Daily Archives: September 8, 2013

Leading Indonesian NGO Condemns the continued use of Treason Charges against Papuans

by ALDP (Alliance  for Democracy in Papua)

Opinion/Statement

September  6, 2013

68 YEARS SINCE INDONESIA BECAME INDEPENDENT, TREASON [MAKAR] IS STILL BEING USED AGAINST PAPUANS.

The  Indonesian people recently celebrated the 68th anniversary of their independence on 17 August 2013.   What lessons can we draw from this anniversary in order to resolve problems faced by our people who experience so many problems in various parts of the country,  especially in regions where there is conflict such as Aceh and Papua?

Especially with regard to Papua, it is not acceptable for the articles about treason  to be used any more.   This is because for a country that is now based on democratic principles, it clearly violates these principles.  Furthermore, the law on treason which is still included in Indonesia’s Criminal Code is no longer used in the country where it originated [The Netherlands].  The continued use of these articles will only widen the gap between Papua and Indonesia and lead to acts of violence because of  feelings of revenge about history, or may cause friction between different groups of people.

These articles on treason are always held ready for use against activists or anyone who demands justice and the right to express their views in public, in accordance  with the right to freedom of expression.

The treason articles were first included in the Criminal Code in the 19th century. The Dutch Minister of Justice adamantly refused a move to include an article on treason which could be applicable to anyone.  He said:  ‘These articles should be enacted to meet the needs of a colonial territory and should not be applicable to  European countries.’

The articles on treason were adopted by the Dutch colonial government and were based on Article 124 of the British Indian Penal Code.  In 1915. The Indian Supreme Court and the East Punjab High Court declared that they were invalid because they contradicted the Indian Constitution which upheld the principle of freedom of expression.  In The Netherlands, these articles were regarded as being undemocratic.   However, the Dutch East Indies government made use of the articles in their colonial territories.

In this day and age, several decades after Indonesia declared its independence, these articles should no longer be applicable to citizens of the country, including Papuans, bearing in mind that Papua is not a colony of Indonesia. {Eds – This statement does not reflect WPM’s position}

In judicial terms, treason is a unilateral act against the authorities, for the purpose of ensuring that part of its territory falls into enemy hands or should be ceded in order to become part of another state.

The crime of treason  is regulated under Articles 104 to 129 of the Criminal Code – KUHP.  Treason is also classified as a crime against the president and vice-president [the head of state and/or the head of a rival state], against the legitimate government or against government agencies, being involved in espionage on behalf of the enemy, resistance to government officials, rebellion and other activities that are directed against state interests.  Treason is also committed against the government (the head of state and his/her deputy) for the main purpose being to render an individual incapable of governing, to annihilate the country’s independence, to overthrow the government, to change the system of governance by unlawful means, to undermine state sovereignty by  separating part of the country on behalf of another country, or to create an independent state.

The crimes of spreading hatred or incitement are dealt with in Articles  154, 155 and 156 of the Criminal Code. These articles state that ‘public statements which express feelings of hostility or are offensive to the government’ are regarded as crimes as well as public statements which support such sentiments. These articles are punishable for up seven years.

During the era of the late President Soeharto, these articles were frequently used to restrict freedom of expression. They were also used against political opponents, critics, students and human rights defenders in order to silence them. The people in power used these articles like rubber, something which can be pulled in any direction as a way of restricting the right to freedom of expression.

Nowadays, in {after} the era of ‘reformasi’, the articles are frequently used to bring charges against pro-democracy activists.  In Papua. They are used in every way possible against pro-democracy activists on occasions when it has not been possible to charge them for involvement in treasonous activities.

In a report published by Human Rights Watch (HRW) in 2007, ‘Protest and the Punishment of Political Prisoners in Papua’ , Indonesia was mentioned as one of the countries where exceptions and restrictions apply that are in conflict with the basic principle of freedom of opinion. HRW drew attention to the many cases of people being arrested and imprisoned simply because they took part in peaceful protest or for peacefully raising flags. This is in violation of international law on basic human rights.  Indonesian courts frequently apply the law on ‘spreading hatred’ or ‘incitement’  towards people who are exercising their right to freedom of expression. These clauses also violate the spirit of the Indonesian Constitution which was adopted when the country became independent in 1945.

