The Past That Has Not Passed: Human Rights Violations in Papua Before and After Reformasi

June 28, 2012

joint report released today by the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) and the Institute for Human Rights Study and Advocacy (ELSHAM-Papua) provides important insight into the ongoing debate on steps required to achieve a sustainable peace in Papua.

Based on more than 100 interviews carried out in 2011 in the districts of Sorong, Manokwari, Biak, and Paniai, the report reviews Papua’s recent history, including the Special Autonomy Law governing the relationship between the Papua province and Indonesia, within a transitional justice framework. It also reveals new information provided in testimonies by victims and witnesses who experienced human rights violations going back to the earliest days of Indonesia’s history as a nation.

“Even as we were conducting this research, new outbreaks of violence and cases of gross human rights violations continued to take place,” said Ferry Marisan, director of ELSHAM. “We interviewed more than 100 victims, many of whom have deep feelings of distrust that are deeply rooted in the past and present experiences of human rights abuse. Official acknowledgement of this violent past is a prerequisite to building peace in Papua,” he added.

“Unless these grievances are not only recognized, but also addressed in a practical way, reconciliation will remain elusive”
Unless these grievances are not only recognized, but also addressed in a practical way, reconciliation will remain elusive. A comprehensive transitional justice strategy could provide effective redress, and should include truth-seeking, criminal accountability, reparations, institutional reform to prevent recurrence of human rights violations, and a focus on the rights of indigenous women.

“The Indonesian government must urgently develop a comprehensive policy for dealing with this legacy of past violations. We are at risk of repeating the past through using force to deal with unrest, instead of opening a process of genuine dialogue. The first step is acknowledgment,” said Galuh Wandita, ICTJ’s senior associate.

Download the full publication here

This joint report by ICTJ and the Institute for Human Rights Study and Advocacy (ELSHAM-Papua) provides important insight into the ongoing debate on steps required to achieve a sustainable peace in Papua. The report reviews Papua’s recent history within a transitional justice framework, and provides expert recommendations on truth seeking, justice, reparations, institutional reform, and enforcing the rights of women victims. Based on more than 100 interviews carried out in 2011 in the districts of Sorong, Manokwari, Biak, and Paniai, the report reviews Papua’s recent history, including the Special Autonomy Law governing the relationship between the Papua province and Indonesia, within a transitional justice framework.

Date published:

GKI Report: Report about violent incidents in Papua between May and June 2012

JPIC Desk, GKI di Tanah Papua

Several violent incidents and shoot outs have occurred almost every day during the last three weeks. Some of the shoot outs have been committed by unknown perpetrators, whereas for some incidents the perpetrators have been found. JPIC has collected, investigated and analyzed several cases, which are described below.

Cases Covered include:

  • A. Mysterious Shootings and Violence against Civilians in May 2012
    • 1. Security Forces attack civilians with firearms at Degeuwo (15.05.2012)
  • B. Incidents related to KNPB Demonstrations
    • 1. Yesa Mirin tortured and killed after escalations at Kampung Harapan (04.05. 2012)
    • 2. Death of Fanuel Tablo
    • 3. Sweeping Operations at Sentani
  • C. Mysterious Shootings and Violence against Civilians in June
    • Brutal Acts of Retaliation by the TNI Batalyon 756 at Wamena (06.06.2012)

For the full report, please download or read the embedded pdf below.

OPM: ‘Three regions are ready to fly the Morning Star flag’

Bintang Papua, 27 June 2012

The OPM’s general coordinator, Lambert Pekikir has announced that three regions in Papua are ready to fly the Morning Star flag on 1 July, the anniversary of the OPM’s military wing, the TPN.

The flag flying will last for three days, along with fireworks. He said that the three regions are Wamena, Keerom and Yapen Waropen. People in Wamena are from the mountains, the people Yapen Waropen are coastal people, while those from valleys and lowland areas live in Keerom.

OPM troops along with  civilian sympathisers will take part in the flag-flying. ‘There will be ceremonies as well, attended by the general public and those struggling for an independent Papua.

‘Our military forces are well prepared for these events and if the TNI and police respond with violence, we are ready,’ he said.

Meanwhile,  the police have issued an ultimatum urging that there is no flag flying.  ‘The Morning Star flag is not a flag of the Indonesian Republic or a regional symbol, and anyone who unfurls that flag anywhere in Papua will be seen as having  violated the law and  will face the consequences in accord with the laws in force in Indonesia.’

