Category Archives: Press Release

Police should investigate the collision which killed Robert Jitmau now

Robert Jitmau, a respected Papuan activist who fought for the rights of Papuan women market traders, died in the early hours of May 20th, after being hit by a car. While the incident may have been entirely accidental, many people in Papua are concerned that the police have assumed this conclusion before conducting a proper investigation to eliminate the possibility that his death was deliberate.

The press release translated below, from the legal team following up the incident, can be read at http://papuaitukita.net/polisi-segera-selidiki-kasus-penabrakan-robert-jitmau/

Police should investigate the collision which killed Robert Jitmau now.

Press Release: Legal team for the case of Robert Jitmau, killed in a car crash.

Jayapura, 27 May 2016

On the morning of 20th May 2016, Robert Jitmau died after being hit by an Inova car bearing a police numberplate (DS1497 AO) on an entrance to the ring road in Hamedi, near Jayapura.

Before the crash, Robert Jitmau had been picked up from Entrop by Yusup Sraun and Alpius Jitmau, and then went towards Dok V and afterwards to the TVRI station in Bhayangkara. From Bhayangkara Robert and his two friends went to the Hotel Aston where Yusup Sraun got out of the car to met Krispus Kambuaya at the hotel. The four men then went towards Entrop and then to the ring road. They used two cars, with Krispus Kambuaya travelling alone.

Shortly after arriving at the ring road, Robert Jitmau called two companions, Nehemia Yarinap and Melianus Duwitau, asking them to come to the ring road. Shortly after 04.00am the two friends arrived at the Ring Road on motorbike taxis. Robert sat down and chatted to them. The crash which killed him took place shortly afterwards.

The police have told local media that the crash which killed Robert Jitmau was completely accidental. They have also stated that they have questioned witnesses Yusup Sraun, Krispus Kambuaya, Nehemia Yarinap and Musa Rujatobi, as well as three people believed to be responsible for the crash: Herep Patay (the owner of the vehicle with police number plates DS1497 AO), Ronald Edwin Metiaman and Dolfinus Abraham Sefia.

In the police statement to the media the police didn’t mention that:
1. There was a fight between one of Robert’s friends, Nehemia Yarinap, and someone who got out of the car that crashed into him.
2. The police have not yet questioned another friend, Melianus Duwitau, who was at the incident location. Melianus Duwitau is still being treated in the Dian Haarapan Hospital as he was also injured in the crash.
3. Also, the whereabouts of Alpius Jitmau are still unknown, even though he was a witness who was present when the incident took place.

Unfortunately however, the police have been too fast to draw the conclusion that Robert Jitmau’s death was a purely accidental traffic collision, even before all the witnesses to the incident had been questioned.

The police have been given the authority to unearth the facts, and have a duty to conduct a full and professional investigation, prioritising the truth and justice over all other interests.

Because of this, the Legal Team for the Robert Jitmau case are asking the police to carry out a thorough, full, comprehensive and transparant investigation of this case before coming to any conclusions about the collision which killed Robert Jitmau.

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RSF: Indonesian president fails to keep media freedom pledges in first year

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Reporters Without Borders is very disappointed by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s performance as regards freedom of information and media freedom during his first year in office.

Despite the democratic hopes raised by his election, Joko Widodo’s presidency is far from meeting expectations with regard to access to information,” said Benjamin Ismaïl, the head of the Reporters Without Borders Asia-Pacific desk.

The authorities continue to suppress information and Jokowi’s campaign pledge to open up the West Papua region to foreign journalists was just an illusion. If journalists can go there – under certain conditions – they are closely watched, exposing their sources to reprisals by the authorities.

The former governor of Jakarta, Jokowi began his term well. His inauguration on 20 October 2014 was followed a few days later by the release of French journalists Valentine Bourrat and Thomas Dandois.

