Monthly Archives: July 2012

Concern about journalists alleged to be serving TNI interests

Bintang Papua, 17 July, 2012

Eleven journalists working in Papua are alleged to be passing on information to TNI, the Indonesian army. In response to this report, the Jayapura branch of the Alliance of Independent Journalists, AJI, said:

‘AJI is very concerned  that a number of Papuan journalists  may be agents of the military. If this is true, it would significantly damage the reputation of journalists who are neutral and who consistently serve the interests  of the general public,’ said Viktor Mambor, chairman of AJI-Jayapura.

He said that journalists should carry out their activities in the interest of the general public, in conformity with Press Law/1999 and should not be acting for certain groups or institutions. According to the Press Ethics Code, they must at all times be objective, accountable and transparent.’

The fact that eleven journalists may be assisting the TNI is having a detrimental impact on those journalists who work in conformity with the ethical code because people may very well suspect these other journalists of  working in the interests of certain interests or institutions. ‘This is  serious precedent  and the public could very well regard all journalists as failing to be neutral and transparent. This is very serious indeed,’ he said.

He went on to say that AJI has carefully investigated the claims that some journalists are serving the interests of the military.  ‘We will investigate these claims while at the same time warning all journalists  to work clearly within the terms set by UU/1999.’

Earlier, the website Umaginews.com reported that a number of journalists in Papua are suspected of being military agents.. They include journalists  in the print media, the radio, online, as well as in local and national TV. As a result, many journalists were worried, fearing that they could be suspected of not being neutral or independent.

[Translated by TAPOL]

Statement from the International Parliamentarians for West Papua on the Escalating Violence in West Papua

West Papua flag
West Papua flag (Photo credit: lussqueittt)

P.O. Box 656, Oxford, OX3 3AP England, U.K.Date: : July 22nd 2012

Statement from the International Parliamentarians for West Papua on the Escalating Violence in West Papua

To: Mr. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, President, Republic of Indonesia
Mr. Andi Matalatta, Minister of Justice and Human Rights, Republic of Indonesia
Mr. Hendarman Supandji, Attorney General, Republic of Indonesia
Gen. Bambang Hendarso Danuri, Chief of National Police, Republic of Indonesia

As members of the International Parliamentarians for West Papua, we voice our concerns over the escalating violence in West Papua, especially in Wamena and Jayapura.
We are saddened by the recent murder of West Papuan independence leader Mako Tabuni and we express our sincerest condolences to his family and friends. We call on you to conduct a thorough investigation into Mako Tabuni’s death.

We are also concerned by the recent re-imprisonment of Buchtar Tabuni and his colleagues, Jufri Wandikbo and Assa Alua, and the continued imprisonment of Filep Karma, an Amnesty International recognized prisoner of conscience, who was sentenced to 15 years in prison for raising the Morning Star flag at a peaceful protest.  We ask you to release and to drop all charges against these detainees and others who have been held for peacefully expressing views. We also request your help in assuring that Mr. Tabuni and his colleague be released immediately from custody, as we have further concerns that he may be at risk of torture and other ill-treatment.

We call on you to allow foreign journalists and humanitarian organizations entry into West Papua in order to provide a comprehensive report of the human rights situation there.

As the International Parliamentarians for West Papua, we support the indigenous people’s of West Papua’s call to a genuine act of self-determination, a right which was not recognized in the 1969 Act of Free Choice. We are therefore deeply troubled by your government’s suppression of political activity in West Papua. We urge you and your government to end the violence in West Papua, by listening to West Papuans call to self-determination, rather than attempting to silence them.

Signed,

Andrew Smith, MP (United Kingdom)
Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion House of Commons (United Kingdom)
Lord Richard Harries (United Kingdom)
Dr. Russel Norman, MP (New Zealand)
Jamie Hepburn, MSP (Cumbernauld and Kilsyth, Scotland)
Catherine Delahunty, MP (New Zealand)
Bill Kidd, MSP (Glasgow Anniesland, Scotland)
Hon. Ralph Regenvanu, MP (Port Vila, Vanuatu)
Cllr Alex Sobe (Leeds City Council)
Eugenie Sage, MP (Aotearoa)
Cate Faehrmann, MLC Green MP (Australia)

Is Australia funding Indonesian Death Squads? Densus 88 in West Papua

Statement by the West Papua Project, Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Sydney, 16th July, 2012

Questions are being asked about the role that the partly Australian funded
and trained elite Indonesian police squad, Densus (Detachment) 88, has
played during the recent violence in West Papua. Set up in the wake of the
Bali terrorist bombings, Densus 88’s mandate was to tackle the rise of
domestic terrorism in Indonesia. Australian support might have been
motivated by revenge as well: 88 Australians were killed in the Bali attack.
While acclaimed for capturing or killing known and suspected terrorists,
Densus 88 also gained a reputation for extreme violence: many suspects being
killed rather than arrested. Now reports are suggesting that Densus 88 is
operating in West Papua, possibly clandestinely, and has been responsible
for the assassination-like killing of Papuan political activist, Mako
Tabuni, on June 14.

