Jubi: Governor Warns Native Papuans Could Disappear in 10 – 20 Years

From our partners at Tabloid Jubi’s West Papua Daily

October 17, 2015

Papua Governor, Lukas Enembe - Jubi

Jayapura, Jubi – The planed transmigration program in Papua proposed by Minister of Rural, Remote Development Area and Transmigration, Marwan Jafar, is a demographic threat to indigenous Papuans, warned Papua Governor Lukas Enembe.

“We have rejected this Central Government’s program. If they are still put it into their agenda, it should be the local transmigration instead of sending people from Java or other regions to Papua,” Enembe said on last week.

“Replacing poor people to Papua means to bring problems to Papua. It would not only bring the economic, employment of social problems, but I am worried that the transmigration would demolish the population of indigenous Papuans. I am afraid that within ten to twenty years the indigenous Papuans would disappear from this land,” Enembe told Jubi at the Governor’s Official Resident in Jayapura on Saturday evening (17/10/2015).

The governor said until now no party has the accurate data about the number of indigenous Papuans in Papua. So how to protect the indigenous Papuans of the transmigration program is still continued without any data on the population of indigenous Papuans?

“We are still struggling with some issues of education, health, infrastructure and empowerment of indigenous Papuans. The transmigration would add the problem faced by the local government. Moreover if those who brought in are people without expertise thus it would not give benefit to the development in this land,” said Enembe.

In the early September, the Minister Marwan Jafar demonstrated his attitude to opposite the statement of the President Indonesia, Joko Widodo about to stop the transmigration program in Papua. Instead of support the president’s statement; he made his statement to expand the transmigration program in Papua. He said the program of sending poor people from the crowd area to less population area who also provided with cash and land has been proven to be “success” in Merauke.

“Merauke could be regarded as the border area that has been successful in implementing the transmigration and agricultural development program in the eastern Indonesia,” Marwan told reporters in Jakarta. He added Merauke is “the heaven for transmigrants”. He predicted that 275 thousand people have been moved to Merauke since Indonesia’s annexation towards West Papua in 1969.

He said the transmigration program would increase the production as well as support the government’s plan to develop 1.2 million hectares of paddy fields in Merauke under the Merauke Integrated Rice Estate (MIRE) Project. (Victor Mambor/rom)

Indonesia’s Colonial Transmigration is intentional annihilation of Papua’s Indigenous peoples


Special analysis and investigation

By Santon Tekege

This piece was originally sent to be published for the International Day of Peace, September 21, however given its length, editing translation has taken several weeks.

papua vs indon population breakdown graph
Population growth charts of indigenous Papuans vs transmigrants under Indonesian occupation (Illustrative Graph: Awikaituma)


I write these words with tears falling down my face. As an indigenous Papuan I feel like I have been expelled from my own land. It’s as if we have been removed far away from the land of Papua, like the land is being purged of all indigenous Papuans. My people have become observers of all the changes that we are being subjected to and of all the games and manoeuvres being played out by the Indonesian Government in Papua. I ask myself what I have done wrong, such that I as one of the owners of this land should have been pushed to the margins in this way. Marginalised and expelled from my own land.


The marginalisation of the indigenous Papuan population is happening not only as a result of the flood of non-Papuans arriving in the land week after week, but also is being contributed to by the low birth rates of indigenous Papuans at this time, whilst there is also an continuous increase in their death rate. The native peoples of the land of Papua are being annihilated intentionally by the Indonesian Government. Annihilated on the soil of their own ancestors.

Marginalisation of the Indigenous Papuan Community through Transmigration.

 The plan of the central Indonesian Government at this time to restart the transmigration program to Papua, is a matter of great concern. Not only for Papuans themselves, but it should also be of great concern for others as in every location where Papuans are being increasingly pushed out to the margins there is a growing risk of conflict at some future date.

As has been previously reported in the national Indonesian media, Marwan Jafar – recently appointed by President Widodo as the Minister for Villages, Transmigration and the Development of Undeveloped Regions – has stated that there would be a new program that would take residents from the overpopulated regions of Java to the still underpopulated region of Papua. Jafar stated that he would carry out a large scale socialisation of the area in stages, and that he’d work closely with the Indonesian military and police to ensure safety for the new transmigrants so they felt safe to make the shift to a transmigration area (see Antara 5 November 2014).