Bourrat and Dandois had fallen victim to Indonesia’s restrictive practices in West Papua (the western half of the island of New Guinea) and were sentenced to two and a half months in prison for violating Indonesia’s draconian immigration laws by doing a report there after entering the country on tourist visas.

Their fixer, Areki Wanimbo, was only released after being held for eight months.

Ever since annexing the West Papua region in 1963, the Indonesia authorities have restricted access for foreign journalists because of acts of violence against civilians and the government’s crackdown on the separatist movements operating there. The few journalists managing to visit the region, which is an information “black hole,” have been closely watched.

On 10 May, Jokowi announced the lifting of the ban on foreign journalists going to the West Papua region. The opening of Indonesia’s most secret region to journalists was one of the campaign promises made by Jokowi, who even told journalists that “there’s nothing to hide”.

The decision allowed New Zealand’s Maori TV to do a report on the ethnic Papuan community for its “Native Affairs” programme. This was the first report of this kind in more than 50 years.

But there is no guarantee of lasting access to information in the region. Certain army factions that have profited from Indonesia’s occupation are expected to continue to oppose media coverage. It is also highly unlikely that the authorities will let journalists investigate all the human rights violations that have taken place since annexation.

Jokowi’s announcement – made while Indonesia was in the international spotlight following the death sentences pass on seven foreigners for drug trafficking – has all the hallmarks of a smokescreen designed to fob off international public opinion and add some temporary gloss to Indonesia’s image.

While foreign reporters are no longer openly targeted in the West Papua region, the authorities still have their fixers and sources in their sights. Two fixers working for a French journalist were arrested and questioned by the police at the start of this month.

The authorities also restrict the freedom of local journalists. Abeth You, a reporter for the TabloidJubi.com website, was attacked by police on 8 October while covering a demonstration in Jayapura, the West Papua region’s biggest city. It was organized by Solidarity for Victims of Human Rights Violations in Papua.

After the police bundled You into a truck, an officer seized his camera and deleted all his photos – all the while threatening him with his gun. Even when they have press cards, local journalists covering demonstrations continue to be treated by the police as demonstrators.

Coverage of certain sensitive subjects also continues to be closely controlled in the rest of Indonesia. British journalists Rebecca Prosser and Neil Bonner are still awaiting a verdict in their trial after being arrested for reportedly filming a reenaction of pirates attacking an oil tanker in the Malacca Strait, near Singapore.

Rear Admiral Taufiqurrahman said shortly after their arrest that “what they were reenacting (…) could tarnish the image of the Malacca Strait as a crime-prone area.” The two journalists have been held since May under Indonesia’s immigration laws.

In a couple of months, we will know whether Jokowi’s presidency has caused Indonesia to fall in the 2016 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.

Benjamin Ismaïl

Head of Asia Desk
Reporters Without Borders

Greens: Foreign Minister more hollow than parody on West Papua

Media Release

Dr Richard Di Natale – Greens Senator for Victoria

June 6, 2013

 Australian Greens Senator, Dr Richard Di Natale, has condemned the Australian Foreign Minister’s comments in Senate Estimates where he blamed the escalating tensions in West Papua on the international human rights movement.

“Senator Carr’s comments are a clear acknowledgement that human rights abuses, killings and incarceration of political prisoners in the province of West Papua are escalating but rather than show leadership he has blamed people like me who are campaigning for an end to the violence,” said Senator Di Natale

“To imply that I am in some way responsible for the atrocities inflicted on the West Papuan people and to label my advocacy for the West Papuan people as the ‘Greens latest cause de jour’ and ‘a cruel deceit by self-indulgent people’ is both offensive and patronising.

“It is patronising to the people of West Papua, who are not taking their cues from me but are actively engaged in a local movement for self-determination. It also makes me wonder what Minister Carr thinks about the many Australians who campaigned for an end to violence in East Timor or for Nelson Mandela to be freed from prison.

“Filep Karma is currently serving a 15 year prison sentence simply for flying the West Papuan Morning Star flag but according to Minister Carr, any foreigner who flies a flag as a way of highlighting this injustice is ‘planting in the minds of people who actually live in the place, the notion that this campaign has some sort of international resonance’.

