Statement by Yan Christian Warinussy, Executive Director of LP3BH, made in preparation for discussions that were due to take place at the beginning of 2014.]
March 10, 2014
As an organisation which advocates basic human rights in the Land of Papua, the LP3BH – Manokwari wishes to record to all those who have remained silent about the conditions now prevailing in the Land of Papua, the experiences of the indigenous Papuan people who have ceaselessly tried to ensure that no-one will forget what has been happening in this territory since 1 May 1963 and what continues to happen systematically up to the present day
To begin with, it is essential to understand the history, in order to understand who it was who was responsible for the status imposed on the Land of Papua on 1 May 1963. The indigenous Papua people have every right to enjoy all the rights that have been stipulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and various international covenants regarding economic, social and political rights as well as other international covenants all of which have been disregarded with regard to the situation in West Papua.
At the time of Papua’s incorporation into the Republic of Indonesia, Ali Murtopo (a senior adviser to the then president of Indonesia) was quoted as saying: “What we want and need is the land in Papua, not the Papuans who live there.”
In 1967, a Contract of Work was concluded by Indonesia regarding the exploitation of the copper and gold and possibly also uranium around the Grasberg Mountain around Tembagapura which was widely known to the Indonesian government as well as a US multinational corporation called Freeport McMoran.
This makes it very clear why the USA played such an active role on the diplomatic front to ensure that West Papua would be incorporated as part of Indonesia, despite the glaring differences between the Papuan people with regard to their history, as well as their anthropology and ethnography and people living in other parts of Indonesia.
It was abundantly evident that the USA was very interested in the natural resources in West Papua which explains why that country took such an interest in this matter.
“Gentlemen, I am angry with God. Why has God created such beautiful mountains, valleys and rivers, rich with minerals and placed us, the indigenous peoples, here in this place that attracts so many people from around the world to come, exploit our resources, and kill us?”
[Translator’s Note: This prayer was said in 1994 by a man who lived on the Grasberg Mountain, who bemoaned the fact that the territory inhabited by Amungme people was so richly endowed with natural resources of huge interest to the USA.]
That man whose name was Tuarek Narkime delivered words that are widely known to and understood* by the leaders and people of the Amungme tribe in drawing attention to the many violations of the rights of these people which were perpetrated in the area when the Freeport mine was being established, during the course of which many Amungme people lost their lives as a result of actions by Freeport personnel as well as by members of the Indonesian army and police, although none of these people have ever been called account before a court of law for what they have done.
These introductory remarks provide the basis for everyone anywhere in the world and all democrats around the world to take a new look at the past as well at the present regarding the acts of violence that continue to occur in the vicinity of the Freeport mine without anyone ever being called to account for what they have done.
Ever since 1963 and 1967, the LP3BH has recorded the fact that the Republic of Indonesia has consistently used violence against the West Papuan people, something that even started to happen before those years.
On 15 August 1962, when the New York Agreement was signed by Indonesia and The Netherlands under the supervision of the United States of America, the Papuan people were not involved’ They were not even consulted for their opinion. Yet, at that time there was a New Guinea Council which consisted of representatives of the Papuan people, the members of which were chosen by means of democratically held elections which took place on 5 April 1961 in Hollandia (now called Jayapura).
[All the names of the members of the Council who were elected, of whom 22 were Papuans, are listed as well as those who were appointed which included one Papuan and five Dutch people, including one Indo-Dutch person.]
Besides that, there were two major religious organisations, – the GKI [Evangelical Christian Church] and the Catholic Church] which were spread across the whole of the Land of Papua. Yet, these churches were never consulted as part of civil society in the territory at the time. This was despite the fact that the UN was involved in the creation of UNTEA as well as The Netherlands and the USA.
What we mean by being consulted is all about the framework and the possible problems that might arise among the indigenous Papuan people who were regarded as being too primitive to take part in an election held according to the principle of ‘one person, one vote’. Were the towns and villages in West Papua too complex for the New Guinea Council or the two churches to choose their leaders? Such advice would have been very useful and important in deciding on on how to conduct the elections in accordance with the traditions and customary laws that were vibrant among the Papuan people. who were supposed to have been consulted by means of the Act of Free Choice which was to have been held by 1969 in the Land of Papua.
