Category Archives: Statement

Oktovianus Pogau, from a rcent instagram post. (Foto:Okto)

Breaking: Oktovianus Pogau, West Papuan Journalist, dies.

Editorial

by West Papua Media Editors

February 1, 2016

Rest In Peace Oktovianus Pogau.

WEST PAPUA MEDIA INVITES FRIENDS OF OKTO TO SHARE THEIR STORIES OF HIM WITH US, EITHER IN THE COMMENTS BELOW, OR AS A SEPARATE TRIBUTE PIECE.  WE ARE PUTTING TOGETHER A TRIBUTE FOR OKTO’S TOO SHORT LIFE AND WE ARE ENCOURAGING AND WELCOMING CONTRIBUTIONS, ESPECIALLY VIDEO AND PHOTGRAPHIC.  PLEASE CONTACT US FOR MORE DETAILS

West Papua has lost a dearly loved comrade journalist, Oktovianus Pogau, to complications from lung disease, at the Dian Harapan Hospital in Jayapura, West Papua, at around 9.30pm, on Sunday January 31.

West Papua Media expresses the deepest condolences to his family and close friends for the loss of our great friend, a hero of Papua and a crusading journalist.  Many friends of West Papua Media will also be friends of Okto and be familiar with his amazing work.  As a member of the Mee Pago from Intan Jaya district, Okto was a pioneering voice for West Papuan youth, a dedicated and brave journalist who fearlessly covered the aspirations and demonstrations of Papuan desire for liberation.

We counted on Okto as a founding source and undercover journalist, and a key plank of our verification program for fast and accurate international coverage of events in West Papua.

Okto went onto found and become the Editor of www.SuaraPapua.com (Voice of Papua) and http://pogauokto.blogspot.co.id/ , where he daily wrote of Papuan aspirations for liberation, despite a heavy cost, including several arrests and severe beatings by the Indonesian security forces for his tireless advocacy.  One such event caused Okto Pogau to become internationally recognised as a journalist at risk, after he was severely beaten and choked by Indonesian Police at a demonstration in Manokwari on October 23, 2012. Coverage and advocacy of this outrage caused the head of Police to be forced to apologise to Pogau and offer a degree of compensation.  However Okto simply continued on with his work without fanfare.

West Papua Media is also proud to have collaborated with Okto closely for several groundbreaking stories, including his gathering of torture footage in 2010 that changed the international dialogue around West Papua and shone a bright light on the impunity of the Indonesian security forces and their treatment of West Papuan civilians.

Okto had just returned from a journalism fellowship in the United States prior to his sudden severe illness, brought on by respiratory issues that plagued him for most of his life and shared with many of his countrymen.

His body has been interred overnight in the intan Jaya hostel for transport and burial in his home village, and a memorial service will be soon announced.

More to come
West Papua Media

Okto, dear young brother,
you were a friend, a comrade journalist, and unbelievably brave man.  Your dedication for the truth was an inspiration to so many young Papuans who have followed you into the new journalism that tells the truth of Papuan experience and aspirations.  Your words gave voice to the suppressed voice of youth, and you resisted constantly the threats from the Indonesian state to alert the world to both the dreams of freedom and the cries of suffering in West Papua.
Okto, you were a pioneer in so many ways, and were responsible for shining a light on some of the darkest secrets of West Papua’s suffering under Indonesia.  You copped so much suffering yourself from the State, but still managed to tell the story about others.
As a founding source, stringer and adviser to the internationally focused West Papua Media network, you created a new level awareness of the situation in Papua and around the world.
As a child of the Mee Pago, you have made your people very proud.  My deepest sympathies go to your family and friends, and your tribe.  Papua has lost overnight a bright star, but the star will keep shining for many others to follow.
I am deeply sorry brother that your last days were in such pain, but you achieved so much in your young life.  This is a great shock to us all.  Only the good die young.
Farewell young brother, comrade journalist.  You are going to be very sorely missed.
with love and respect for a life full of achievement cut too short.
go well into the light.
Nick Chesterfield
Redaktur/Editor
West Papua Media

The Release of Filep Karma Upholds the Principle of Human Rights in Papua, yet others remain behind bars

Statement by Yan Christian Warinussy, Executive Director of the LP3BH

20 November 2015

On behalf of the Institute of Research, Analysis and Development of Legal Aid – Manokwari [LP3BH], I welcome the release of one of the pro-Papua Merdeka political prisoners, Filep Karma on 19 November 2015.