“Uncannily, an old episode of the show Hollowmen aired last night on ABC and it focused on Australia’s response to human rights abuses in West Papua. Surprisingly, even though it is supposed to be a parody demonstrating how best to give the impression of action while doing nothing, the response on the show was stronger than what we’ve actually seen from Labor.

“The time has come for Australia to step up and ensure that the continued Australian funding of the Indonesian defence forces only continues if we see an end to the human rights abuses in the region.”

Footage of Senator Di Natale’s questions to the Foreign Minister and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade can be viewed here:

 

Media Contact:         Andrew Blyberg 0457 901 600

After 15 years of reformasi, repression in Papua is putting more people behind bars

Press Statement  from NAPAS

May 13, 2013

SPP-HAM  – Solidarity for Upholding Human Rights – organised an action today in Jayapura Town in order to call upon the State to accept responsibility  for the death of three civilians in Aimas, Sorong district and for the arbitrary arrest of three civilians in Sorong, Biak, Mimika and Jayapura.on 30 April and 1 May this year.The action began at 8.30am outside the Cenderawasih University (UNCEN) in Waena and the UNCEN Campus  in Abepura as well as outside the Cultural Expo  in Waena district of Heram, Jayapura Town.The action was forcibly disbanded by units of the Police  (Brimob Dalmas Polresta and Polda Papua) and four people who were taking tpart n the action were arrested..They also tortured a student from UNCEN. The arrests and torture occurred in front of the UNCEN bus station.

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The four people who were arrested and tortured were:

1) Victor Yeimo, 30 years old (Responsible for the action)
2) Marthen Manggaprouw, 30 years old (Responsible for the action)
3.) Yongky Ulimpa 23 years old, a participant in the action.
4)  Elly Kobak 17 years old, a participant in the action.
5) Markus Giban, a student at UNCEN, 19 years old who was beaten with a rifle butt which broke his right hand and who is now being treated in the Abepura General Hospital.

The participants were forcibly dispersed for  not having permission from the police. On the previous day, 8 May, the committee of SPP-HAM had sent a request to the  police stating that the action would be peaceful  (00/SP/PAN-SPHAM-UTSN/V/2013) but the request was turned down on the grounds that the Solidarity Movement has no statutes of association (AD/ART) and has been registered at the Kesbangpol Agency of the Province of Papua.

We regard this reason as being groundless because the SPP-HAM is not a permanent organisation but simply a humanitarian solidarity group which was set up by human rights activists in response to the 1 May Tragedy when three civilians were killed, so there was no need to  register with the Police (Kesbangpol). Furthermore, the police action was a restriction of people’s rights of assembly and expression which are guaranteed in the 1945 Constitution Article 28, para E sub 3 and sub 8, and which are also regulated in Law 9/1998 on the freedom of expression to state one’s opinion in public, in particular Articles 1 and 2.

The forcible dispersal of the action on that day and the arrest of 4  human rights activists is but a small portrayal of the clamp down on democracy by the repressive and oppressive government. This is not the first time that such a thing has happened; it has become a regular feature of police behaviour. This proves that there is no space for democracy  in Papua.

The reality of democracy  represents a setback in the fifteen years of reformasi in Indonesia. Reformasi in Indonesia cannot progress if the space for democracy in Papua is closed. Out of respect for basic human rights and the advancement of democracy in Papua and in Indonesia, we members of NAPAS (National Papuan Solidarity) call upon and urge the government:

1:    To end the forcible dispersal and arbitrary arrest of human rights activists and students.

2:    To release the four civilians who were arrested today.

3.     To open up the space for democracy for the Papuan people to grant permission for a special rapporteur from the United Nations  to carry out investigations in Papua  as well as giving access to national and foreign journalists.

