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


Time to change Australia’s involvement in West Papua offensive


Act For Peace

23/12/2011 11:03:39 AM

Reports are emerging this week that the helicopters from which 17 West Papuans were recently shot are those of an Australian-owned mining company, Paniai Gold. Further, this ongoing Indonesian offensive involves counter-terrorism unit Detachment 88, which has been trained by Australia.

This Indonesian joint military-police offensive reportedly also burned down the villages of Toko, Badawo, Dogouto, Obayoweta, Dey, and Wamanik, with 20,000 people now displaced. Images reported in Australian and international media show more troops being deployed to West Papua.

Act for Peace is calling on the Australian Government to urgently request that the Indonesian authorities cease any attacks impacting civilians, and that Indonesia and Paniai Gold account for their alleged actions relating to the civilian deaths and forced displacement.

Media is strictly controlled in the region, making the need to pursue a full account more important. The large-scale offensive is in retaliation to the killing of two Indonesian police by Papuan guerrillas in Paniai.

Prior to this operation, in October six unarmed protesters were reportedly killed and many more injured at the Third Papuan People’s Congress.

Act for Peace, the international aid agency of the National Council of Churches in Australia, is also concerned at the targeting of church leaders and communities and the occupation of church buildings, in particular the Kingmi Theological College in Paniai, harassment of Kingmi Church of Papua Moderator the Rev. Benny Giay, and the attack on staff, students and destruction of property at the Catholic Church’s Fajar Timur Theological College in Abepura by the Indonesian police and military on October 19.

We also call on the international community to ensure the Indonesian authorities allow church and Congress leaders in West Papua freedom of expression of their views and rights without fear of persecution.

Act for Peace has supported programs in West Papua including training young community leaders, raising awareness of and helping to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS and growing small businesses to help strengthen the West Papuan economy.

West Papua is the western half of the island of New Guinea, with an indigenous Melanesian population. December 1, 2011 marks the 50th anniversary of the declaration of West Papuan independence from Holland. It was forcibly taken over by Indonesia a year later.

Reports show more than 100,000 Papuans are estimated to have died from military operations since Indonesia took control. State-sponsored migration from other parts of Indonesia has now left the indigenous Melanesians a minority in West Papua.

It is time Australia, as a good international citizen concerned about the protection of civilians, did more to ensure the safety of our neighbours.

Alistair Gee
Executive Director, Act for Peace

A Christmas Message to SBY from Papuan Churches

by Andreas Harsono

FOUR PAPUAN church leaders drafted and debated about their letter to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono while they’re in Jakarta this week. They met Indonesian Coordinating Minister on Politics and Security Djoko Suyantoon Monday, Dec. 12. They spent the next four days to draft the seven-page letter. It was finally signed at about 4pm at the office of the Communion of Churches in Indonesia. They handed over the letter to President Yudhoyono on Friday night at his private residence in Cikeas.They titled the letter, “Pesan Profetis Gereja-Gereja se-Tanah Papua” or the “Prophetical Message from the Churches in the Land of Papua.”

Frederika Korain, a Papuan human rights researcher, thought that it was an important, and histotical moment. She decided to record the moments when the letter was signed.

Rev. Martin Luther Wanma, chairman of the Indonesian Christian Bible Church (blue batik) and Rev. Jemima M. Krey, chairwoman of the Evangelical Christian Church in Papua (black blazer and red scarf) signed the seven-page letter. ©Frederika Korain
Rev. Socratez Sofyan Yoman, chairman of the Alliance of Baptist Churches in Papua signed the seven-page letter. Yoman is also an author. The Indonesian General Attorney Office bans two of his books, Kucuran Air Mata Umat Tuhan di Papua Barat Harus Diakhiri and Pemusnahan Etnis Melanesia. ©Frederika Korain

They prayed and shook hands after signing the seven-page letter. They spent most of their time in the office of the Communion of Churches in Indonesia on Salemba Street, Jakarta. It has a Papua Desk dedicated solely on helping Papuan churches doing their businesses in Jakarta. Rev. Phil Erari, a Papuan priest, an environmentalist and a board member at the Communion of Churches in Indonesia, also attended the signing event.

Rev. Benny Giay, chairman of the Kingmi Gospel Tabernacle Church, spent days to discuss the letter with his colleagues. Giay is also an anthropologist educated at the Vrije University in Amsterdam. When meeting Giay, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, himself a Ph.D, asked Giay in what field he wrote his Ph.D thesis. ©Frederika Korain
Rev. Martin Luther Wanma, chairman of the Indonesian Christian Bible Church, gestured to Rev. Socratez Yoman when signing his letter. Rev. Wanma is based in Manokwari unlike the other three church leaders with their offices in Jayapura.©Frederika Korain

The seven-page letter has the picture of a dying Papuan freedom fighter, Yawan Wayeni. It says that Indonesian police officer Imam Setiawan had killed Wayeni on Aug. 9, 2009 on Serui Island. Setiawan got a promotion. He became the police chief of Jayapura. On Oct. 13, 2011 he led the use of excessive force to crack down the Papuan Congress after one of the leaders read out the 1961 Papua Declaration of Independence. Setiawan is now the deputy director of traffic management at the Papuan police department.

