Tag Archives: Asian Human Rights Commission

“Papuans do not feel safe in their own land” – Faith Based Network holds forum in Geneva

from the Faith-based Network on West Papua

Newsletter, March 2012

On 15 March, the Faith-based Network on West Papua (FBN) in cooperation with Franciscan International (FI), the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), the World Organization against Torture (OMCT) and TAPOL held a side-event at the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

National and international human rights experts discussed the implementation of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) recommendations from 2008 in Indonesia with regard to the human rights reality in Papua. Four years after the Indonesian Government accepted the UPR recommendations, the human rights experts observe no significant changes in the protection of human rights violations on the ground.

“Many Papuans do not feel safe in their own land”, said Rev. Matheus Adadikam, General Secretary of the Evangelical Church in the Land of Papua (GKI-TP). Extrajudicial executions, torture, arbitrary arrest and detention remain a reality for the indigenous people of Papua.  Ferry Marisan, Director of the Institute of Human Rights Studies and Advocacy (ElsHAM Papua), reported 75 people tortured and three killed by the Indonesian security forces after the 3^rd Papuan Peoples Congress in October and over 1.000 refugees caused by a military operation in Paniai Regency in December 2011.

Norman Voss, from the Asian Legal Resource Center (ALRC), drew a bleak conclusion of the UPR recommendations in Indonesia. “The implementation of the 2008 recommendations is very disappointing”, the international human rights expert said. The initial momentum of the so-called “Reformasi” with its improved human rights legislation had gone. There is no accountability for human rights violations in Papua and also no remedy for the victims, Norman Voss explained.

Novel Matindas, from the Papua Desk of the Communion of Churches in Indonesia (PGI), supported these observations and criticized the lack of political will from the Indonesian government to implement the Special Autonomy Law for Papua. The PGI therefore requests a dialogue between Papua and Jakarta to find the “best solution” for the ongoing problems.
For more information on the Faith-based Network on West Papua: http://www.faithbasednetworkonwestpapua.org or contact fbn_papua@vemission.org

Related News

*World Council of Churches expresses concern over human right violations in Tanah Papua*

The World Council of Churches (WCC) Executive Committee recently issued a statement expressing concern over the escalation of violence in Tanah Papua, Indonesia. <http://www.faithbasednetworkonwestpapua.org/news_release/world_council_of_churches_expresses_concern_over_human_right_violations_in_tanah_papua>

*Concerns of JPIC in Papua regarding the situation in Papua*

The secretariats of JPICs in Papua confirm that the pro-investment policy of the Government of Indonesia and the torture and cruel treatment by the security forces have undermined law and the dignity of the indigenous Papuans, marginalising and threatening their right to life. <http://www.faithbasednetworkonwestpapua.org/news_release/concerns_of_jpic_in_papua_regarding_the_situation_in_papua__reflections_on_the_situation_in_2011_>

*Statement: Torture and extrajudicial execution still take place in Papua*

FI, FBN and TAPOL would like to draw the attention on torture and extrajudicial execution still taking place in Papua. <http://www.faithbasednetworkonwestpapua.org/userfiles/files/Item3-General%20debate-joint%20statement-FI-FBN-Tapol-West%20Papua%20%282%29.pdf>

*Joint Press Release*

The Jayapura State Court found five Papuan leaders guilty of treason, sentencing them to three years imprisonment. <http://www.faithbasednetworkonwestpapua.org/userfiles/files/Joint%20Press%20Release%20on%20Verdict%20%282%29.pdf>

*Urgent Appeal: Joint Letter to Mrs. Sekaggya*

Dear Mrs Sekaggya, We are writing to you in relation to threats made against human rights lawyer Mr Gustav Kawer by the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Jayapura. <http://www.faithbasednetworkonwestpapua.org/news_release/urgent_appeal>

*Papua Update*

A Statement to the Human Rights Sub-Committee of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade, House Representatives of Australia Canberra. <http://www.faithbasednetworkonwestpapua.org/userfiles/files/BH%20paper%20for%20ozi%20joint%20committee_2012%20%282%29.pdf>

Ban Ki-Moon gets “diplomatic answers” from SBY over Papua

Ban Ki-moon waves to protestors for West Papua, PIF NZ Sept 2011

by John Pakage for West Papua Media


President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon held a bilateral meeting at the presidential palace in Bogor, West Java, on Tuesday (20/03/2012). In the meeting, human rights abuses in Papua were also discussed.

 UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon certainly knows in detail about the development of human rights abuses in Papua because he sought a diplomatic answer from the President of Indonesia.

 “Papua is Indonesia and we are obliged to maintain its security, but if there are violations of human rights then there is law enforcement action,” said SBY.

 Of course with this kind of diplomatic answer, SBY wants to hide the number of cases of gross human rights that have occurred, and are continuing to occur now in Papua.  Only at few days before the arrival of Ban Ki-Moon to Indonesia, Forkorus Yoboisembut, Gladius Waromi Edison, Augustine M. Sananay Kraar, Selpius Bobii and Dominic Sorabut were sentenced 3 years in prison on Friday (16/3) with charges of treason for forming the state of West Papua.

 The implementation of the Third Papuan People’s Congress went ahead with official permission from the Indonesian government, both from the central government and the police to hold a congress in Jayapura.   But Indonesia’s military attacked and captured civilians at the Congress without first showing any arrest warrant, in accordance with Indonesian regulation.

 Again and again, military and police forces shot live ammunition at civilians at the Congress, inconsistent with legal process, in stark contrast with Yudhoyono’s promises to Ban Ki-Moon at the Bogor Palace.

The multitude of human rights abuses in Papua, which is tightly closed by state policy that prohibits foreign media and international NGOs from entering Papua,  gave rise to human rights lawyer Jennifer Robinson (lawyer for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange) calling on new Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr, to immediately urge Indonesia to open Papua up, and allow incoming international NGOs into Papua to conduct human rights investigations independently (see Radio Australia, March 20, 2012).

Indonesia’s policy to cover up human rights abuses in Papua has been harshly rebuked by Human Rights institutions around the world; (see for instance a press release by Franciscans International, TAPOL, the Asian Human Rights Commission, Faith Based Network on West Papua (FBN) and West Papua Network.)

Legal rights agencies lament the unjust decision facing the five civilians who were detained while organising the Papuan Congress, sentenced to three years in prison.   According to these institutions, the Congress was a form of free expression and a fundamental tenet of democracy for communicating opinions.

In addition, humanitarian agencies deplore the attitude of the Indonesian military who with full weaponry arsenal stormed and attacked the Congress participants. This Indonesian Military attack and killed several Papuan civilians. (See: Franciscans International, Release March 16, 2012.)

 Ban Ki-Moon is certainly more aware now of what has happened in Papua since 1969 when Indonesia invaded Papua.   So SBY’s diplomatic answer  of  “SBY diplomacy” might make the number one person in the world confused.

Ban Ki-Moon also mentioned that South Sudan is an example of an area of extended conflict that has embraced the process of ending its fighting.  The UN successfully held a referendum for citizens to determine their aspirations – and they chose independence from the Sudan.

Of course the conditions of ongoing human rights abuses in Papua, covered up by the state policy of denying access to foreign media and international NGOs to Papua, could by its very nature invite a humanitarian intervention to end the conflict in Papua, with (or without) the Indonesian government.


Joint Press release from TAPOL, the Asian Human Rights Commission, the Faith-Based Network on West Papua, Franciscans International, and the West Papua Netzwerk


16 March 2012 – The Jayapura state court today found five Papuan leaders guilty of treason, sentencing them each to three years imprisonment. TAPOL, the Asian Human Rights Commission, the Faith-Based Network on West Papua, Franciscans International, and the West Papua Netzwerk seriously regret the verdict and question the fairness of the trial proceedings. The verdict is another example of the severe restrictions by the Indonesian authorities on the right to freedom of expression of the Papuans. We call upon Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to order that all convictions which do not reflect international legal standards be overturned and the prisoners be immediately released.

Today’s verdict represents a setback in the relationship between Jakarta and Papua, suggesting that Indonesian authorities still see arrest and detention as the best ways to respond to expressions of Papuan aspirations. As a country widely applauded for its burgeoning democracy, Indonesia should be promoting peaceful political activity, not punishing it.

Forkorus Yaboisembut, Edison Waromi, Selpius Bobii, Dominikus Surabut and August Kraar were arrested in October 2011 for their roles in the Third Papuan People’s Congress, a peaceful gathering at which the leaders declared that Papua has been independent since 1961. As the gathering began to disperse, security forces fired shots into the crowd and carried out mass arrests and beatings. Three people were shot dead.

While the leaders of the Congress now face three years in jail for their peaceful actions, those responsible for the violent response to the Congress received a slap on the wrist, and investigations to determine who was responsible for the killings have led to neither justice nor accountability.