NAPAS also strongly condemns the abysmal commitment of the government and State to the principles of Basic Human Rights , especially to the Papuan people. Papua is today  the face of democracy in Indonesia , as well as the face of the Indonesian Government  towards the Papuan peope.

Jakarta, 1 May 2013

National Papua Solidarity (NAPA)

Zely Ariane. Co-ordinator

STATE VIOLENCE WHICH PARALYSES COMMUNITIES IS INTENSIFYING IN THE LAND OF PAPUA: Press Release by KINGMI Church and Papuan Alliance of Baptist Churches

PRESS RELEASE

LEADERSHIP WORKING FORUM OF PAPUAN CHURCHES

STATE VIOLENCE WHICH PARALYSES COMMUNITIES IS INTENSIFYING IN THE LAND OF PAPUA

As leaders of churches in the Land of Papua, we are deeply concerned about the state violence which is occurring in our  sacred motherland. This is clear proof of the fact that the government and the security forces  have failed to provide protection for the indigenous Papua people. These concerns of ours have already  been conveyed by our communities in the following statements:

(a)    The eleven recommendations made by the Consultation of the Papuan People’s Council (MRP) and the Indigenous Papuan Communities on 9-10 June 2010;

(b)   The Joint Communique of Church Leaders on 10 January 2011;

(c)    The Theological Declaration of Church Leaders  on 26 January 2011, and

(d)   The Prophetic Message by Papuan Church Leaders to the President of Indonesia on 16 December 2011, in Cikeas, Jakarta.

Similar concerns have been expressed by member countries of the United Nations (the USA, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Canada, Norway, South Korea, Japan, France, Germany, Mexico, New Zealand, Australia Spain and Italy) on the occasion of the 23 May 2012 session  of the Human Rights Council (UPR) in Geneva, Switzerland.

Based on the above facts, we believe that the Indonesian Government and the security forces  are part of the problem of violence which has been created by the State, preserved by the state and allowed to continue in order to legitimise yet more acts of violence in the Land of Papua and to take advantage thereof in order to strengthen the security forces.

We regard these developments as a reflection of [Generative Politics] which was described in an article by Nugroho published by The Jakarta Post on 10 July, 2012. According to Nugroho, generative politics are political views and considerations which have paralysed and worsened the situation of Papuan communities and which have been pursued  in accordance with the policies  of the Indonesian Government for the past fifty years.

Herewith is a list of several incidents of violence that have systematically and structurally been perpetrated as a reflection of the generative politics mentioned above:

  1. On 2 March 2013, a priest named Yunus Gobay (male, 55 years old) was tortured and mal-treated and after being released, he paid ransom money to the police forces in the Police Command Post in the town of Enarotali, Paniai.
  2. The shooting incident in Sinak, District of Paniai, Tinginambut, Puncak Jaya on 21 February 2013 and the shooting incident  in Udaugi on the border of the District  of Delyai on 31 January 2013 when a number of civilians and members of the security forces were killed, which in our opinion happened  because of the neglect of the unlawful sale of weapons.
  3. On 15 February 2013, Dago Ronald Gobay (male, 30 years  old) was arrested  in Depepre, district of Jayapura by the police and while being interrogated was tortured in the office of police intelligence in Jayapura.
  4. The attempt by the government and the security forces to forcibly disband a religious ceremony which was being held on the 4th anniversary of National Committee of West Papua (KNPB) on 19 November, 2012 in the STAKIN ASSEMBLY HALL, Sentani, on which occasion the security forces were under the command of the Police Chief of Jayapura, AKBP Roycke Harry Langgie and the deputy of the District Head (Bupati) of the District of Jayapura, Robert Djoenso D, SH.
  5. The unlawful murder of Mako Musa Tabuni, first chairman of the NKPB on 14 July 2012 in Perumnas, Jayapura.
  6. The murder of TPN/OPM General  Kelly Kwalik by police from Densus 88 and a member of the Indonesian army (TNI) on 16 December 2009 in the town of Timika, and on the same day and month in 2012  another Papuan Hubertus Mabel was murdered  by police of Densus 88 in Kuruku, the town of Wamena.
  7. Ferdinand Pakage was tortured in Abepura Prison by Herbert Toam, a warder at Abepura Prison, on 22 September 2008, as a result of which he was permanently blinded in the right eye.
  8. The torture and murder of Yawan Wayeni on 13 August 2009 by the police chief in Serui, AKBP Imam Setiawan.
  9. Two incidents of gross violations of human rights  in Wasior in 2001 and in Wamena on 4 April  2003, the latter of which is related to the assault on an ammunitions dump; this incident has been investigated by Komnas HAM (National Commission of Human Rights), but the results of which have not been forwarded by the Attorney General to the Human Rights Court for a verdict.

