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Thousands of West Papuans demand Referendum in Jayapura 14 Nov 2011

Several thousand West Papuan people took the streets in Jayapura on November 14 to  calling for a Referendum to demand their right of self determination.

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In another show of mass civil resistance since the brutal crackdown by Indonesian security forces on the 3rd Papuan Peoples Congress,  the demonstration organised by the West Papua National Committee also called for the Government of Indonesia to take responsibility for its increased unjustified violence towards West Papuan people.

Indonesian police attempted to block the march, but protestors pushed through peacefully to continue to the offices of the DPRP, the provincial parliament building.

Demoted former Papuan Police chief Iman Setiawan attempts show of force (Reuters)

Protest organisers earlier expressed grave fears that security forces would attempt to repeat the violence on unarmed and peaceful protestors, but international monitoring and effective citizen media on the ground contributed to the restraint shown by security forces.

Participants rejected dialogue or talk with Jakarta until violence ended and maintained their position that a referendum was the only just pathway towards fulfilling Papuan rights.

“Give us the space for a referendum so that we can choose what we want.  We don’t want dialogue doing the bidding of UP4B, or other policy of Special Autonomy;  We don’t need money, we don’t need to be with  Indonesia, let us be free on our land,” said speakers, referring to the Special Development unit set up by Indonesian President Yudoyhono to dilute Papuan calls for independence.


“The Papuan people have asked for an immediate referendum for self-determination. We reject any dialogue with Jakarta,” protest coordinator Mako Tabuni said.

“The referendum is non-negotiable.”

Mass Action Jayapura, 14 Nov 2011 (Af Wensi)

LP3BH: Police and army chiefs must be held responsible for attacks on Papuan Congress participants

Statement by Yan Christian Warinussy, executive-director of LP3BH/Manokwari

The attack by members of the Indonesian Police/Polri  and the Indonesian Army against partiipants at the Third Papuan People’s Congress on  19 October was a gross violations of human rights because it was perpetrated against ordinary civilians who were unarmed  and were not involved in any acts of resistance.This is abundantly clear from video which I and the LP3BH-Manokwari have in our possession and which have been shown to  government officials and members of the European Parliament as well as to members of the German Parliament last week in Berlin.

The videos clearly show that the attacks that were launched by members of Polri and the TNI were acting under the command of the chief of police in Papua and in Jayapura. There were no acts of resistance whatever by members of the public or by any of the participants at the Congress, including members of the special defence group for the Congress, the PETAPA.

The videos also show a number of persons in civilian clothing, wearing short pants and shirts  who are clearly intelligence agents of the police and the army, who can be seen holding  pistols as well as rifles and who can be seen firing their weapons into the air, and even show some members of the security forces firing in the direction of the large crowd of people who were running away towards the mountains or to places in Abepura, in fear of their lives.

The discovery of six dead bodies following the tragedy of the Third People’s Congress is a clear indication of the use of ammunition being aimed against the mass of people.

As a human rights activist in the Land of Papua, I saw no actions aimed at dispersing the people or attempts to prevent chaos. The Congress was already over and  one hour later, members of the security forces who were under the command of  Police Commissioner Imam Setyawan SIK can be seen trying to prevent a  vehicle which was driving along Jalan Yakonde with the lawyer Edison Waromi on board, which  was damaged by the security forces who pulled the people of the vehicle and started beating them and then pushed them into a  police van to be driven to police headquarters where they are now being held in custody.

Following the arrest of Waromi, the security forces starting firing their weapons and chasing participants of the Papuan Congress as they were leaving the location of that event.

I herewith, as Executive Director of LP3BH/Manorkwari and a human rights defender in the Land of Papua, urge Komnas HAM, to investigate the matter and to bring formal charges against the Papua chief of police and the police chief in Jayapuara, as well as the commander of the 1702 military command in Jayapura  who were in command of the operation to be held fully accountable for the bloody incident that occurred on 19 October 2011

Student found dead in Keerom

Bintang Papua, 26 October 2011Jayapura: On Wednesday this week at around 5.30am, people in the vicinity of Jalan Loreng Hostel in the district of Keerom were shocked by the discovery of the body of a student which was covered with wounds.The student has since been identified as Very Tebay, 24 years old,who lived at the Paniai Hostel , Perumnas III. He is thought to have died because of severe lesions in the face and the back of the head, as well as discharge coming from his left ear.

The student is thought to be the victim of a murder but the police have not yet  been able to identify the perpetrator. The chief of police in Abepura said that they were still trying to determine who was responsible for the murder.