Papuan Church Leaders request dialogue during meeting with Indonesian President


by Andreas Harsono

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Vice President Boediono met four Papuan church leaders in Yudhoyono's private library on Dec. 16, 2011. The Papuan priests presented a letter with several recommendations to Yudhoyono. ©Frederika Korain

FOUR PAPUAN church leaders met Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Vice President Boediono and several cabinet members as well as Indonesia’s military commander and its police chief in President Yudhoyono’s private residence in Cikeas, outside Jakarta, on Friday Dec. 16.

They included Rev. Jemima M. Krey (chairwoman of the Evangelical Christian Church in Papua or Gereja Kristen Injili di Tanah Papua), Rev. Benny Giay (chairman of the Kingmi Gospel Tabernacle Church or Gereja Kingmi di Tanah Papua), Rev. Socratez Sofyan Yoman (chairman of the Alliance of Baptist Churches in Papua or Persekutuan Gereja-Gereja Baptis Papua) and Rev. Martin Luther Wanma (chairman of the Indonesian Christian Bible Church or Gereja Kristen Alkitab Indonesia). Frederika Korain, a Papuan human rights activist and an Australian National University student, also joined the delegate.

The meeting was initiated by the Communion of Churches in Indonesia (Persekutuan Gereja-gereja di Indonesia) whose board members also took part in the meeting: Rev. Andreas Yewangoe (chairman), Rev. Gomar Gultom (secretary general) and Rev. Phil Erari (deputy chairman).

The church leaders handed over a seven-page letter to President Yudhoyono, asking the Indonesian government to have a dialogue with the people of Papua. They also asked Yudhoyono stopping the Matoa Operation in Paniai, Papua, which had caused 14 dead and some burned villages on Dec. 12.

Other recommendations included retrieving non-organic troops from Papua, releasing Papuan political prisoners and annulling the Government Regulation No. 77/2007 which bans the Morning Star flag.

They also declared that the 2001 Special Autonomy in Papua had failed. They questioned the establishment of the Unit to Accelerate the Development of Papua and West Papua provinces (UP4B) without the participation of the Papuans, calling such a move “non democratic.”

Benny Giay told me Saturday that the meeting was taking place for more than two hours. “It really hurt me when knowing our church members were attacked, their villages being burned, while we’re here in Jakarta.”

Giay came from the village Onago on Lake Tigi in Paniai, near Edadu, where the Indonesian military and police have been organizing a joint military operation since Dec. 13.

They also told President Yudhoyono that most native Papuans have suffered from Indonesian rule since Indonesia took over New Guinea in 1962. Violence created much suffering on the people. They said most Papuans aspired to be separated from Indonesia.

In front of his guests, Yudhoyono immediately asked Indonesian police chief Gen. Timur Pradopo to stop the Matoa Operation. He also mentioned that U.S. President Barack Obama and State Secretary Hillary Clinton had raised the issues of human rights violations in Papua.

Yudhoyono welcomed such a dialogue but he reminded his guests that as president he has to keep the territorial integrity of Indonesia. He promised to enforce the law in Papua and to stop human rights abuses. Yudhoyono promised to have another dialogue with the four reverends in the third week of January.

Rev. Martin Luther Wanma, chairman of the Indonesian Christian Bible Church or Gereja Kristen Alkitab Indonesia (blue batik), Rev. Benny Giay, chairman of the Kingmi Gospel Tabernacle Church or Gereja Kingmi di Tanah Papua (black jacket), Rev. Socratez Sofyan Yoman, chairman of the Alliance of Baptist Churches in Papua or Persekutuan Gereja-Gereja Baptis Papua (light grey jacket) and Rev. Jemima M. Krey, chairwoman of the Evangelical Christian Church in Papua or Gereja Kristen Injili di Tanah Papua (black blazer) and Rev. Gomar Gultom of the Communion of Churches in Indonesia (brown batik) talked straight to Indonesian leaders. ©Frederika Korain

The meeting began at 9pm and ended at 11.30pm at Yudhoyono’s private library. Gomar Gultom organized a press conference at the office of the Communion of Churches in Indonesia Saturday morning.

Both Yoman and Giay are under the Indonesian military watch list. An Indonesian military document leaked in August 2011 revealed that Kopassus agents were closely monitoring Giay and Yoman.

Another leaked letter dated April 30, 2011, from the Indonesian military commander in Papua, Maj. Gen. Erfi Triassunu, to the provincial governor, Barnabas Suebu, also shows a military interference in civil society in Papua.

