Timika KNPB arrests show Space for free expression ever more squeezed in Papua

[Translation of report received by Timika-based human rights activist.*]

April 5, 2016

Short Chronology

On Tuesday 5th April at 9am Papuan time, the Timika branch of the West
Papua National Committee (KNPB), together with other people from the
Timika area, held “Prayers for the Papuan People’s recovery” in the
Golgota GKII church in SP13. The event also was intended to show support
for progress towards “full MSG membership for the ULMWP”.

Steven Itlay,KNPB, being arrested in Timika by Indonesian Police, April 5, 2016 (photo WestPapuaMedia/local source)
combined police and military, disbanding by force KNPB closing ceremony on April 5, 2016. (photo: KNPB/WestPapuaMedia local source)
combined police and military, disbanding by force KNPB closing ceremony on April 5, 2016. (photo: KNPB/WestPapuaMedia local source)

However officers from the Mimika police, the Densus 88 unit, military
police (provost) and soldiers from the District Military Command used
armoured vehicles fitted with weapons. When they arrived at the site of
the event, all KNPB material was removed, including KNPB flags, flags
of supporting nations Fiji, Vanuatu, Kanaky, PNG and Solomon Islands,
and a banner which read “The Papuan People support ULMWP to progress to
full membership of the MSG”. However, the joint security forces
destroyed the stage which the organisers had prepared. Police officers
and soldiers continued to attempt to break up the prayer meeting, but
the people forbade them from stopping the religious service. The
community and KNPB still wanted to continue the event as planned.

When asked, Timika KNPB chair Steven Itlay said “we are still going to
continue with our prayers for the Papuan people as we had planned. The
prayer meeting was going well, but halfway through, the joint police and
military forces showed up to break up the event and commit acts of
violence against the assembled Papuan people and the KNPB.”

The chief of police from Mimika Police headquarters ordered his staff to
break up the prayer meeting and then arrest the chair of the Timika
KNPB. Steven Itlay and eight other KNPB members were arrested, kicked
and struck with rifle butts, and shots were fired. Afterwards the police
firmly prohibited anyone from taking pictures or video, even
confiscating mobile phones. All army-style clothes worn by KNPB security
were seized and brought to the Kuala Kencana police station. Many local
residents and KNPB members were arrested but their names cannot be
confirmed. This kind of approach brings shame on the authority of the
Indonesian state in the eyes of the international public and is part of
the continuing restriction of democratic space in West Papua.

Names of those arrested

The following are names of people arrested by the joint police and
military forces.
1. Mr. STEVEN ITLAY (Chair of KNPB Timika)
2. Mr. YANTO AWERKYON (Deputy Chair of KNPB Timika)
3. Mr. SEM UKAGO (Secretary of KNPB Timika)
4. Mr. SEPERIANUS EDOWAY (Chair of Yamewa Sector)
5. Mr. O.TINES TABUNI (Chair of Organising Committee)
7. Mr. HUBERTUS DIMI (KNPB member)
8. Mr. NOAK DIMI (KNPB member)
9. Tn. YUNUS NAWIPA (KNPB member)

The community and KNPB believe that:
1. The Mimika Chief of Police must take responsibility for the brutal
treatment of the community and KNPB members, and show respect for our
2. Indonesia must be open to freedom of public expression for Papuan people
3. The international community should insist that Indonesia fully allows
free expression.
4. We indigenous Papuans are not just arrested and imprisoned, but also
shot dead, we are killed by weapons or by food and drink, and every day
indigenous Papuans are dying in the land of Papua.
5. We urge the UN, through its Committee on Decolonisation to take
action to save indigenous Papuans from Genocide!

Timika, 5 April 2016

Translated speedily by folks at Awas MIFEE

One thought on “Timika KNPB arrests show Space for free expression ever more squeezed in Papua

Add yours

  1. why is Indonesia State security forces doing to this Papua if she claimed, its integral part of Indonesia. and if Indonesia is a member to UN then why she doing that to Papua. I wish UN consider the situation Papua let the people choice they way they want to live because it is not good for people to be treated like animal.

Please leave a comment. Keep it nice to other users, and remember, no disrepect tolerated. Yell at the killers, not each other; Criticise the abusers deed, not their race or faith.. And please keep it relevant and punchy.

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