The student’s body was first discovered by a friend of his, Kristian Rumere; 20 when he was on his way to the shops. Kristian who also lives in the students’ hostel  said he first thought that it was someone lying asleep on the ground, on the side of the road. with blood flowing from his head, and tried to wake him up, only to discover that the body did not move at all. He then reported this to the local authorities who confirmed that the person was already dead.

The body was subsequently taken to the Abepura Hospital, after the  local police arrived at the site of the crime to conduct investigations.

[West Papua Media note:  it is unclear at this stage if this student’s murder is related to the violent break-up by Indonesian security forces, including the Australian trained Densus 88 unit, of the Third Papuan Peoples’ Congress.  However, the head injuries sustained by the victim are consistent with the massive beatings to heads meted out by police, militia and military whilst breaking up the Congress.  West Papua Media has 12 confirmed reports of fractured skulls from Congress participants, but these reports are only of those who have sought medical attention.
According to participant Abraham Kareni (himself also with a skull fracture) in a video testimony sent exclusively to West Papua Media, many of those injured are too scared of arrest or killing by Indonesian forces to seek medical assistance.   However, without medical attention, victims with skull fractures are at great risk of death through brain haemorrhage or stroke, consistent with the injuries recorded on the victim.

*The victim Very Tebay belongs to a prominent family of West Papuan leaders and intellectuals – West Papua Media}

Third Degree: Indonesians Open Fire on Delegates

Indonesians Open Fire on Delegates
By: Judith RECZEK

Published: 21/10/2011

At least two people are confirmed dead after Indonesian military and police opened fire and arrested 800 West Papuan leaders and congress delegates yesterday, on the last day of The Third Papuan People’s Congress. Over 20,000 people attended the congress, which started on October 16 on an oval in near Jayapura, in West Papua. Military trucks, police and soldiers armed with machine guns had surrounded the oval for three days.

A week earlier, on October 10, Indonesian guards opened fire on striking workers at the Freeport McMoran’s Grasberg gold and copper mine near Timika, West Papua. Two workers were killed and six others injured in that clash.

Roughly 9000 disgruntled workers have been on strike since September 15, demanding higher wages and better work conditions.

The Freeport miners’ trade union (SPSI) spokesperson Juli Parorrongan told 3rd Degree that the workers were on their way to Gorong Gorong bus terminal when the shooting started. They were heading to the mine facilities to stop contract workers as they were still on strike.

The police blocked the terminal, and warning shots were sent in the air. Panic spread, and shots were aimed at the crowd.

“The workers then became angry and that’s why the conflict and chaos began,” Mr Parorrongan said.

Local mineworker Peter W. Ayamiseba, 30, died later in hospital after being shot in the chest. Leo Wandago died five days later from his wounds.

The SPSI said the Grasberg mine workers are among the worst paid in the world, with wages between $A2.10 and $A3.50 an hour. They have rejected the 25 per cent increase the PT Freeport Indonesia management have offered.

Mr Parorrongan said they have lowered their demands from $30 per hour.

“We are now asking for $US17.50 but we can go down to US$9 per hour. It depends on the decision from management.

“We started the strike last month, and we have continued another month. We will strike until the problem is solved,” he said.

According the Fortune 500 list in 2010, the Freeport-McMoran group made a profit of around $US4.3 billion. Grasberg is the biggest gold mine and the third biggest copper mine in the world. Australian company Rio Tinto and the Indonesian government are both significant shareholders in the mine.

The Indonesian government announced a loss of $8 million for every day production is halted.

A report by Australian journalist Naj Taylor published on Al Jazeera last week explained Rio Tinto’s involvement in the Grasberg mine. Taylor reported on the blacklisting of Rio Tinto and Freeport-McMoran by the Norwegian Pension Fund in 2008 for “grossly unethical conduct” over treatment of workers at the Grasberg mine.

Taylor’s report also documents close ties between the Grasberg mine operators and the Indonesian military, whose history of violence is extensive.

A statement from the Coalition for Freeport Indonesia Workers’ Struggle said “there have been numerous incidents of pressure and intimidation against the workers, either directly by the Freeport management or through the arrogant actions of the police and the Mobile Brigade.”

Greens Senator and West Papua Spokesman Richard Di Natale said he was saddened to hear of the violence towards the miners.

“There needs to be a thorough investigation into the shooting and acts of violence that occurred against ordinary workers,” he said.

The Third Papuan People’s Congress started in Jayapura on October 16 and Mr Di Natale addressed the importance of the congress for the future of West Papua.