In response, Cypri Jehan Paju Dale, a researcher who since 2012 has been carrying out research into social issues in Papua, has stated that a new transmigration program would worsen the already occurring marginalisation of the indigenous Papuan population. Dale together with an activist Pastor John Djonga in 2011 wrote “The Papuan Paradox”.  He stated that at this time there is a real feeling of dread amongst Papuans. They are anxious as they can already see the reality that the numbers of non-Papuans is continuing to rapidly increase as Non-Papuans quickly become a growing majority of the population in Papua. Those anxieties already are very much present amongst Papuans, so to hear that the Government is going to relocate yet more transmigrants, causes people great concern indeed. They are well aware that this will make the already existing threat even more immediate and increase the level of injustices against indigenous Papuans.

By way of background, the transmigration program has been in operation in Indonesia since the 1950’s when today’s Indonesian was still partly under Dutch control. The program failed continuously throughout the Suharto era. He then went on to be removed as president in 1998. According to Dale’s research the extent of numbers of transmigrants that have been moved to Papua from other islands in the archipelago have changed the demographics of Papua such that in recent years the indigenous Papuan sector of the population has been reduced to below 50 percent of the total population.

As can be seen clearly on the map below, according to 2003 census data the relative proportions of indigenous Papuans and non-Papuans were at that time 52% and 48% respectively, from a total population of 1.9 million. By 2010 census data showed indigenous Papuans having reduced to 49% compared to non-Papuans 51%, from a total population of 2,833,381.

Demographic dispersal in Papua
Demographic dispersal in Papua

In some kabupaten (local administration areas) the numbers of non-Papuans are now much higher than the numbers of indigenous Papuans. In Keerom kabupaten for example according to the 2010 census, the total of indigenous persons in the population was only 40.64%. Similarly in the Merauke kabupaten it was only 37.34% indigenous, in Mimika 41.36% , Nabire 39.90%, Sorong 40.03%, Fakfak 41.78% and in Manokwari 49.45%. In the main towns of every kabupaten in both provinces – Papua and West Papua – the non-Papuans now exceed the numbers of indigenous Papuans (refer to the map above for detail).

According to the Writer not only has there been a change in demographics but also an imbalance in economics of the Papuan and non-Papuan sectors of the society. With non-Papuans having taken control of all the economic centres in the main towns and cities, whilst the larger majority of the indigenous population continues to be spread throughout the interior living with very minimal facilities. The benefits of development seen through the Special Autonomy program in Papua have been and continue to be enjoyed primarily by non-Papuans (despite continuous claims that it is indigenous Papuans who are benefiting). This is what Papuans refer to as development that has been ‘snatched by the transmigrants’.  There are very small number of Papuans who are enjoying those fruits of Special Autonomy, but they are a very small group only of the Papuan elite. By far the larger majority of indigenous Papuans are far from being able to access any benefits such as those that are being espoused to the wider public.

A key figure of the Amungme community in Timika kabupaten, Papua Mr Thomas Wanmang, has stated in an interview that his people have experienced many injustices as a result of the large influx of non-Papuans into their area. This includes those who have come through transmigration programs and others who have transmigrated independently of those formal programs. Wanmang claims that the transmigration process at this time is itself what is causing the increasingly serious lack of attention that is being shown by the government towards the indigenous sector of the Papuan population. “As Papuans we are being given nothing whatsoever. What’s happening is that those who have transmigrated here are being spoilt and treated like they are something special.” He stressed that the presence of the transmigrants is creating a sense of jealousy in Papuan circles. “As we as the owners of this land meanwhile can’t go forward.”

The Papuan Provincial Governor Lukas Enembe in an interview with Tabloid Jubi in Jayapura on 5 November 2014 firmly stated his rejection of the plan of Minister Marwan Jafar to reactivate the Transmigration Program.  According to Enembe further transmigration would result in the needs of the indigenous population being increasingly ignored and of them becoming an increasing minority in their own land.  In that interview Enembe admitted that the Papuan population had already become much smaller than the non-Papuan sector.  He went on to say that it wasn’t the Papuan provincial government that had agreed to the new transmigration program but rather the new government of Jokowi. “Indigenous Papuans are now small in number and the government is not able to treat them any better than this. So why would yet more people be tranmigrated from Java? For this reason there is as yet no plan in place (by the Papuan Provincial Government) to bring more transmigrants here.”


The need for serious attention to the situation.

 The invasion of Papua by peoples from other regions of the Indonesian archipelago has increasingly become a mechanism of colonialism, a way of taking control of a region through a policy of systematically populating the area with a new people. A human invasion into Papua which has been accompanied by a ‘securitisation’ of the region by the State which is so very excessive. A securitisation which includes the practice of torture and which controls and oppresses the Papuan people by every political means possible.