There was never any request for advice or opinion from the Papuan people. Still worse, what actually happened was that Papuans were arrested and even cruelly tortured for allegedly being involved in an ‘underground movement’, with the intention of overthrowing the Indonesian Government. This is what happened to Baldus Mofu as a result of which he was mentally damaged at the hands of the military police and members of the Indonesian Air Force in Manokwari. Another Papua, Nicholas Tanggahma is believed to have died after ingesting food that had been poisoned when he was staying at the Arfak Hotel in Manokwari in 1969.
Several other members of the Council such as Marcus Kaisiepo and Nicholas Jouwe were arrested and taken to Europe prior to the Act of Free Choice. Others were treated in the same way, including E.J Bonay, F.K.T. Poana, A.S. Onim and Thontjee Meset.
All these acts of violence were perpetrated by members of the Indonesian security forces, the TNI and Polri. and further intensified as the Act of Free Choice drew near in August 1969.
The LP3BH is well aware of the fact that many activists in Biak, Sorong, Manokwari, Jayapura, Wamena, Nabire as well as in Merauke were arbitrarily arrested by the TNI and Polri some of whom were summarily killed. An example of what happened occurred on 28 July 1969 in Manokwari when 53 Papuans were summarily executed at the headquarters of the Infantry Battalion in Arfak-Manokwari.
Such human rights violations have systematically occurred ever since that time, following the enactment of Law 12/1999. This was clarified in the General Remarks contained in paragraph 1, section 6 which state: ‘The Act of Free Choice in West Irian was a manifestation of the aspirations of the Papuan people and resulted in the people of Papua and West Papua expressing their wish to be united with the people of other regions of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia, affirming that West Papua is part of the Unitary Republic of Indonesia.’
The afore-mentioned statement became the legal basis for the Indonesian Government to enforce paragraphs 109 and 110 in law. This codification was part of the law under the Dutch Constitution [Wetboek van Strafrecht] whenever the government takes firm action against the Papuan people when they challenge ‘Papua’s political integration’.
As a result of all this, every time that people in Papua or West Papua seek to challenge ‘political integration’ using their right to freedom of expression as guaranteed in Law 39/1999
on Basic Human Rights as well as universal human rights, they are accused of the crime of treason under the Indonesian Constitution.
Such incidences occurred in Biak on 6 July 1999 when a group of Papuans unfurled the Morning Star Flag under the leadership of Filep Karma which resulted in his being subjected to acts of brutality by the TNI and Polri and which moreover resulted in dozens, even hundreds, of Papuans falling as victims, some of whom even lost their lives. All this resulted in Filep Karma and his colleagues facing the charge of treason.
Vanuatu Prime Minister Moana Carcasses Kalosil (left) with Papuan journalist
Victor Mambor in Noumea. Photo: Tabloid Jubi
SHAME on New Zealand politicians. With the courageous exception of the Green Party’s Catherine Delahunty, most of the rest offer a shameful silence over Indonesia’s human rights violations in West Papua.
The Melanesian brothers and sisters of the colonised region, forcibly invaded by Indonesian paratroopers in 1962 and annexed under the fraudulent United Nations “Act of Free Choice” in 1969, have suffered under Indonesian atrocities and brutal rule ever since.
But it took the Prime Minister of Vanuatu, Moana Carcasses Kalosil, to take the podium at the United Nations Human Rights Council and condemn Jakarta for its past and ongoing crimes in West Papua, before the world took notice.
This not only shames New Zealand, it also exposes most Pacific leaders for their lack of spine over Papuan human rights.
When Vanuatu became independent from the British and French joint colonial condominium, better known as “pandemonium”, in 1980, founding Prime Minister Father Walter Lini was a champion for West Papuan independence.
Vanuatu Prime Minister Moana Carcasses Kalosil
speaking at the UN Human Rights Council.
Photo: UN Webcast
The country harboured independence campaigners and refugees and frequently spoke up for West Papua in the Pacific Islands Forum.
But in recent years, the Vanuatu government had become derailed from its staunch position and was courting the Indonesians for aid.
Until the outspoken new Prime Minister, a part-Tahitian who is the first naturalised prime minister of Vanuatu, came on the scene a year ago.
Vanuatu refused to be compromised by the window dressing Melanesian Spearhead Group “fact finding” mission to West Papua earlier this year. It boycotted the sham.
‘Litany of torture’
“Since the controversial Act of Free Choice in 1969, the Melanesian people of West Papua have been subject to ongoing human rights violations committed by the Indonesian security services,” he said.
“The world has witnessed the litany of torture, murders, exploitation, rapes, military raids, arbitrary arrests and dividing of civil society trough intelligence operations.
“The Indonesian National Commission on Human Rights (KOMNAS HAM) concluded that these acts constitute crimes against humanity under Indonesian Law No. 26/2000 (KOMNAS HAM 2001,2004).
“In this climate of fear and repression of political dissent, and blatant negligence by the international community including the UN and the powerful developed countries since 1969, we find this forgotten race still dare to dream for equality and justice.
“Yet the democratic nations have kept silent.”
Carcasses said he had come to the UN to call for immediate action:
“Injustice in West Papua is a threat to the principle of justice everywhere in the world. I do not sleep well at night when I know that in 2010 Yawan Wayeni, known as a separatist was videotaped by the security forces as he was lying in a pool of his own blood with his intestines seeping from a gaping wound in his abdomen.
“It concerns me that in October 2010 Telenga Gire and Anggen Pugu Kiwo were tied by the military and were severely tortured. It concerns me when I see the video footage of a group of Papuan men bounded and being kicked in the head by uniformed soldiers who are meant to protect them.
“I am worried because between October of 2011 and March 2013, 25 Papuans were murdered and nothing has been done to bring perpetrators to justice.
“And it embarrasses me, as a Melanesian, to note that roughly 10 percent of the indigenous Melanesian population have been killed by the Indonesian Security forces since 1963. While I acknowledge the 15 years of reform that has taken place, I am also worried that Melanesians will soon become a minority in their own motherland of Papua.
“In a world so now closely connected with innovative technology, there should be no excuses about lack of information on human rights violations that have plagued the Papuan people for more than 45 years.
“Search the internet and research papers by academic institutions and international NGOs and you will find raw facts portraying the brutal abuse of the rights of the Melanesian people in Papua.
“But why are we not discussing it in this council? Why are we turning a blind eye to them and closing our ears to the lone voices of the Papuan people, many of whom have shed innocent blood because they want justice and freedom.”
The people of West Papua are in mourning after hearing of the death
of Dr Muridian Satrio Widjojo, the Co-ordinator of the Papua Peace Network in Jakarta and also a senior researcher at the LIPI’s Political Studies Centre, focussing on National and Local Politics (especially Papua).
The West Papuan people and nation will greatly miss this skilled facilitator between the people of Papua and the Indonesian government, who has long pushed for a Jakarta-Papua dialogue to be held. We will greatly miss someone who has done the people of the Land of Papua a great service, and who has worked hard to bring about a dialogue between Jakarta and Papua.
He has also aided us through breaking down the fortresses that have for so long concealed the Papuan People’s suffering, and he was also the one to whisper in the ears of those who have an allergy to words such as ‘dialogue for peace’ as the right path to resolve the conflict between Jakarta and Papua.
Muridan always stood firm in his struggle for dialogue, despite threats.
Because of the persistence of his struggle for dialogue, groups that
didn’t want a dialogue to happen accused him of being a supporter of
Papuan independence. He was even threatened with being killed because people judged him as meddling with the integrity of the Indonesian State.
On one occasion, when he had made a presentation about the importance of dialogue to resolve the Papuan conflict to a group of generals and ex-generals, he was accused of not being faithful to the Unitary State of Indonesia, and supporting Papua Merdeka.
But Muridan was not afraid of the threats and other challenges he had
to face in the struggle to bring about dialogue.
“As far as I’m concerned, I will never back down as a result of threats
until the two groups (the Indonesian Government and the Papuan people) that have long been in conflict, sit down together at one table to discuss and look for solutions to the Papuan conflict. I don’t speak of Papua Merdeka as the bottom line, or the unity of the Indonesian state as the bottom line, but instead work for the humanity and dignity of the Papuan people to be valued and respected”, he said in a short discussion in his workplace at the end of last year.