The army spokesman, Yohannes Nugroho Wicaksono  called on people not to fly the flag. ‘In the interest of security and order throughout the area of Papua,  we urging people not to be provoked by those who are planning this event.’

Activities undertaken by the police in anticipation of the flag flying on 1 July include intensifying police patrols and sweepings in all police regions. He said that the police have been ordered to act professionally.’

The chairman of Commission A of  the DPRP, the Papuan legislative assembly, Ruben Magai, has called on all the people not to be provoked by unnecessary issues in advance of the TPN anniversary. He hoped that people will continue to engage in their everyday activities, while calling on the security forces not to use violence. ‘The persuasive approach must be prioritised. The best thing would be for all those concerned to sit down and talk, to as to find out what each sides wants.

[Slightly abridged translation by TAPOL]

Giay: West Papua – Land of Mourning, Bloodshed (Peace?) and Humanitarian Intervention

From Kingmi Church  – Papua

edited by WPM for clarity

Also at Numbay Media — posted on Engage Media website

June 28, 2012

Rev. Benny Giay
Diplomatic Briefing, Hotel Trefa
Jakarta, June 27, 2012

Papua Land of Mourning And Bloodshed (Peace????) And Humanitarian Intervention[1]

Rev. Benny Giay

Since May 2012 until June there has been a series of shootings in Jayapura in the context of our struggle to fulfill our “Papua land of peace” dream. The government has claimed the shooting has been carried out by separatist groups. Papuans respond to such claim is as usual: “Oh itu lagu lama. The authorities are playing the old song.”

One way to respond to that “old song” is to look at the root cause of shootings that ended with the killing of Mako Tabuni on 14 June, followed by the arrest of other members of KNPB in Papua a few days ago. In my view this development has something to do with (a) first of all how 2 different actors (Indonesia and Papua) that belong two {separate} cultures (Malay and Melanesia) view themselves and their past. Indonesia’s view is that Papua has become part of Indonesia and has been in contact since 8th century with them. Therefore Papuans are brothers.

Papuans on the other hand believe that it might be true that Papuans has been dealing with the ancestors of the rest Indonesians for several centuries, but that contact occurred in context of domination, slave trade and oppression. The contact between the two parties was one of master – slave  relations. Therefore, Papuans see their past relations with Indonesia (Tidore, Ternate and Maluku etc.) as history of robbery, slavery, destruction of their villages and burning of Papuan community settlements.

Secondly since 1960s when Indonesia took over Papua,  Papuans were viewed {By Indonesians} (and have been viewed until now) as primitives, backward, uncivilized people; and therefore Jakarta since that time promoted itself as the guru, the teacher of new civilization to “lift up socio-economic welfare of Papuans”. Jakarta then formulated what an Indonesian scholar call: migrant biased development policy (which in brief is a policy made by central government to guarantee the interest, safety and future of Indonesian migrants in Papua, while ignoring Papuan identity, culture and their future.) Papuans have no place in such a development scheme. Papuans are non humans. Second class citizens. This Indonesian neo-colonial policy (if we can use that term) was from the beginning up to now has been guarded by security institutions. Papuans who resisted this undemocratic policy has been dealt with by security forces.

Thirdly, as a result Papua has become “site of mourning”, “site of collective trauma”, and a site of oppression and mourning”. Three days of mourning that we had (June 14-16) as we gathered in Post 7 Sentani after the killing of Mako Tabuni, was not a new thing.  We only repeat what our past generation went through since 1960s. Facing such migrant biased development (or Indonesian colonial policy) as shown above, we, Papuans since 1960s are like the Javanese of 1900s Central Java, who were treated as second class citizens by the Dutch (as Indonesian history books say today); or Black South Africans of 1940s who suffered under apartheid policy. In fact this “migrant biased development policy” I think is “an Indonesian version of apartheid racial policy” toward Papuans. Theologically speaking Papuans of today and in the past have  been living under modern Pharaoh or modern Goliath, supported by the international community and multinational companies who had come to Papua and robbed the natural resources, killing off the Papuans.

