Daily Archives: June 9, 2012

Amnesty: Investigate military attacks on villagers in Wamena, Papua

8 June 2012
Index: ASA 21/020/2012
Indonesia: Investigate military attacks on villagers in Wamena, Papua

The Indonesian authorities must ensure a prompt, independent and impartial investigation into reports of unnecessary and excessive use of force including firearms by security forces in Wamena, Papua province.

In the afternoon of 6 June 2012, two soldiers on motorcycles reportedly ran over and injured a 3 year-old child playing by the side of the road in the village of Honelama in Wamena. Villagers who witnessed the incident chased the soldiers and stabbed one to death and injured the other.

In retaliation, two trucks of soldiers from army battalion Yonif 756/Wamena arrived at Honelama village not long after and reportedly opened fire arbitrarily on the village killing one person, Elinus Yoman. According to reliable local sources, soldiers also stabbed around a dozen people with their bayonets. In addition, soldiers reportedly burned down dozens of homes, buildings and vehicles during the attack. Many of the villagers have fled the area and are afraid to return to their homes.

Amnesty International acknowledges the difficulties faced by security forces in Indonesia, especially when confronted with violence. Persons suspected of committing violent crimes, including against members of security forces, must be brought to justice. However, suspects must be identified individually for arrest and prosecution in accordance with the law – there is no place for collective punishment and random, vindictive violence.

The power of law enforcement officials to use force is restricted by relevant international human rights law and standards, the basis of which is the need to respect and protect the right to life. This right is provided for in Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Indonesia is a state party, which also provides that this right must never be derogated from, including in times of emergency. The right to life is also provided for in the Indonesian Constitution.

If the investigations find that the security forces committed unlawful killings or used force unnecessarily or excessively, then those responsible, including persons with command responsibility, must be prosecuted in civilian courts in proceedings which meet international standards of fairness.  Victims must be provided with reparations.

Credible reports of human rights violations committed by the security forces continue to emerge in the provinces of Papua and West Papua, including torture and other ill-treatment, unnecessary and excessive use of force, including firearms, and unlawful killings.

Despite a public commitment made by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in February 2012 that cases of human rights violations would be “legally processed and perpetrators penalized”, investigations into reports of abuses by security forces are rare and only a few perpetrators have been brought to justice.

The lack of accountability is exacerbated by the failure to revise the Law on Military Tribunals (Law No. 31/1997). Military personnel charged with human right offences are tried in military courts. Amnesty International has expressed concerned about the lack of independence and impartiality of these trials.

Amnesty International urges the Indonesian government to address the culture of impunity in Papua by taking the necessary steps to ensure that all security forces responsible for human rights violations are held accountable. The government must also immediately revise the Law on Military Tribunals so that military personnel suspected of offences involving human rights violations can be investigated and tried in an independent civilian judicial system and victims and witnesses provided with adequate protection.

Yapen: major military sweeps and abuses against ordinary villagers intensify

June 8, 2012

by West Papua Media

Information has been received from human rights sources on Yapen Island alleging that major security sweeps and blockades of villages home to non-violent political activists are causing mass

A senior police officer in Serui told West Papuan activists that 140 more Kopassus personnel  have been deployed from Jayapura, with two more companies of Brimob paramilitary police to be sent from Biak, reinforcing a significant build-up of military strength since April aimed at smashing West Papuan non-violent resistance to Indonesian military occupation.

The district of Angkaisera, east of Serui (14 villages), has been subject to an ongoing complete blockade and village raids by Indonesian security forces from June 7, preventing freedom of movement, and causing thousands of civilians to seek refuge in the jungle without food.   This military psychological operation known by local West Papuans as a “show force”, no-one has been able to gather to express their opposition to this brutal behaviour in front of the local parliamentary office of the DPRP.

It is being reported that seven people have been arrested today, reportedly under charge of Makar (subversion).  The names and places of those arrested are not known at this stage.

On June 8 at 12pm local time, a truckload of Riot Police (Dalmas) and joined by plain clothes militia and intelligence agents, went to Wadapi village where reports of intimidation were made.  The militia and riot police went back to Wadapi at 8pm together with 3 truckloads of joint taskforce army and police, and have occupied the village.  According to West Papua Media’s stringer in the area,  the joint-force occupied the village while drunk.

Angkaisera has been surrounded with security forces for the last two days, according to local activists.  Report have also been received that several political activists have been issued with letters to demand presentation to the local Indonesian police.  Governor of the Yapen district for the Federal Republic of West Papua alternative government, Daud Abon, has been issued a second warning letter to hand himself into police.  If he does not comply he will be hunted with full force, together with all other political activists in the area, according to the letter.

At the time of writing, news was received that raids were underway across Angkaisera district by joint-forces of TNI,Police and Detachment 88, together with special forces of Kopassus, and Kostrad Strategic Reserve commandos from the Pattimura division based in Maluku, the Hassanudin divisions from Makassar, and the Siliwangi division from West Java, who have reportedly all been sent to Yapen.  It is not known if these reports indicate entire battalions or just specialist companies from each division.  West Papua Media has not been able to independently been able to verify these reports, as if correct will indicate a deployment of five battalions of fully armed combat forces, numbering some 7500 soldiers.

Further raids are expected to be carried out at 3 am local time  in Anotorey and Mantembu villages, according to activists who are reporting that local people are terrified and very alarmed for their safety.



Videos and latest figures from Wamena provide evidence of Indonesian army rampage

June 8, 2012
(updated June 10)
West Papua Media
Credible and trusted West Papua Media sources have provided video clips (below) that show the extent of destruction caused by the rampage of soldiers from the Indonesian Army (TNI) Battalion 756 in Wamena on June 6.
The soldiers, who ran amok in retaliation for the fatal beating by Wamena residents of two soldiers that killed a small Papuan boy in a motor incident, left a trail of destruction and violence across Wamena after a night of brutal and indiscriminate shootings, beatings and arson that has left at least 9 dead, 19 seriously injured, thousands homeless, and caused thousands of residents to flee to the relative safety of surrounding mountains.
According to local independent human rights activist Roni Lokbere, soldiers were firing indiscriminately at any Papuan they saw.  “Anyone in sight of police and soldiers who have the black and curly hair, it is not forgiving – just automatic firing action,” said Lokbere in a message with videos sent to West Papua Media.

“We make these reports based on true facts, the actions of the TNI and police officers who are arrogant and abusive, that ignore the principles of humanity and justice,” said Lokbere.

Human rights workers in Wamena have identified a number of victims so far, but they report there are still many victims to be identified, with military and police personnel blockading the hospital to prevent relatives access to those who sustained injuries.  This policy is causing great concern from local people that Indonesian security forces are committing further human rights abuses at the hospital in Wamena on survivors of the rampage.

According to fresh but separate unconfirmed reports received by West Papua Media, medical staff are being threatened by heavily armed military officers at the hospital, and soldiers and police including Australian-funded Detachment 88 counter-terror officers are directly interfering in the provision of treatment.

This information was provided at great risk by paramedics to Papuan human rights activists,  describing the scenes of terror and intimidation still occurring at the hospital in Wamena.

At time of writing only members of the local Nduga tribal clan had been formally identified as dead, with several other tribes including Susa people, represented amongst an unknown number of total casualties.  Many of those injured received significant wounds, and with the deliberate interference to medical treatment of the wounded by security forces, the number of dead is expected to rise.

Those formally identified are:
  1. Jairus Lokbere, Nduga tribe, an unarmed member of Battalion 34/ TPN (Tentara Pembebasan Nasional/ National Liberation Army) Komadan Inije Kodap;
  2. Kisiurt Kurungga, 21, villager;
  3. Metiuspus Telenggen, 26, villager;
  4. Elianus Bugiangge, 45, villager;
  5. Pianus Tabuni, Nduga tribe, Civil Servant
  6. Enus Lokbere, Nduga tribe,  Local legislator of DPRD;
  7. 2 children aged 12 and 13 in local school “holiday village” (boarders staying in school “village” during holidays as their families cannot afford return to rural homes)
  8. A man who died in the hospital who was not identified due to extent of facial injuries from beating with rifle butts.
In addition, over 20 Lani tribespeople have sustained serious injuries from gunshots and beatings during the rampage, though their condition is not yet known at time of publishing.  The names above are only those being treated in hospitals in Wamena and all are people from Nduga tribe.
Due to the evolving situation and ongoing repression of local people and human rights investigators by Indonesian security forces , it must be stressed that these names are not fully confirmed, however West Papua Media has received this information from trusted sources,
More information as it becomes available

AHRC: Prison guards tortured 42 prisoners and detainees at Abepura correctional facility in Papua

June 8, 2012

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information regarding the torture of 42 prisoners and detainees by prison guards at Abepura Correctional Facility on 30 April 2012 following an argument between one of the detainees, Selfius Bobii, and the Head of the Abepura Correctional Facility (Abepura Kalapas). The prisoners were beaten, kicked, hit with wood blocks as well as iron sticks and some of them were trampled by the prison guards. Their personal items were taken away and burned. The torture and property destruction took place under the order of the Abepura Kalapas.

According to several local NGOs such as The Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violance in Papua (KontraS Papua), Sekretariat Keadilan, Perdamaian dan Keutuhan Ciptaan (SKPKC) Fransiskan Papua, Papua Legal Aid Foundation (LBH Papua) and Elsham Papua, around 12pm on 30 April 2012, the prison guards at Class II.A of the Abepura Correctional Facility were going to put back and lock the detainees and prisoners in their cell. Amongst them was Selfius Bobii who was detained and received punishment for his involvement in the Third Papuan Congress in October 2011. Selfius had asked the Head of the Correctional Facility’s Security Unit (KPLP), Juwaini, for a permit to hold a creative activity with other prisoners but his request was dismissed by the KPLP. This led to an argument between him and the Abepura Kalapas, Liberti Sitinjak, who heard the conversation of Selfius and one of his staffs.

The argument between Selfius and the Kalapas ended with an order from the Kalapas to the prison guards to put Selfius into isolation. Selfius avoided the prison guards and insisted that he should not be isolated as he has not done anything wrong.

Other prisoners who were at their cell witnessed this and they also yelled at the prison guards asking them to put Selfius back to his cell instead of to the isolation. Their requests were ignored and the prison guards put Selfius in an isolated area. The prison guards later went back to the cells where the prisoners were yelling. The guards were offended with what the prisoners said so they took them out of their cell and beat, kicked and hit them with fists, wood blocks and iron sticks. The prisoners were also whipped with thick ropes supposed to use for controlling cows. They were also dragged to the yard in front of the block and were asked to walk whilst they were crouching for about 200 metres. As they were doing this, the guards kept beating and kicking them. The guards stepped on some of the prisoners and detainees’ fingers and toes. The guards also kept saying to the prisoners ‘you are all stupid, that is why you ended up here’. The torture and ill-treatment took place for about two and a half hours, approximately from 12.30-3.15pm. There were 41 prisoners in total who were treated this way by twenty prison guards. Two prisoners Hendrik Kenelak and Otto Ikinia fainted and one, Parmen Wenda, had his arm broken.

Before the prison guards put the prisoners back to their cell, the Kalapas asked them to search the cells and took away their personal belongings  and later burned them. Selfius was brought to the Papua Regional Police Station and was questioned. He did not receive any ill-treatment whilst he was there and was later sent back to Abepura Correctional Facility on 3 May 2012.

Principle 6 of the UN Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention and Imprisonment explicitly prohibits the use of torture and ill-treatment against persons whose liberty are deprived. The principle also emphasises that no reason can be used to justify any state officials to conduct torture and ill-treat prisoners. These principles are in accordance with the provisions under the UN Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UN CAT) to which Indonesia is a state party since 1998. Yet although Indonesia has ratified the UN CAT, torture itself has yet to be criminalised in Indonesia in order to end the ongoing practice. For this reason, at the first and second Universal Periodic Review of the UN Human Rights Council’s session on Indonesia, several countries urged the Indonesian government to criminalise torture and to reform its Penal Code in accordance with its international human rights obligations.

The absence of articles making torture a punishable crime in Indonesia contributes to the low investigation rate seen in torture cases in Indonesian criminal procedure. Torture is often deemed merely as a violation to disciplines for which, in the majority of cases, the perpetrators received inadequate or no punishment. Military officers who tortured several Papuans in 2010 as shown in a video distributed on the internet, for instance, were sent only to 8 to 10 month imprisonment for disobedience but have not been held accountable for the torture they committed.