Detachment 88 troops firing live rounds at civilians during the brutal crackdown on the Third Papuan People’s Congress, October 19, 2011 (West Papua Media video still)

While Indonesian National Police spokesman, Saud Usman Nasution, has denied
Densus 88 is operating in West Papua he has left the door open for their
involvement, saying in the Jakarta Globe on June 27, “Densus will be
deployed if terrorism occurred there.” However other reports, for instance
from Kontras Papua, a local human rights organization, state that Densus 88
is already operating in West Papua “carrying out undercover activities”
(Cenderwasih Pos, June 23). Kontras Papua believes that Densus 88 was
involved in the Tabuni killing – where the victim is reported to have been
standing in the street eating betel nut when three unmarked cars pulled up
nearby. With no provocation a person emerged from one car and shot the
victim dead.

Police report that the victim had tried to snatch a weapon from the
plainclothes police involved and was killed in the resulting fracas. Police
also claim that Mako Tabuni was wanted for a series of shootings that had
occurred in Jayapura over the previous few weeks: a claim that seems
unlikely given his role as Deputy Director of KNPB (the West Papua National
Committee), which is a non-violent political organization. Tabuni had also
been publicly calling for an independent investigation into the recent
shootings of which he was accused. Nonetheless, any charges should have been
heard in court and given due legal process, now impossible with Tabuni’s
death. Other reports of Densus 88 activities in West Papua have come from
respected Papuan leaders. Reliable sources observed Densus 88 police arrest
KNPB member, Zakeus Hupla, in the lobby of the Dhanny Hotel, Entrop,
Jayapura, on the morning of June 23. Other reports indicate further arrests
of KNPB members by Densus 88 and their subsequent torture. According to
family members, no arrest warrants were issued by Indonesian police for
these arrests, and the Jayapura police deny that the KNPB members are in
their custody. Indeed it is unclear if these men have been arrested,
abducted or ‘disappeared.’

These events are of genuine interest and concern to Australia because
Australian taxpayers’ money is spent training and maintaining Densus 88.
This organization has a legitimate role to play in countering the rise of
terrorism, but it should act strictly within its organisational mandate. If
Australian taxpayers are indeed partially funding a clandestine force
involved in killings, abduction and torture of Papuan activists an
unacceptable situation has developed. These events and allegations must be
comprehensively investigated and all funding for Densus 88 frozen until
either the allegations have been disproved or the individual police officers
guilty of crimes arrested and tried in an open court. We call on the
Australian government to immediately halt the funding of Densus 88, to
investigate the claims of its misconduct, and to apologise to the Papuan
people if they are proven to be true.

WPNA demnstration will call for greater concern from the government

Tabloid JUBI,
9 July 2012

Jayapura: The aspirations of the Papuan people for Papua to become a zone of peace are becoming increasingly difficult to achieve. Imprisonment, killings, corruption, terror and acts of intimidation against the civilian population are now occurring in  Papua but no one knows who will take responsibility for all these things.

In response to this situation, the West Papua National Authority (WPNA) and other pro peace and anti violence organisations decided to organise a peaceful demonstration on Tuesday this week, calling on the Indonesian government and the Papuan  people to spare no efforts in resolving the conflict in Papua and to seek a solution as quickly as possible in the interests of peace, justice and order for the Papuan people and the Indonesian people now living in the Land of Papua.

‘All of us who feel these concerns  should join together in a peaceful demonstration to mourn he current situation. When will there be pease in Papua,’ said one leaflet that has been distributed widely in Jayapura.

The co-ordinator of the demonstration Sius Ayemi said that they would organise the demonstration under the slogan: ‘Papua Mourns’.on Tuesday, 10 July from 9am until late in the afternoon.They will not allow people in the demonstration to bring alcohol or  sharp implements which could lead to anarchy. and disorder.

One of the leaflets says:  ‘Dont just think about us or our organisation but ask yourselves  when will there be peace in Papua?’

[Translated by TAPOL]

New supermarket in Jayapura triggers complaints about goods on offer and price differentials

Bintang Papua, 9 and 10 July 2012

[Comment: This report reveals the continuing tendency to promote businesses from outside Papua while failing to advance the interests of local Papuan producers. TAPOL]

Many complaints about price differentials at newly open supermarket in Jayapura

Although the supermarket  Hypermart Jayapura has only recently open its doors to the general public, many people who have purchased goods have complained that there has been a huge differential  between the prices marked on the shelves and the prices of the goods when they reach the cashier to pay for their purchases. As a result people who have been shopping at the new store are being advised to take care about their purchases to avoid losing a lot of money.

One shopper who spoke to Bintang Papua said  that she was charged at the cashier for something costing Rp 91,000 although she hadn’t even purchased the product. Other shoppers made similar complaints. In once instance, the shopper was charged  Rp. 105,000 for cooking  oil while the oil normally costs only Rp. 29,000. Other shoppers complained of striking differences in the prices they were charged.

In most cases, the shoppers were able to get refunds from the store after complaining. A store manager said that they would give refunds to anyone complaining about price differentials.

In a subsequent article, Bintang Papua reported that demands were being made by many people for the supermarket’s licence to trade to be revoked, because the terms of the licence which had been agreed in Jakarta with the business had been violated.

Some people complained that many of the vegetables and fruit that were offered for sale had been imported from outside West Papua or even from abroad. Indigenous Papuans who were able to produce these products in large quantities had not been able to compete with the many products on offer at the store. Another complaint was that the store was selling alcohol

The Indonesian Consumers Association said that there was no need for foodstuffs to be imported from outside Papua or from abroad because they were readily available in the Land of Papua and would enable local producers to compete in the local market. Taking supplies from local producers would also help to improve the level of welfare of the Papuan people

[Abridged in translation by TAPOL]