Bapak [Father] Filep Karma is now a former political prisoner. He was arrested on 1 December 2004 and was sentenced to fifteen years at his trial at the District Court of Jayapura on 26 May, 2005.  Karma was charged for an action under Article 106 and Article 110 of the Criminal Code [KUHP].

He has spent more than ten years in prison for activities that he was involved in in accordance with the principles of the freedom of
expression and the freedom of assembly.  On that occasion, he made a speech and raised the Morning Star Flag on 1 December 2004.  He refrained from any actions of violence nor was he armed with any weapons.

Despite all that, he was one of a number of people who were arrested, imprisoned and charged in a Court of Law by a State that simply ignored his basic rights as a free citizen, entitled to protection under Article 28 of the 1945 Constitution of Indonesia.

During his imprisonment, he was treated in ways that are in violation of humanitarianism and basic human rights that are universally recognised.

The only thing he was doing was to give expression to his opinions that are in conflict with the views of the State.  His actions on that
occasion did not in any way destabilise anything politically or disrupt law and order.

The LP3BH calls on the Government of Indonesia and the Head of State, President Ir H. Joko Widodo to take the opportunity of release
of Filip Karma to launching a series of actions to release all the political prisoners, including those who have been tried (napol), who
are serving sentences in a number of prisons in towns and cities throughout the Land of West Papua.

Take for example the cases of three activists of the KNPB [National Committee of West Papua], Alexander Nekenem, Maikel Aso aka
Yoram Magai and Narko Murib aka Nopinus Humawak who were tried in the District Court in Manokwari.  They too, like Filep Karma, were accused of inciting other people to get involved in activities violating the law and charged under Article 160 of the KUHP, together with Article 55 of the Criminal Code.

At a subsequent hearing in their trial, on 19 November, the Prosecutor called for the three men to be sentenced to two years each, with deduction for the time already spent in prison.

These charges were extremely severe for the three accused who had refrained from perpetrating any acts of violence nor did they incite others to engage in any unlawful activities.  Nothing that they did resulted in anyone else being killed or injured or cause any material
damage on that day, 20 May, 2015 in Amban-Manokwari, Province of West Papua.

Peace!

[Translated by Carmel Budiardjo, Recipent of the Right Livelihod Award, 1995]

The West Papua solidarity movement rejects Reclaim Australia: Public Statement

Public Statement by the West Papua movement in Australia

27 July 2015

We the undersigned are part of a national solidarity network supporting a free West Papua. We publicly disassociate ourselves from the anti-Muslim and anti-refugee views of Reclaim Australia, the United Patriotic Front, Rise Up Australia and others who associate with these groups. We extend a warm welcome to Muslims and refugees, many who are also West Papuan.

As a national solidarity network with regional and international links, our practice in the past has been to confine our public advocacy solely to West Papua and not get drawn into other issues. We are speaking out now because recently Paul Madden, a non-Papuan leader of the Free West Papua Party spoke at the Reclaim Australia rally in Perth. According to posts on Facebook, West Papua solidarity activists also attended a Reclaim Australia rally in Cairns. Mr Madden and some of his associates used Reclaim Australia rallies and their social media network to recruit members for the Free West Papua Political Party that he helps lead. The decision to associate with Reclaim Australia, Rise Up Australia, the United Patriotic Front and the other groups that make up the Far Right is a mistake. It is divisive and counterproductive: it misrepresents the free West Papua solidarity movement in Australia; it undermines the free West Papua movement inside West Papua; and, it employs the very methods of religious and racial vilification we oppose.