Fourthly, the killing of Mako Tabuni by Indonesian Police has to be seen in the light of history of Papuan resistance to Jakarta’s migrant development policy pointed out above. Mako Tabuni and other civilians who voiced their right and grievances have been and are stigmatized as separatist. Mako, who was leading a civilian {civil society} group using peaceful means in demanding Referendum, has been seen as a threat to Indonesian political interest. This strategy to stigmatize was used by Erfi Triassunu, former Military Chief, in March 2011. He issued a confidential document saying that Papuan Christian Church (Kingmi – of which I am the Chairman of its Synod) is a religious arm of the Papuan Liberation organization (OPM). Other Church leaders of Papua in September 1966 were accused by security forces in Papua as an umbrella organization of OPM. Similarly Papuan NGOs who {promote advocacy around} human right abuses in the past have been seen in the same light.

The question now is who is behind the shootings that started May? According to Government it is Mako of KNPB, and Mako or KNPB is OPM. I can see the shootings from the point of view 3 actors, each of with their agendas.  First party is Mako or KNPB who represent Papua demanding referendum to deal with new modern Pharaoh. Second actor is a small and insignificant group of international solidarity group with agenda for democracy and promotion Papuan human right. Third actor is Jakarta: who fears the threat of disintegration and panic; not willing to change the approach to Papua; hold on to the sacred doctrine “territorial integrity” with the support of international community”. And that it is OK to use military or Police force to kill or annihilate separatist group to maintain “the territorial integrity”. Looking at the history of civilian’s resistance the shooting since May of this year was carried out by agents of Government to weaken the civilians struggle for referendum using means of non violence. Jakarta’s fear that is the international solidarity groups would promote the cause of Papuan civilians at the international niveau (level).

Jakarta is now on safer ground. They have has shot dead Mako Tabuni whom they accused as OPM agent. But the dream for “Papua: Land of Peace” remains a dream. Police and military are still searching for the members of KNPB. Military and Police are in control. Papua is still a land of mourning, a land of trauma and bloodshed. Modern Pharaohs and Goliath are in control in Papua today.  It is here that we need “third party” as it is in the case of Israelites and Pharaoh (Exodus 3:7-9). Papua need a moratorium”. Now is the time for Papua and Jakarta to formulate “new Indonesia”. But to do this we need a “humanitarian intervention”.

Toch, perpetrators of Human right violations in Papua will never be taken to court. They in fact will be promoted. Paulus Waterpauw (Deputy Police Chief of Papua) and Bigman Lumban Tobing (Papua Police Chief) will follow the footsteps of Col. Hartomo, the Kopassus commander who ordered the abduction and the killing of the late Theys Hiyo Eluay in November 2001; he was promoted last week as another high ranking military elite in Jakarta.

Jakarta, June 27, 2012

Rev. Benny Giay

Ketua Synode Kingmi di Tanah Papua

(Papuan Christian Church)

[1] I am dedicating this reflection to pastors and the ministers of the Lord, in Papuan Church History who were shot dead by Indonesian Security Officers in the past out allegation that they were agents of Papua Liberation Organization.

Flag-flying across West Papua planned for 1 July; Police are ready to respond

Bintang Papua, 26 June 2012

The OPM has announced that it intends to fly the Morning Star flag on July 1, the anniversary of the creation of the TPN, the military wing of the OPM. The flag flying across the territory of West Papua will be accompanied by a fireworks display.

The announcement was made by Lambert Pekikir, general coordinator of  the TPN/OPM from his base, Victoria, on the border between West Papua and PNG. He said that troops of the TPN are preparing themselves for the flag-flying which will continue from 1 – 3 July. The OPM will also read out a statement which says among other things that the UN must accept responsibility for all the violations that have occurred in West Papua.

He also said that civilians throughout the territory, Papuans as well as non-Papuans,  are advised to stay at home so as to avoid any unnecessary things from happening.

In response to the flag-flying plans, the police force in Papua have announced that they are making preparations for this,  and will do everything possible to ensure that no Morning Star flags are flown. A spokesman said that Papuans should not play round with the flag, like children flying kites. The police say that they will take the persuasive approach  and have no intention of using firearms in anticipation of the flag-flying. Police spokesman, AKBP Yohannes Nugroho Wicaksono, appealed to  those groups who intend to flag the flag not to do so.

The police chief has issued an order for no flags to be flown but if any flags are nevertheless flown, they will be pulled down without the use of violence. He also said that in advance of 1 July,  there will be sweepings  [of people’s homes] and patrols by the police will be intensified.

[Translated by TAPOL]

Create a website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: