50 Years of the Violation of Basic Human Rights in West Papua: Part one and two

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.
(End of part on and  two of the translation.)
Translated by Carmel Budiardjo, founder of Tapol

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