An awareness of the potentially negative effects of further transmigration on the indigenous Papuan population were obviously evident to Minister Marwan Jafar as reflected by his statement that the Ministers would work together with the Indonesian military and police to make Papua safe for transmigrants. This is even worse than the colonialism experienced by Papuans during the period when the Dutch held the colonial power in the archipelago. The numbers of the Dutch were largely limited to those on the islands of Nusantara. Whereas at this time Papuans have become a minority in all the major towns and cities throughout Papua.

Many at this time are saying that Indonesian has been extremely effective in colonising Papua. They have ‘achieved’ that by applying policies and practices that have involved major risks. Risks of future problems that are hard to even imagine at this time. It is for this reason that some parties have been lobbying President Jokowi to place a moratorium on transmigration to Papua. However it is very clear that Indonesia needs a continuing mechanism for the ongoing organised invasion of Papua such that the Papuan people become increasingly marginalised and become as if foreigners in their own native land. “There must be constant pressure created by policies towards indigenous Papuans and in particular in the areas of economics, education and health” Jafar explained.


The critical importance of dialogue at this time between Papua and the central government has been stressed by humanitarian organisations, churches, lecturers and university aged students. For so long dialogue has been called for. “Within the forum of dialogue all problems can be spoken of openly, be put on the table for resolution” Pastor John Djonga stated. Proper Dialogue, did not impose any limitations on the framework under discussion, for example final full independence (Merdeka harga mati) or non-negotiable final acceptance of remaining with NKRI.

“At the same time as stressing the importance of bringing an end to the problems of history which are indeed complex (WPM: Demand of “Rectification of History”), dialogue is also considered as one way which can bring about an appropriate solution to the many urgent problems that people are observing each day with their own eyes. Problems including marginalisation of Papuans, being made a minority in their own land, and injustices related to the transfer of a population to the land of Papua” he continued.

Pastor John Djonga has also urged the government to carry out an overall evaluation of the results of the practice of transmigration until this time. He points out one particular effect of the transmigration which has been the lack of regard of the Indonesian government for the ways of the indigenous Papuan community. He writes of the practice of the government which has been to take land from Papuans for giving to transmigrants. He explains that in Papuan culture the land is held communally, whereas the government persists in just approaching a very few people nominated by the tribal head, with the money given for the land is then split between those few only. He stresses “whereas in reality that land is the property of the entire community concerned. This creates the seed of division in a community that until that time was strong and united.”

Pastor Djonga himself acknowledges that it’s impossible to close ones eyes to the imbalance that now exists between the indigenous Papuans and the transmigrants. He points out that the newcomers arrive with high levels of motivation to improve their standard of living and willingness to work hard to do so. What’s more they come already having certain skills, whereas Papuans have an attitude of going along just as normal and they continue with their usual traditional way of life. With the consequence that the gap between the races is progressively widening.”  However he says, the situation as it is in this regard cannot be blamed totally on the work ethic of the Papuans, as “for a long time now Papuans have not been receiving any serious attention from the government.” According to Pastor Djonga the government must not force further transmigration on the Papuan community. “Don’t let it get to the point that the government plants further seeds of problems. The transmigrants will also then be responsible for the consequences.”


Similar views have been expressed by Gunawan Iggeruhi, a 30 year old human rights activist in Papua, who said “it is better that the government listens first to the voices of Papuans before they go ahead and make policies that are totally rejected by the people of Papua.”

According to Iggeruhi, until this time Papuans have appeared on the surface to respond to the arrival of the countless transmigrants like it was nothing extraordinary, “however the reality is that Papuans inside are carrying constant wounds in their hearts over the massive transmigration.

“Wounds that have not been allowed to heal due to the incessant actions of the government against the Papuan people; actions which have become increasingly serious”. Iggeruhi continued, “to stop those wounds continuing to deepen the transmigration needs to stop and truly allow the real life of indigenous Papuans to be planted in this land so that they do not forever feel like they are treated as second class citizens.”