There is a tendency in Papua for a court, having been unable to prove that treason was committed, to use the crime of incitement. The articles about treason  were used when Indonesia was a Dutch colony to charge individuals or groups of people with rebellion. But these days, ‘the articles on treason are used against the civilian population when they publicly express their aspirations,’ said Harry Maturbongs, the former co-ordinator of KontraS.

A lawyer in Papua, Gustaf Kawer, said that the tendency of courts and prosecutors to use the charge of incitement when they are unable to prove that treason has been committed, is a sign that the court is apprehensive and wants to avoid the possibility of people who have been charged making counter-charges against the state, where the case against them had not be proven.

It is often the case that pro-peace Papuan activists who are brought before the courts are charged on several counts for a variety of misdemeanours.  In the trial of Buchtar Tabuni in 2010, he was charged under five articles.  Article 106 and Article 110, as well as Article 160, Article 212 and Article 218, for treason, for incitement and for disobeying an order by an official.  Another group of people were sentenced and convicted for treason. Forkorus Yaboisembut and his colleagues were arrested by the police for organising the Third Papuan People’s Congress on 19 October, 2011.  [After formally declaring the establishment of an independent Federated State of Papua] ‘President’ Forkorus, along with his Prime Minister Edison G. Waromi, were arrested with others who were involved in organising the Congress, Dominikus Surabut, Agus M. Sananay Kraar and Selfius Bobii. They were charged by a team of prosecutors headed by Yulius D.

Even today In 2013, the treason article continues to be used. A group of men were recently charged. They are Klemens Kodimko (71 years old), Obeth Kamesrar (68 years old), Antonius Saruf (62 years old), Obaja Kamesrar (52 years old), Yordan Magablo (42 years old), Hengki Mangamis (39 years ) and Isak Klebin (52 years old) . They were charged at the first hearing of their trial in a court in Sorong on Monday, 19 August 2013.

A spokesman for the police in Papua, I Gede Sumerta Jaya, said that the men were charged with treason because they are leaders of the OPM (Organisasi Papua Merdeka) or of radical groups that are active planning or speaking out in favour of resistance to the legitimate government.

Earlier this year, on 30 April, hundreds of people gathered at a posko  [a small construction] which they had  just set up. They sang together as they gathered there on 30 April to make preparations to celebrate 1 May on the following day.  While they were singing, shooting was heard aimed in the direction of the posko. The shots came from some people aboard an avanza vehicle with darkened windows, accompanied by a police patrol vehicle.

[Translated by TAPOL]

Local villagers demand “Shut Down Forest Destroying Oil Palm Companies in Nabire”

from AwasMifeee and Majalah Selangkah

September 4, 2013

A leader of the Yerisiam Ethnic Group in Nabire, on the north coast of West Papua, is once again calling for support and advocacy as two oil palm plantations move on to his people’s land.  Simon Petrus Hanebora’s press release, as reported by Majalah Selangkah, is a forthright accusation against the companies, claiming they are clearing land without the necessary permissions, and against local government bodies, believing their complicity is due to corruption. It is also a cry for attention and support, as the Yerisiam people’s see their forest being
cut down around them, and left to rot on the ground.

Aside from the Merauke mega-project, the oil palm industry in Papua seems about to explode, as new land for plantations becomes harder to find in Sumatra and Kalimantan. Initial data collected by awas MIFEE indicates that companies are processing applications for new plantations in Keerom, Jayapura, Sarmi, Nabire, Serui, Bintuni, Sorong, Fak-fak, Kaimena, Timika and Boven Digoel as well as Merauke. It appears that in many of these cases, local indigenous people are not informed and their opposition disregarded, in a similar way to what is clearly happening in Nabire.

Shut Down Forest-Destroying Oil Palm Companies in Nabire!

“Oil palm companies in Nabire Regency must be shut down now!” exclaimed the head of the Yerisiam ethnic group, Simon Petrus Hanebora in a press release sent to Majalah Selangkah.  He once again appealed for the developments affecting the Yerisiam ethnic group over the past year to be monitored.  Two oil palm companies, PT Nabire Baru and PT Sariwana Unggal Mandiri, have exploited and illegally logged the Yerisiam people’s customary land, with the local government turning a blind eye.

According to him, the effects of the two companies is already proving very worrying. “Wood, rattan and wildlife are cleared away or killed without any accountability,” he wrote in a press release sent to www.majalahselangkah.com. “And the plantation operations are fraught with problems.  A conflict has broken out between people who are in favour and those who are against the plantation, forest tenure rights have not been obtained, and there is also the problem of the
Environmental Impact Assessment from the Papuan Provincial Environmental
Impact Management Agency.  But the company’s operations carry on regardless,” he continued.