“I am deeply concerned that the conflict in West Papua is escalating. The only long term solution is to ensure that the West Papuan people are free to determine their own future.”

Mr Parorrongan told 3rd Degree he hoped the Indonesian government would protect them while they were on strike, but they have been slow to respond.

“We also hope the international human rights will have concerns about the tragedy. They have broken the law and we hope the international community will give us support so this will finish good,” he said.

For breaking news on the atrocities being committed in the wake of the Congress 

It’s Time To Take A Stand On Papua


21 Oct 2011

It’s Time To Take A Stand On Papua

By Richard Di Natale

rudd and sby

The violence in West Papua this week is deeply worrying – and raises uncomfortable foreign policy questions for the Australian government, writes Senator Richard Di Natale

Yesterday afternoon news reached my office that unarmed Papuans — women, young people, church leaders, academics, tribal elders — and at least one Australian citizen, were being shot at by the Indonesian security forces.

We now know that at least four people are confirmed dead, scores severely wounded and hundreds have been detained at the police station in Jayapura, the capital of West Papua.

We are deeply concerned that a number of these people including Forkorus Yaboisembut, the Chair of the Papuan Customary Council, were beaten or tortured. Their crime? Reading an aspirational declaration of independence and meeting to discuss how West Papuans might peacefully secure basic freedoms that you and I in Australia take for granted.

It is not my place to get into the politics of independence. That is for the Papuans to decide. It must be said, however, that until there is a free and fair vote of all eligible Papuan citizens in the territory, any claim by the Indonesian government that there is democracy in West Papua will be highly contested.

The fact is that the Australian government and many other western countries were party to a fraudulent transfer of sovereignty during the 1960s. That is not hyperbole. It is fact. Professor Pieter Drooglever and Dr John Saltford have separately documented the travesty of justice that unfolded in West Papua during the transfer from Dutch to Indonesia rule. Less than 0.01 per cent of the population participated in the so-called Act of Free Choice in 1969 and those that did were forced to do so.

But this week’s peaceful gathering at Zaccheus Field in Abepura was not about the past. It was about the kind of future that West Papuans want. The Papuans’ desire for freedom is irrepressible. Many of the civil and political rights Papuan people want — like freedom of expression, the release of political prisoners, an opening up of the province to foreign media, and respect of land rights — could be realised within the framework of the Indonesian state. By shooting and jailing Papuans who peacefully demand these legitimate rights, the Indonesian government is creating a bigger problem and fuelling political instability.

These events in our nearest neighbour raise serious questions back home. We are we providing funds, training and equipment to the Indonesian Military (Tentara Nasional Indonesia, or TNI) and the Police force, including the counter-terrorism police (Detachment 88). There is mounting evidence that they are anything but a positive force for human rights in the region. By furthering our close military ties, we become complicit in acts of repression by the TNI such as that unfolding in West Papua today.

The Australian government has been secretive with regards to these links. We don’t know exactly what kind of military assistance is being supplied to the TNI and the police. The Australian government needs to come clean about the extent and nature of our level of defence cooperation with Indonesia. The shootings in West Papua — and indeed in other places in Indonesia — raise serious questions about what, if anything, the Indonesian military and police have learnt from East Timor. And whether our own government has learned anything, either.

One thing we do know from East Timor is that when violence like this occurs and political rights are continually repressed you can guarantee that West Papuan resistance will continue and eventually become a mainstream issue. West Papua is on our doorstep. I hope we can be good neighbours.

We can not ignore West Papua any longer, and we need to send the strongest possible signal to the Indonesian government that violent repression of peaceful meetings, people merely exercising their right to free speech and assembly, is totally unacceptable.

Indonesia insists it is a democracy. Its constitution guarantees all its citizens the right to free speech and free assembly. We should hold them to this promise by immediately suspending all military assistance to and cooperation with Indonesia. There is no compelling evidence that on the balance of things Australia’s military assistance in Indonesia has improved human rights. I fear that our anti-terrorism support is sometimes being used to harasses and intimidate human rights defenders.

I want to be a part of a Parliament that can encourage the Indonesian government and the West Papuan people to find peaceful and democratic ways to address the root causes of conflict in West Papua. Guaranteeing free speech and releasing political prisoners would be a good first step. The President has promised an open dialogue, and he must keep that promise.

In the meantime those of us in Parliament need to seriously reflect on the kind of relationship we want with Indonesia. For the sake of our West Papuan neighbours, and for Australia’s long-held commitment to human rights, we must be prepared to take a bold stand.