It is now visibly apparent that the proportion of indigenous Papuans is progressively decreasing each month in Papua. This is contributed to by the low birth rates together with the increasing death rates amongst Papuans. This is in comparison to the birth rates of Non-Papuans in the land which are rapidly increasing whilst the death rates of Non-Papuans are at a real minimum. These realities need to be considered together with other factors and in particular that the number of migrants coming to Papua continue to grow and that all towns, cities and in fact every corner of Papua have now been taken over by Non-Papuans. As a result the indigenous Papuan population is now on a path heading towards extinction. It has been estimated that if the current trends continue that indigenous Papuans may be no longer by the year 2040.


The claim that indigenous Papuans will be ‘wiped out’ by the year 2040

 What has the life of indigenous Papuans been like since they became a part of the Republic of Indonesia, and how has that reflected in changing population statistics from prior eras to now? Results of research by Dr. Jim Elmslie & Dr. Camellia Webb Gannon from the University of Sydney’s Peace & Conflict Studies in Australia are very telling. Two years following the 1969 Act of Free Choice in 1971, indigenous Papuans comprised 96% of the population (887,000 out of the total 923,000 population). Whilst the Non-Papuan total at that time was stated as 36,000 (4% of the population). Within 53 years of Papua being part of Indonesia the total of Non-Papuans has reached 53% at 1.956 million, whilst the indigenous Papuan population has decreased to 1.7 million being 47% of the total population.

papua vs indon population breakdown graph

The data published by Dr Elmslie & Dr Webb-Gannon from Australia has since been re-analysed by a Mr Ir. Yan Awikaitumaa Ukago, M.M in Papua (10 August 2015), who used a method involving the use of non-linear segregation graphics mathematics (refer diagram above). According to Ukago “The growth of the indigenous Papuan population (shown by the red line in the diagram) tended to stagnate over a period of a decade and declined following 2005. Meaning that from 1971 until 2004 the numbers of Indigenous Papuans in Papua were still dominant (shown by the red area). However following that year the numbers of Non-Papuans (shown by the yellow area) became dominant. Reading from the diagram, the red line is the graphic representation of the growth rate of indigenous Papuans, whereas the yellow refers to the growth rate of the Non-Papuan sector of the population. It appears that the total of Non-Papuans at the start in 1971 was very few. However the population of that sector increased until in 2004 it was equal with that of Papuans (when the Papuan sector numbered 1.65 million (50%) and the Non-Papuan sector also numbered 1.65 million (50%). From 2005 onwards the growth rate of Indigenous Papuans tended to fall whilst that of Non-Papuans sharply rose and even more so in the era of Special Autonomy in Papua.”

Based on his segregation analysis (shown by the dotted lines in the diagram above), it is estimated that by the year 2025 the population of indigenous Papuans will have fallen to 1.5 million persons (36%) whilst the Non-Papuan population will have risen to 2.7 million persons (64% of the total population). Furthermore, under such conditions where there is no protection of the race, it is expected that the indigenous Papuans will become extinct by the year 2040. This means that “by 2040 the population in Papua will have reached 6 million but it will not be indigenous Papuans who will own the land” Ukago stated.

The decline in the population of indigenous Papuans was acknowledged by the previous Governor of the Papuan Province, Barnabas Suebu S.H, in his written address at the official appointment of the Merauke Bupati on 8 January 2011. According to then Governor Suebu “Indigenous Papuans are going to continue to decline in number as a consequence particularly of the migration of Non-Papuans, which is in turn the result of the growth of the (Indonesian) population which is the highest in the world (at 5.7%) per annum …. Accordingly the division into new kabupatens must not result in causing indigenous Papuans to become separated from and even forcibly removed from their ancestors’ lands.”

According to a population census carried out in 2010 in the West Papuan Province the number of indigenous Papuans in that province was 760,000, amounting to 51.67% of the total population in the province. That is, the populations of Papuan and non-Papuan in the western province were reported as being roughly equal. The head of the BPS (Badan Pusat Statistik or Indonesia’s Central Statistics Body, which carried out the census) Tanda Siriat stated that BPS applied six criteria in collecting data to determine who was categorised as ‘indigenous Papuans’.

  1. Any person with both the mother and father were indigenous Papuans.
  2. Any person with a father who was indigenous Papuan but the mother of non-Papuan descent.
  3. Any person with a mother who was indigenous Papuan but the father of non-Papuan descent.
  4. Any person who was non-ethnic Papuan but through Papuan traditional customary law and as acknowledged by the Papuan community was regarded as an indigenous Papuan.
  5. Any person who was non-ethnic Papuan but who had been adopted or was acknowledged through family name as having been adopted into the indigenous Papuan community.
  6. Any person who had been living continuously in Papua for more than 25 years.