News of his death in Depok reaches Tanah Papua
On Friday 7th March 2014 (12:47:11 Jakarta time 14:47:11 in
Papua), Doctor Muridian breathed his last breath in the Mitra hospital
in Depok. The sad news was passed on by Dr. B Shergi, Deacon of the
Social Sciences Faculty of the University of Indonesia and the family
who were at the hospital, via a text message.
This is the message which came to my mobile phone: “Allow us to convey the news that Muridan passed away a few minutes ago, we send greetings of sorrow”.
“The next message came from Yoga, of the Political Study Centre:
“Innalillahi wa inna ilahi roojiun, I just received a message from
Muridian’s wide that he passed away a few minutes ago. May Allah receive his soul and pardon his sins.”
Not long afterwards, I was called directly by his family from the Mitra
hospital, to say that Muridian would no longer be with us. This news was passed on straight away to all kinds of people throughout our homeland of West Papua, especially religious leaders, academics and human rights workers that supported and fought for a dialogue between Jakarta and Papua.
They also responded to share their condolences. Here are a few of the
messages I received.
The first message of condolence came from the Chair of the Executive
Board of the Fellowship of Baptist Churches in Papua, Reverend Sofyan Yoman. “We express our condolences at his passing and we pray for the family he leaves behind, that they will find comfort and strength from God.”
The deputy chair of the synod of the Evangelical Christian Church in the Land of Papua, Rev M. Adadikam also sent a message, “We express our sorrow at Muridian’s death, we pray that his soul will be received by God the Father in Heaven and that He will give strength and tenacity to the family he leaves behind.”
Another note of came from a young academic from Cenderawasih University, Yustinus Butu: “We express our grief at the passing of Muridian, respected researcher and facilitator of dialogue between Jakarta and Papua, now the people of Papua are in mourning but those that are opposed to the dialogue agenda will surely be happy about this news”, he said in tears.
Another message of sorrow came from Markus Haluk, a Papuan human rights activist, “We the people of Papua mourn the loss of Muridian, and pray that the Papuan people will accompany him and give strength to the family he leaves behind.”
Many more messages of sorrow were received from people from all corners of the Land of Papua.
Who was Doctor Muridian Widjojo?
His full name was Muridian Satrio Widjojo, Senior Researcher at the
Political Studies Centre of the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (P2P
LIPI) and observer of Papua, was born in Surabaya on 4th April 1967. He finished his doctorate at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands in 2007, with a thesis titled “Social Movements in Papua and Maluku”, after finishing a Masters degree in Anthropology in the University of Indonesia in 2001 with a thesis about the movement of the Amungme people. His first degree was in French literature in the University of Indonesia (1992)
He was active in writing opinion pieces for national and international
newspapers and magazines and spoke or facilitated international forums for example in the Philippines, Netherlands, Britain and Luxembourg. He is the author of two books: Trust building and Reconciliation in Papua (LIPI) 2006 and Papua Road Map (Negotiating the Past, Improving the Present and Securing the Future), 2009).
‘Selamat Jalan’ to a Hero of Humanity in Papua
We, the whole people of West Papua express our grief at your departure, you left us before dialogue could happen. We are very sorry to have lost your physical presence, but we are sure that your soul and your spirit will live on in the hearts of the Papuan people.
Our prayers, as the people of West Papua, are with you, and we hope that all-holy God will receive your soul and forgive all you sins and give strength and resilience to the family you leave behind. Rest In Peace.
Muridian, who was born on 4th April 1967 in Surabaya, died from
complications in a disease he had been suffering from for some time.
Elias Ramos Petege is a Papuan Human Rights Activist
When foreign journalists are banned from an Occupied Land, who better to tell the story than the people who live it. Your donations support and help deliver training for a free and independent media in Papua, safe from harm from those who want to prevent the story getting out. We are entirely non-profit and rely on your support to continue our work. Please donate generously.
Papuans Behind Bars is a new project to document the cases of West Papuan Political prisoners. That site has profiles of current and former political prisoners and releases monthly news updates on arrests, trials, etc. West Papua Media is proud to be working with Papuan Behind Bars
Background information on West Papua and its history for journalists and bloggers