The five men were convicted of treason under Article 106 of the Indonesian Criminal Code. While the treason laws are intended to prosecute serious crimes against the state, alleged members of the armed resistance are rarely if ever brought to trial in Papuan courts; they are beaten, tortured or shot. Article 106 is instead used to charge those engaged in peaceful actions such as raising the Papuan national ‘Morning Star’ flag or organising and attending public events at which Papua rights and aspirations are asserted.

The denial made by the Coordinating Minister for Law and Human Rights of any political prisoners this month shows a lack of commitment to uphold human rights norms that are applicable to Indonesia according to international law, including that the peaceful expression of political opinions cannot be persecuted.

There are serious doubts about the fairness of the trial proceedings. Armed members of the security forces maintained a heavy presence during the trial sessions, and one of the senior lawyers for the defence, Gustav Kawer, is being threatened with prosecution, in violation of his right under Indonesian law and international standards to carry out his professional duties in defending clients in court. There have also been questions about the independence of the judges, who were reportedly visited by senior military, police and government officials just one hour before the trial began.

According to TAPOL’s data, the five men will join at least 27 other Papuan political prisoners currently in jail for treason under article 106. All those detained for peaceful political activities should be immediately and unconditionally released.



Paul Barber, TAPOL, +44 7747 301 739

AHRC: Authorities refuse to treat political prisoner with tumour

January 27, 2012


Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-008-2012

ISSUES: Indigenous people; inhuman and degrading treatment; prison conditions

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information regarding the condition of Kimanus Wenda, a political prisoner at Nabire prison, Papua, who has a tumor in his stomach and must be operated on. Although Indonesian law clearly notes that it is the state’s obligation to provide medical fees, the Papua legal and human rights department is refusing to pay for Mr. Wenda’s surgery due to a lack of funds. Moreover, the goverment is now claiming that Mr. Wenda does not require surgery, although local activists found the opposite to be true.


According to the information received from KontraS, ALDP and SKPHP, on April 4, 2003, at around 1am, there was a burglary at 1702/ Jayawijaya Wamena military district staff headquarters armory.

Eight perpetrators were arrested in connection to this theft: Yafrai Murib, Numbungga Telenggen, Enos Lokobal, Linus Hiluka, Kanius Murib, Kimanus Wenda, Des Wenda and Mikael Haselo. On January 15, 2004, according to the verdict declared by the Wamena district court, all the victims were found guilty for rebellion under articles 106 and 110 of the Criminal Code. Yafrai Murib and Numbungga Telenggen were sentenced to lifetime imprisonment, while the others were sentenced to 20 years imprisonment. Civil society considers this verdict to not be based on legal facts.

Since 2010, Mr. Wenda has had a tumor in his stomach and is constantly vomiting. He informed the health staff at Nabire prison but was not given any adequate response. On February 2, 2011, the Nabire hospital issued a reference letter regarding Mr. Wenda’s sickness and the need for him to be operated at Jayapura hospital. Two days later, Mr. Wenda’s legal counsel sent a medical leave letter to the head of Papua’s regional office of law and human rights and the head of Nabire prison, but received no response. On September 19, SKPHP met the head of Papua legal and human rights department but the department said it has no money and thus cannot pay for Mr. Wenda’s operation. This violates Indonesian law under Indonesian Government Regulation No. 32/1999 on Terms and Procedures on the Implementation of Prisoners’ Rights in Prisons, which states that it is a state obligation to provide medical fees and treatment. While civil society is now gathering funds to pay for the operation in Jayapura hospital, it is not yet enough.

Furthermore, on December 16, at the hearings between KontraS and the ministry of law and human rights, the staff of Nabire prison said that based on their report and the statement of the prison chief, Mr. Wenda was seen playing volley ball in prison and therefore his stomach tumour is not dangerous and does not need to be operated in Jayapura hospital. However, on December 21, when local activists brought Mr. Wenda to be examined at Nabire hospital, John, the surgery doctor who examined Mr. Wenda, stated that the tumour is severe and should be operated as soon as possible. The government denial to treat Mr. Wenda has resulted in much civil society concern about his safety.

The AHRC has recorded that political prisoners, especially in Papua, face ill-treatment and torture in prison, as in the case of Fendinand Pakage, who was tortured by a Abepura prison officer in 2008, resulting in permanent damage to his right eye, and in the case of Buchtar Tabuni in 2009, also beaten and tortured by a Abepura prison officer. Political prisoners’ rights are bare fulfilled, especially the right to health, as seen by Filep Karma, who was neglected at Dok II Jayapura hospital although his ureter should be operated.