West Papuan leaders and the Australian solidarity movement do not support Reclaim Australia’s anti-Muslim and anti-refugee agenda. We are a movement for freedom in West Papua. We are against a racist and colonial system. We are not against any particular religion or ethnic group. We align ourselves politically with Indigenous people, pro-democracy forces in Indonesia, people from the Pacific and others striving for the common good. We respect people’s right to free speech and reject any association with Reclaim Australia.

West Papua supporters in Australia are a diverse group. We are from both sides of the political fence. We come from a range of religious traditions. Some of us are avowedly secular and some of us are people of faith. Some of us were born here. Some of us came to Australia as migrants or refugees. We are for freedom, peace and justice in West Papua, and better relationships between the people of West Papua, Indonesia, Australia and the region. As a group we stand against slow motion genocide in West Papua that is aided by the Australian Government that continues to arm and train the Indonesian military. We also campaign against Australian corporations who continue to exploit West Papua’s resources. Associating with Reclaim Australia is undermining the unity of purpose of the West Papua solidarity movement.

The conflict in West Papua is not a Muslim-Christian conflict. It is a conflict between the occupier and the occupied, between those who seek to deny West Papuans their rights and West Papuans defending and claiming those rights. The movement for freedom in West Papua includes many Indigenous Muslim leaders, people like Thaha Al-Hamid as well as senior journalists and NGO activists. The free West Papua movement inside West Papua also includes Muslim communities in places like Fak Fak, Sorong and Kaimana. Many of these Muslim leaders have been jailed, even killed, for the cause of freedom. For more than one hundred years Muslims and Christians in West Papua have co-existed in peace. West Papua activists living in West Papua and Indonesia are also working with pro-democracy forces in Indonesia who are Muslim, who understand the political roots of the conflict and support West Papuans’ right to freedom.

Much of the violence by the Indonesian military and police in West Papua is reinforced by racism: a belief that an entire ethnic group is fundamentally inferior. Militia groups like Laskar Jihad, Barisan Merah Putih, LMRRI and the Islamic Defenders Front use the cover of religion to vilify and physically attack West Papuans, even those with no association with the independence movement. The Indonesian security forces are often behind these attacks. Freedom of expression and association is denied. The persecution of West Papuans as an ethnic group and pro-independence West Papuans on the basis of their ethnicity, religious or political beliefs is one of the roots of violence in West Papua.

The Indonesian and West Papuan people are weary of race and religion being used to stir up conflict. For decades religious and political leaders in West Papua – both Muslim and Christian – have been combating religious and nationalist extremism. They have been working to create West Papua as a land of peace and for the most part they have been successful. When the neighbouring Malukan Islands was engulfed in sectarian violence West Papua stayed calm.

Tension between some elements of Islam and Christianity is a fact in West Papua, as it is elsewhere in the world. To date West Papua has been largely free of the inter-religious violence due to the excellent leadership of both communities; however, there are shadowy forces ready to foment trouble in West Papua and this danger is increasing. As Australian advocates for peace in West Papua we support the many Papuan and Indonesian people of both the Christian and Muslim faith that are engaged in trying to resolve or mitigate the conflict. We expressly reject religion being used as a tool to extend or redefine the nature of the West Papuan conflict which boils down to the survival of the Papuan people in the face of overwhelming non-Papuan migration and dispossession of their land and resources via military occupation.

So when a small group of Australian leaders of the Free West Papua Party align themselves with a group that is perceived as being anti-Muslim they play into elements in Indonesia and West Papua that would like to incite sectarian violence in West Papua. They play into the hands of those who would like to give a free reign to the Indonesian police and military to arm and organise nationalist militias in order to crack down on pro-independence activists just like they did in East Timor.