Areas that have been logged over include sacred sites and sago groves and reach right up to the shoreline. Thousands of commercially valuable cajuput trees and rattan have been abandoned and buried where they fell.  However the two  companies do always seek out ironwood or merbau (the most sought-after trees)

Letters to responsible institutions such as the Nabire District Representative Council, Nabire Forestry Service, Nabire Plantation Service, Papua Police Chief and Environmental Impact Management Agency have never been heeded, making it seem as if motives of private gain are lurking in the background.

“This is what makes us, the indigenous Yerisiam people, uncertain where next we should bring our grievances about this issue and stand up for our rights as indigenous people”, he wrote.

“We are circulating this press release so that the public can know what is going on and also to address the parties listed below, so that it can be followed up by a field investigation and advocacy.  It is to remind people that the situation in the Yerisiam indigenous people’s land right now is very troubling.” wrote the tribal chief, showing his concern for the fate of his people and the land of their ancestors.

This was followed by a statement of demands on behalf of the Yerisiam people.  The first demand was for the National Human Rights Commission from Jakarta, the Indonesian police chief, and associated bodies to carry out an investigation and advocacy around how the provincial and local governments, PT Nabire Baru and PT Sariwana Unggal Mandiri have deviated from the law, and so must now be held accountable for the thousands of logs felled and abandoned.

Secondly, to ask the Corruption Elimination Commission to investigate the Merauke Regency Leader, Representative council, Forestry and Plantation Services, and the two companies, because there is evidence of bribery and dishonesty, and because it seems that these institutions are providing legitimacy for oil palm plantations which are causing many real problems for the Yerisiam people.

Thirdly, asking the leader of the Nabire District Representative Council, to leave his post before the 2014 general election, because it appears that PT Nabire Baru and PT Sariwana Unggal Mandiri are being allowed to carry our underhand practices that cause suffering for the Yerisiam people, without any elected representatives that will speak out on their behalf.  This is an indication that political interests are at play, whether they are looking for financial gain or to attract the votes of company workers in next year’s election.

“We really hope that relevant parties such as those noted above will try to find a positive solution for the Yerisiam people. It is bad enough that the people of Pravi in Manokwari, Papua Barat Province, have become victims of the oil palm industry. Don’t let the same thing happen to the Yerisiam people,” he said.

Source: http://majalahselangkah.com/content/hanebora-perusahaan-kelapa-sawit-di-nabire-merusak-harus-ditutup-

English translation + introduction: https://awasmifee.potager.org/?p=551

 

JUBI: Discrimination against women must stop

JUBI:  Merauke.
5 September, 2013
A large gathering of people, mostly women, took place in Kampung Matara in the District of Semangga, Merauke to publicise the widespread occurrence  of domestic violence.Several of the women present wondered what happens to complaints made by women about the domestic violence they have suffered because as things stand at the moment, they have no idea about how these complaints are handled. Some of them wanted to know the telephone number of Engelberta, a well-known Papuan woman activist, so that they can phone her and inform her about having experienced domestic violence.

Such  incidents are clearly a serious violation of human rights as laid down in a number of international conventions …. [part of the text is missing at this point].

One participant said that the victims of such violence are mainly women and children. There are incidents when men are the victims but they can be counted on the fingers of one hand.

Engelberta said that the violence in most cases takes the form of physical or psychological violence. The latter refers to situations for instance where there is absolutely no communication between men and women. ‘This must not be allowed to continue, she said.

She stressed the importance of people reporting incidents of violence when they occur. ‘We must put an end to this discrimination against women. Whenever anyone commits an act of violence and behaves as if they can take the law into their own hands, the matter should be reported to  the police. It is the responsibility of the police to take anyone alleged to have committed an act of violence into custody for investigation.

She urged parents to pay close attention to what happens to their children at school or when they are playing together in the streets. These are situations, she said, when many acts of sexual abuse occur. She mentioned in particular a recent incident when a young boy was sexually abused by  an elderly person.

During the discussion, the head of the District of Semangga, Recky Samkakai said that no one, in particular women,  should be afraid of reporting incidents when they have personally experienced an act of violence. Such occurrences should be reported to the local police in order for the case to be handled in accordance with the law.

Translated by TAPOL