Furthermore, on August 28, 2007, Mikael Haselo, a political prisoner arrested and charged in the same case as Mr. Wenda, died after being treated at Bayangkara hospital, Makasar, South Sulawesi, due to the complication of some diseases, such as cough, enteritis, bronchitis and lung inflammation.

for suggested actions please visit http://www.humanrights.asia/news/urgent-appeals/AHRC-UAC-008-2012

AHRC: Military officers arbitrarily arrest and torture civilians based on false claims of rebel activity

Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-005-2012
26 January 2012
INDONESIA: Military officers arbitrarily arrest and torture civilians based on false claims of rebel activity
ISSUES: Freedom of assembly; indigenous people; torture; military violence; police negligence
Dear friends,
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has learnt that on 2 November 2011, seven commanding officers of the Kurulu military sub-district command (danramil Kurulu), arrested and ill-treated three local activists and nine Umpagalo villagers in Kurulu, Papua. This incident occurred without any command letter of authorization, following allegations of rebel activities. The AHRC noted that in Papua, people are frequently victimised based on arbitrary allegations of rebellion, and subsequently tortured. (photo: Kurulu victim)
A Kurulu villager named Alex, who reportedly drank and gambled with members of the pro-Jakarta militia Barisan Merah Putih, provoked Indonesian national military (TNI) officers by claiming there was a meeting between the Free Papua Movement (OPM) and the villagers at Umpagalo on the night of 2 November 2011, at Umpagalo village, Kurulu sub-district, Jayawijaya, Papua without specific evidence. Responding to this vague information, seven armed officers of the Kurulu military sub-district command (danramil Kurulu) prepared to handle the situation without any command letter of authorization (surat izin komando).
After the armed officers came to Umpagalo at around 11pm, they beat three local activists, Melianus Wantik, Edo Doga and Markus Walilo, as well as nine villagers, Pilipus Wantik, Wilem Kosy, Elius Dabi, Lamber Dabi, Othi Logo, Nilik Hiluka, Hukum Logo, Martinus Mabel and Saulus Logo, then stabbed them with bayonets for two hours, forced them to crawl and doused them with water for one hour. The officers also humiliated, beat with big wood sticks, kicked and stepped on them with their boots, pointed their guns and threatened that they would cut their heads, and shot at them four times. After that, the officers brought all the victims to the 176/ Kurulu military headquarters of Wim Anesili Wamena battalion branch (Pos TNI Batalyon 756 kurulu cabang Batalion Wim Anesili Wamena) and allegedly examined them for two hours. The victims were then released without clear reason. Too scared to go to the hospital located around 50 meters from the military post for medical treatment, they made do with traditional remedies. (photo: wounds of beatings and stabbing)
The victims’ colleagues complained to the Kurulu sector police following the incident, but the police refused to process the complaint since there is no substantial evidence to prove the allegations and the military officers are beyond their jurisdiction based on law no. 31 of 1997 regarding military court.
Meanwhile, the head of the military district command (Korem) 172/PWY Ibnu Tri Widodo acknowledged the violence. He stated that the seven soldiers who mistreated the civilians were now held in custody of the Wamena Military Police. They would be brought to the military court. Following the mistreatment, all soldiers on duty in the Kurulu sub-district had been transferred. He further promised that the military would no longer act “arrogantly” towards civilians. However, in many cases of military trials, which are not open to the public, the sentences are merely a light punishment, such as a transfer, which is inadequate given the seriousness of the human rights violations committed. Therefore, the TNI jointly with the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) should send an independent investigation team to transparently resolve this case, as well as ensuring the adequate punishment of those responsible. The military court law should be reviewed to ensure that members of the military are brought exclusively before a competent, objective and impartial civilian court that is compliant with the internationally-accepted standards of fair trial, including public access to the process, in cases of human rights abuses by members of the military against civilians. (photo: Kurulu victim)
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:Torture is used in a widespread way by the police and military against indigenous Papuans, notably on persons suspected of supporting independence movements. Such suspicions are often leveled arbitrarily against members of the indigenous community and result in stigmatisation. This case is a clear example of this pattern.
Furthermore, according to the law on military courts, members of the military that commit crimes against civilians, such as extrajudicial killings or torture, can only be held accountable by military justice systems. Military courts are not open to the public, are notorious for only giving lenient punishments, and show a clear lack of impartiality.

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