The free West Papua movement rejects spreading fear and hate against any group on the basis of their beliefs or identity. Vilification of Muslims as a social group, Islam as a religion or the use of racism in any guise has no place in our movement. This position is supported by West Papuan leaders inside and outside the country.

Although Mr Madden apologised via Facebook last week, that apology made no mention of the FWPP’s willingness to disassociate from Reclaim Australia. Therefore, we – the undersigned – ask Mr Madden to discontinue the formation of the FWPP and to step down as its spokesperson. Once that has occurred we are happy to continue working with Mr Madden and his associates for the benefit of the West Papuan people.

Signatories

Name Affiliation
Jason MacLeod West Papua Solidarity Group Brisbane and West Papua Project, Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, The University of Sydney
Camellia Webb-Gannon West Papua Project, Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, The University of Sydney and Australia West Papua Association – Sydney
Peter King West Papua Project, Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, The University of Sydney
Jim Elmslie West Papua Project, Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, The University of Sydney
Dave Arkins Australian West Papua Association – South Australia
Peter Arndt West Papua Solidarity Group Brisbane and the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace
Jacob Rumbiak United Liberation Movement for West Papua
Anne Noonan Australian West Papua Association – Sydney
Joe Collins Australian West Papua Association – Sydney
Matthew Jamieson Institution for Papuan Advocacy and Human Rights
Nick Chesterfield – Editor, and our researchers, translators, and journalists West Papua Media
Stephen Rangihuna Free West Papua Campaign – Sydney
Ronny Kareni and Airileke Ingram Rize of The Morning Star
Melkias Okoka, Erwin Bleskadit and Joe Wally 3CR Voice of West Papua
Alfonsius Adadikam and Sixta Kareni Victoria West Papuan Community
Ricard Rumbiak and Adolf Mora Morning Starz Football Club
Amos Wainggai, Peter Elaby and Anselmus Pisakai Black Orchid Stringband
Natalie Adadikam and Babuan Mirino DFAIT West Papua Women’s Office
Lea and Petra Rumwaropen Black Sistaz (singers)
Izzy Brown West Papua Freedom Flotilla
Dan Field Surfers for West Papua
Uncle Kevin Buzzacott Elder from Arabunna Nation in South Australia
Wiwince Pigome Aliansi Mahasiswa Papua (International representative based in Perth)
David Bridie Wantok Music
Don Stewart Australia West Papua Association – South West Victoria
Mary Lancaster Australia West Papua Association – South West Victoria
Peter D Jones War Resisters International (Australia), Hobart, Tasmania
Cindy Watson Australians for a Free West Papua’, Darwin
Lola Forester Koori Radio
Dominik Kanak Cr. Waverley Council
Anthony Ash Brennan Yatte Yattah films
Marilyn Woodward Australia West Papua Association – South West Victoria

West Papua Media downtime

Statement/ Reader Information

June 17, 2014

West Papua Media.

Due to a remote area vehicle accident with a kangaroo on June 7 in which the Editor of West Papua Media, Nick Chesterfield, sustained mild head and arm injuries, WPM has been unable to publish original investigations or content.

We apologise for this, and Chesterfield will be working through the backlog during his recovery.  Urgent breaking news will still be covered on our twitter and facebook feeds, and our partner Tabloid Jubi will continue to publish major breaking stories within Papua, with their feed available in the right hand sidebar on WPM.

From July, sweeping changes are being made at WPM to allow more dynamic reporting to occur across a variety of platforms.  Please stay tuned.

Thank you for your patience.

 

Bobii: Manufactured Scenario resulting in Death of a Papuan Warrior

Statement

18 December, 2013

 by Selpius Bobii

The death of General Danny Kogoya of the National Liberation Army of the Free Papua Movement (TPN / OPM) on 14 December 2013 in the border town of Vanimo PNG was not a natural death but rather a death caused by a scenario that was created by the Indonesian Armed Forces.

