel the Head of Police, in Serui Regency, Royce Harry Langie S.IK MH, and the District Military Commander (DANDIM), Letkol Inf. Tornado, for violations of the Code of Conduct with the Indonesian military and police regulations.

They also demand the recognition of the Federated Republic of West Papua, declared at the Third Papuan’s Congress, October 19, 2011 and called for the immediate release of all political prisoners, and release of the ‘Jayapura Five.’


Sharp increase in international concern about Papua

Indonesia’s human rights record reviewed at UN Human Rights Council

TAPOL press release

London, 23 May 2012 – Today, Indonesia’s human rights record was reviewed by the UN Human Rights Council during the 13th session of the Universal Periodic Review in Geneva, Switzerland. Concerns about human rights in Papua increased sharply since the last review in 2008, with a significant number of member states raising concerns about freedom of expression, human rights defenders and political prisoners in the region.

“While Indonesia today said it is using a ‘welfare and development’
approach in Papua, the continued presence of thousands of troops and
dozens of political prisoners suggests otherwise,” said Paul Barber,
Coordinator of TAPOL.

TAPOL and United for Truth (Bersatu Untuk Keadilan, BUK) submitted a
report to the review process, making recommendations to improve the
human rights situation in Papua by ending the stigmatisation of
peaceful political activity, repealing repressive legislation and
releasing political prisoners.

Concerns raised by TAPOL based on inputs from local NGOs were picked
up by a number of Member States during the review. Switzerland and
Mexico were among those States questioning Indonesia’s worrying human
rights record in Papua, joined by regional neighbours New Zealand and
Japan. The United States called for action on Indonesia’s repressive
treason laws, backed by Canada and Germany who further called for the
release of peaceful political prisoners.

While Indonesia today announced that it intends to issue an invitation to the Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression, Mr Frank La Rue, it was unclear whether he would be guaranteed free access to the Papua provinces.

Restrictions on access for foreign media and civil society were
challenged by a number of States including France and Australia, while Germany called for immediate access for the ICRC, who were ejected from Papua in 2010.

“The international community has today sent a clear message to Indonesia that the human rights situation in Papua is totally unacceptable,” noted Barber. “With increasing regional and international engagement on the issue, the pressure is on for Indonesia to provide a meaningful response.”

Police who shot Papuans in Degeuwo must be arrested, says Imparsial

JUBI, 22 May 2012

The Indonesian Human Rights Monitor, Imparsial in Jakarta has urged the police in Papua to arrest those members of Brimob, the police elite force who shot five Papuans in Location 45, while they were engaged in panning for gold in Degeuwo on Wednesday 16 May.

The director of Imparsial Poengky Indarti furthermore said that the involvement of Brimob in this matter was a violation of the regulations, and even more regrettable was the fact that people had been shot and wounded, one of whom had died.

She said that Brimob is a force which was set up to handle major conflicts, not to deal with minor infringements like unauthorised panning of gold, and to face the possibility of attack from abroad. Brimob is regarded as para-military.

The five men who were shot and hit on Wednesday were: Melianus Abaa, 40 years old,who was shot from behind, the bullet penetrated his chest and he died as a result; Lukas Gegepa, 30 yrs, who was shot in the stomach, Alpius Kegepa, who was shot in the right arm, Amos Kegepa, 30 yrs, who was hit in one of this legs,  The fifth man who was shot was Yulianus Wegepa, who was shot in the back.

Translated by TAPOL

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