Tag Archives: Agence France-Presse

Indonesian security forces open fire on West Papuan striking miners – kill one

from our partners at Pacific Media Centre

http://pacific.scoop.co.nz/2011/10/indonesian-security-forces-open-fire-on-west-papuan-striking-miners-%E2%80%93-kill-one/

October 11, 2011
Papua mineIndonesian security forces face striking miners at Grasberg copper mine in West Papua. Photo: AP

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Karen Abplanalp and PMC news desk

Indonesian security forces have shot and killed at least one protester and  wounded eight others when they opened fire on striking workers at Freeport-McMoRan’s gold and copper mine in West Papua, union officials said.

Union leader Manuel Maniambo said thousands of striking workers were trying to prevent replacement workers from heading by bus to the mine.

Blocked by security forces, some protesters began throwing rocks.  Three food delivery trucks were burnt, according to an Agence France-Presse reporter at the scene.

The security forces began firing shots and at least one man was killed, one more unconfirmed dead, one man critically injured and at least 8 men wounded.

The dead man has been identified as 30-year-old Petrus Ayemsekaba.

Indonesian security forces said six of their men were also hurt during the demonstration.

Around 9000 workers from the Grasberg mine in West Papua began the strike on September 15, demanding that their current minimum wage of less than NZ$2.50 an hour be raised to globally competitive levels.

Lowest wages
Union representatives say that Freeport’s workers, who are mostly indigenous West Papuans, receive the lowest wages of any Freeport mining facility in the world.

Concerns for the miners safety has been mounting recently as reports of intimidation of union officials were reported.

Union spokesperson Juli Parrongan said: “Our personal safety going on strike is under pressure of the PT Freeport Indonesia management.”

Union officials have been complaining that PTFreeport, (the Indonesian unit of US-owned mining firm Freeport McMoran Copper & Gold Inc.) management has been breaking Indonesian laws regarding fair strike actions since the strike began.

The union has said the striking miners have been intimidated into going back to work and to signing contracts.

Workers in Indonesia have been granted the right to strike, and under Indonesian law, they are able to do this free from intimidation.

Reinforcements sent
In preparation for the strike, military and police reinforcements were sent to Timika, the closest town to the mine.

The Papua Police dispatched an extra 114 police Mobile Brigade (Brimob) personnel to Timika with an additional 100 Brimob personnel from Jakarta to join 850 personnel from the Indonesian military (TNI)-police joint task force.

AFP quoted police spokesman Wachyono as saying:  “So far, five policemen suffered head injuries and another had his leg  injured from being pelted with stones by workers. They have been taken  to hospital.”

Police fired warning shots into the air after the striking workers  pelted them with stones, Wachyono said, in scenes witnessed by an AFP  reporter at the site.

The Indonesian military and the Indonesian police are now under the international spotlight in the hope that its track record of human rights abuses in West Papua are not repeated during the current miners strike.

As chair of ASEAN Indonesia, with its goal to make ASEAN a people-centered community, it has a good incentive to be seen as a democratic country, free of human rights abuses.

Karen Abplanalp is an Auckland photographer and also an AUT University postgraduate student on the Asia-Pacific Journalism course.


AFP: U.S. Slams Indonesia Sentences in Papua Torture Trial

WASHINGTON, Jan. 26 (AFP) — The United States on Tuesday
slammed as too lenient an Indonesian court martial for jailing three
soldiers for up to 10 months for abuse and insubordination after
they were shown torturing civilians.

The sentences “do not reflect the seriousness of the abuses of
two Papuan men depicted in 2010 video,” State Department
spokesman Philip Crowley said on the microblogging website
Twitter.

“Indonesia must hold its armed forces accountable for violations
of human rights. We are concerned and will continue to follow
this case,” Crowley added.

The relatively light sentences prompted anger among campaigners,
who accuse the Indonesian military of acting with impunity
against the indigenous Melanesian majority in the far-eastern
province of Papua.

The military tribunal found the trio guilty of abuse and
disobeying orders, and sentenced Second Sergeant Irwan
Rizkiyanto to 10 months in jail, First Private Yakson Agu to
nine months, and First Private Tamrin Mahan Giri to eight months.

In footage posted on YouTube last year, the soldiers were seen
applying a burning stick to the genitals of an unarmed man and
threatening another with a knife as they interrogated them about
the location of a weapons cache.

Amnesty Urges Torture Charges On Indonesia Soldiers

Amnesty Urges Torture Charges On Indonesia Soldiers

Jan 14 (AFP) — Indonesian soldiers on trial for the alleged brutal
abuse of two Papuans should be charged with torture rather than the
minor offence of disobeying orders, Amnesty International said
Saturday.

The three soldiers appeared Thursday before a military tribunal, after
the online broadcast of a video showing the torture of unarmed men
sparked an outcry.

But they were charged with disobedience to orders rather than more
serious crimes such as illegal detention and abuse.

In the video, posted on YouTube last year, soldiers place a burning
stick to the genitals of an unarmed man and threaten another with a
knife as part of an interrogation about the location of weapons.

“Amnesty International urges the Indonesian authorities to ensure that
the three soldiers… (are) tried in full criminal procedures for
torture or similar crimes,” Amnesty’s Asia-Pacific Deputy Director
Donna Guest said.

Military prosecutors have said they lacked evidence of torture because
the victims would not testify, despite the existence of a CD of the
video and detailed statements given by the victims to human rights
groups.

According to the National Human Rights Commission, the victims would
like to testify but were terrified of military reprisals, and had not
received adequate safety guarantees.

“Amnesty International believes that the civilian courts are much more
likely to ensure both prosecution for the crimes involving human
rights violations and protection for witnesses than the military
system,” Guest said in a statement received by AFP.

Indonesia had pledged to rein in military abuses in regions such as
Papua and the Maluku islands in return for renewed US military
exchanges. The soldiers face a maximum sentence of two and half years
in jail.