On 2 October 2012 Kogoya was invited by someone to meet them at the Banana Leaves Hotel in Entrop, Jayapura. Once there he and his companions were besieged by Indonesian Armed Forces who shot and disabled Kogoya by shooting one of his feet, even though  he had shown no resistance and had no intention of fleeing.

His foot was amputated at the Police Hospital Bhayangkara without being allowed to have a family member present.  Only a few days after the operation he was taken to the Police District Command Headquarters to undergo interrogation, despite having just experienced a most traumatising injury followed by a major operation. Throughout the time he was held by the Armed Forces he did not receive adequate medical attention.

When taken before the court an almost unheard of situation occurred, with the extension of time for Kogoya and his companions’ cases to be processed as applied for by the public attorney, actually expiring before the judges had reached their decision.  With the result that Kogoya and his companions were released under the law on 10 May 2013, even though they had been previously charged under the extremely serious charge of treason (makar).

Following their release, Kogoya fled over the border to the town of Vanimo in PNG to seek safety and treatment for his foot. According to the General Chairperson of the National Committee of West Papua (KNPB) Victor Yeimo, the results of the medical examination at the Vanimo Public Hospital showed remaining symptoms suggestive of possible poisoning.  This has led to suspicions by some that Kogoya may have been intentionally given a highly toxic chemical at the time his foot was amputated at the Indonesian Armed Forces hospital,  that has such an effect on the body organs that it kills the body slowly (1).

Finally on 14 December General Kogoya died due to the combined causes of an infection of his amputation wound as well as kidney failure.

The Indonesian Armed Forces clearly did not want Kogoya to die in custody which would have attracted attention. The circumstances point to the Armed Forces having interfered with the matter of the legal provision for an extension of time a person can be detained up to the time the court passes sentence.  As it is suspected that the processing of Kogoya and his companions cases in the Jayapura court were intentionally delayed so that the period they could be legally detained would expire before the panel of judges had handed down criminal sentence, thereby creating a scenario whereby the prisoners would be released avoiding General Kogoya dying in custody.

It is a rare occurrence indeed for Papuans who have been arrested and accused of treason, to be subsequently released due to the expiry of the period approved by the courts for them to be detained  before there is a sentence handed down by the courts. Usually if the time approved is about to expire or has just expired and the judges still haven’t handed down their decision, the authorities and the prison authorities work together to arrange an  further extension of time.  In the instance of the late Eko Berotabui and his associates for example in 2006 when the period he could be detained prior to the courts ruling had expired and the family and lawyers were pressuring for his release, the prison  and authorities worked together to issue a new document extending the period he could be detained.  Similar circumstances also arose in the case of Filep Karma and associates in 2005 with the prison and authorities working together to detain him on the stated basis of awaiting the decision regarding criminal cases. However in the case of Danny Kogoya there was distinctly something else going on.

It is strongly suspected that the Indonesian authorities created a set of circumstances to hide their covert killing of the Papuan independence warrior General Danny Kogoya. This is not the first time the Papuan community has seen such methods applied to hide the Indonesian Armed Forces killing of Papuan liberation warriors. Such means are extremely cruel and amount to a most evil inhumane act against a human being.

The organisation Front PEPERA:

  1. Demands that the Republic of Indonesia (RI) take responsibility for the death of General Danny Kogoya.
  2. Demands that RI cease killing indigenous Papuans by both overt and cover means.
  3. Calls on the International Solidarity community to lobby RI and the United Nations to treat exhaustively the problem of the legal and political status of West Papua.

 Footnote.:

  1. 1.      The majority of the Papuan indigenous community is convicted that poisoning is being frequently used by the Indonesian forces in Papua against the indigenous community.

 Selpius Bobii is General Chairperson of Front PEPERA and is a Papuan Freedom Political Detainee held in  Abepura Prison, Jayapura, Papua, Indonesia