These are just a few of the cases which are evidence of crimes which have been perpetrated by the Indonesian state and the security forces in a systematic, well-structured, widely-based  and prolonged way and which are reflective of the generative politics (paralysis, destructive, eliminating) which, according to Nugroho in his Jakarta Post article of  10 July 2012, have been perpetrated by the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia in the Land of Papua for the past fifty years, since 1961.

Bearing in mind all the very disturbing facts given above and the living experiences of the indigenous Papuan people, we church leaders in the Land of Papua, make the following recommendations:

Firstly, the Indonesian Government and the security forces should return to the original aspirations of this country by investigating and  putting an end to  the unlawful sale of weapons and ammunition which is happening in the Land of Papua.

Secondly, the Indonesian Government should speedily take cognisance of the prophetic messages from the Church, the eleven recommendations of the MRP on 9-10 June 2010 and the Appeal by members of the UN Human Rights Commission at its session  23 May 2012.

Thirdly, we believe that the Indonesian Government is responding in a very discriminatory way to the aspirations of the Papuan people for peaceful dialogue.  We therefore press the Indonesian Government to enter unconditionally into a dialogue based on the principle of equality between Indonesia and West Papua, with mediation by a neutral party, which is what happened in the dialogue between GAM (Gerakan Aceh Merdeka – the Aceh Liberation Movement) in Aceh.

Fourthly, the Indonesian Government should unconditionally release all political prisoners in Papua and should allow  a visit to Papua by the Special Rapporteur  of the United Nations, as well as by foreign journalists and human rights defenders. And it should forthwith end all its efforts to criminalise the political struggle of the Papuan people for self-determination.

Fifthly, the shooting to death of members of the TNI as well as civilians which occurred in the district of  Sinak, Puncak Jaya and in the district of Tingginambut, Puncak Jaya on 21 February 2013 should be regarded  as a separate incident. It was in no way connected to the election of the bupati (district chief) of the district of Puncak. This violent incident  is part and parcel of  state policy to build the necessary infrastructure for the TNI and Polri (the police) in the mountainous interior in order to establish the Puncak Jaya 1714 military command, to increase the budget for the security forces and  to criminalise the peaceful struggle of the Papuan people at the international level.

Sixthly, the Chief of Police in Papua, Inspector-General (pol) Drs M  Tito Karnavian, MA, has failed to investigate who it was who perpetrated acts of violence in the Land of Papua and has created the impression that he is allowing the illegal sale of weapons to go ahead. We urge the chief of police in Papua to implement the statement made by the chief of police, Inspector-General Bekto Suprapto in December 2010 that those who are responsible for the entry into West Papua of illegal weapons will be investigated.

Seventhly. we call on all Papuan communities and all components in society to study the laws in force regarding the TNI and Polri, in order to be able to control criminal actions as well as the policy of the Indonesian government and security forces  in the Land of Papua.

Port Numbay (Jayapura), 6 March 2013

Chairman of the Synod of KINGMI Church, Papua:

The Rev. Dr Benny Giay.

Chairman of the Executive Board of the Alliances of Baptist Churches in Papua:

Socratez Sofyan Yoman

End of translation by TAPOL