The letter accuses Rev. Benny Giay’s Kingmi Gospel Tabernacle Church of trying to build an exclusive organization based on Papuan ethnicity, which Major General Triassunu viewed as a potential separatist movement, and suggests having the military mediate a conflict between the Kingmi Church (Gereja Kemah Injil or Kingmi Church) and the Indonesian Gospel Tabernacle Church (Gereja Kemah Injil Indonesia or GKII). The letter also urges that if deliberations cannot resolve the conflict, “immediate action” should be taken. Since the letter came to light, Major General Triassunu has publicly apologized for accusing the church of being a separatist organization, claiming a faction of the church had asked for assistance from the military.

Yawan Wayeni

Giay told me that Yudhoyono was surprised when seeing the photo of a dying Papuan activist Wayan Wayeni on the letter. They told him that Imam Setiawan, the Indonesian police officer who led the attack against Yawan Wayeni on Serui Island, in August 2009, was later promoted to be the police chief of Jayapura. In his new position, Setiawan used excessive forces when cracking down the Papuan Congress in October 2011 and arrested around 300 Papuans. But Setiawan got another promotion despite a written warning for his abusive behavior. He’s now the deputy director of traffic in Papua.

Original Letter from West Papuan church leaders on presented at President Yudhoyono’s private residence in Cikeas, outside Jakarta, on Friday Dec. 16, asking the Indonesian government to have a dialogue with the people of Papua. (Bahasa Indonesia: English translation currently unavailable) :

Third Papuan Congress opens in a field

Bintang Papua, 17 October 2011
[Abridged in translation by TAPOL]Jayapura: The Third Papuan People’s Congress opened in Jayapura today and took place in a field in the open air, after failing to get permission to use either the UNCEN auditorium or GOR, the sports stadium in Jayapura.

Selpius Bobii, chairman of the congress, said that the congress would open at 9am on Monday on Lapangan Sakeus (Sakeus Field).  He said the opening would take place as planned with communal prayers, followed by a seminar which may or may not be addressed by a speaker from the central government.

The format of the congress would be more or less the same as previous congresses – a seminar, followed by discussions and a plenary session. The speakers would include a spokesperson from the NGO Foker, Septer Manufandu, church leaders, Rev. Benny Giay, Rev Socrates S. Yoman and Rev. Yemima Krey.

The theme of the congress is as previously announced: ‘To uphold the basic rights of the Papuan people now and in the future.’

Bobii said that the participants have come from kampungs throughout the territory who were paying their own way; they would convey their opinions about what they feel. ‘Our task is only to accommodate them and facilitate the congress. They will speak about the situation in their own regions and will adopt decisions and decide what they need to do to implement these decisions.’

He also conveyed thanks to the central government for giving its blessing to the event. ‘We also convey our thanks to the community in general for their participation, and for their help in ensuring that this event takes  place in a conducive situation.’

Meanwhile groups who oppose the congress also expressed their thoughts. The chairman of the DPD (central council) of Garuda Indonesia Komando,  Richard Kabarek, whose parents and grandparents are from Bali and Java, expressed the hope that the congress would discuss the situation of the Papuan people.and how they can improve their living conditions.

As for the top officials of the provincial and local administrations, he said: ‘We hope that they will stop doing things that create panic and confusion among the population.’ He went on to say: ‘We are the younger generation  and we acknowledge  that there are discrepancies between us and the Papuan people. We are from the Republic of Indonesia – NKRI , we too need help, we need education and  we need decent living conditions.’

He appealed to the central government ‘to draw up a programme of development so as to ensure that the people living in the interior experience improvements  in their living conditions.’

He also expressed the hope that the Third Papuan Congress would adopt decisions that would not  be harmful to their own situation and to the community in general.

Another person who expressed his views was Yusak Pakage who decided not to attend the congress. He said that he had attended the Second Congress when  the situation was different from the present day. On that occasion, the central government supported the congress and also provided financial assistance and security. [Note: No reference is made to the fact that the second congress took place in 2000 during the presidency of Abdurahman Wahid – Gus Dur – who was sympathetic towards the Papuan people – which may well have been one of the reasons why his presidency ended with his impeachment. TAPOL]

Much depends on those who were given a mandate by the second congress, said Pakage: ‘Many things have happened since then for which they are responsible. Those who are  given a mandate this time should  report their activities to the people and should not do anything detrimental to the people.

‘We also know that there are those who are for and those who are against this congress, in particular the TPN/OPM led by Lambert Pekikir, who is chairman of the Revolutionary Council of West Papua.’

Speaking on behalf of the TPN/OPM, Pekikir said: ‘The Papuan people should not be influenced by the organisaion, the congress or whatever form of dialogue is agreed. It should not result in the Papuan people becoming victims because of the differences of opinons, between the ‘pros’ and the ‘contras’.

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