Jim Elmslie’s “Slow Motion Genocide in Land of Papua”

 Jim Elmslie in his book, “West Papuan Demographic Transition and the 2010 Indonesian Census: “Slow Motion Genocide” or not?” (University of Sydney, Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies) states that as at 1971 the indigenous Papuan population was 887,000. Then by 2000 it had risen to 1,505,405, a growth on average of 1.84% per year. Whereas he reports the total of Non-Papuans in 1971 was 36,000 which he claims rose to 708,425 by the year 2000, with an average yearly growth rate of 10.82%.

So that by mid-2010 according to Elmslie, the total of indigenous Papuans had reached 1,730.336 (47.89% of the population) whilst Non-Papuans had that same year reached 1,882,517 (52.10%). By the end of 2010 the respective populations had reached: Indigenous Papuans 1,760,557 (48.73%) and Non-Papuans, 1,852,297 (51.27%), giving the figure he states for the total population in 2010 of 3,612,854 (100%).

Elmslie estimates that by 2020 with these current trends that the overall combined population of Papua will have reached 7,287,463, comprising a forecast total of indigenous Papuans 2,112,681 (28.99% ) and Non-Papuans 5,174,782 (71.01%), indicating a slower population growth rate of indigenous Papuans than of Non-Papuans. In his analysis of the reasons for the difference Elmslie points out that apart from the impact of social factors and human rights violations, the primary cause is the transmigration of population from outside of Papua which is excessive.

The Head of the BPS in the Papuan Province Ir. J.A. Djarot Soetanto, MM has criticised Elmslie’s analysis of the situation when he claims the problem is intentional acts of genocide or the annihilation of indigenous Papuans. According to Soetanto that is untrue. He made a very different conclusion stating that the census data for Papua for the year 2010 pointed to a total combined population of 2,833,381 of which indigenous Papuans were still the majority with 76% as compared to Non-Papuans of only 24%.

It is the opinion of Yan Ukago that if indigenous Papuans were asked which of these two interpretations they believed was correct, that he has no doubt they would agree with the reports of the BPS census in each respective province, the conclusions of Jim Elmslie and the Papuan Governor’s statement as stated above. There’s a number of reasons for this. Firstly that Papuans are now so far removed from trusting the government in Papua which has tended to act in the interests of the central Indonesian government until now. Secondly the death rates of Papuans from babies through to adult ages has continued to rise and that is obvious to people from everyday observation. Thirdly every week Papuans see large number of Non-Papuans arriving from other parts of Indonesia by ocean going boats and planes. And then of course the fact that the history of the integration of Papua into Indonesia is regarded by Papuans as most unjust. Furthermore as Papuans’ human rights have been ignored until now such that they never feel free to live as human beings even on their own ancestors land.

It is the Writer’s observation that the butchery that has occurred against the Papuan community has actually become an intentional agenda of Indonesian government tradition. Those implementing that agenda have had two approaches. The first is overt. This has been carried out through military regional operations, shootings, creating so called local conflict, intentional creation of situations of violence, a range of stigmatism against indigenous Papuans including their alleged stupidity, the use of homebrew alcohol {WPM Eds: strong, often tainted or poisoned alcohol distributed by intelligence and military operatives believed by many Papuans to be a tool of genocide}.

The second is the covert approach of killing, which Papuans refer to as ‘slow motion genocide’. This continues to take place by way of kidnappings, killings, poisoning through food and drink, the intentional introduction of HIV/AIDS into Papua through prostitution, injection needles and tattoos, and HIV infection through {bad sexual health practices through the use of} alcohol. And so the list goes on. The overall impact of both approaches being the dramatic and continual decline of the indigenous Papuan population.



Many calls from the Papuan community are heard constantly as to the steps required to solve the problems of Papua. These are the offers of dialogue between Jakarta and Papua, a referendum and the third, independence for Papua. To dilute the lack of acceptance of the status quo, there have been efforts from the provincial governments and the Central Government to improve the quality of life of Indigenous Papuans.


The Indonesian Government would do well at this time to invite an international census team to independently carry out a census through the entire region of Papua, to verify whether the BPS or alternatively the KPU (General Election Commission) version is reflective of reality. Accurate data from an international source such as this could be just what they need to counter Elmslie’s data and analyses, as this matter has become really a thorn in the side for Indonesia. Elmslie’s data published by Sydney University is perceived as a threat to Indonesia’s sovereignty over Papua. (WPM Editorial note: The Writer is not implying Elmslie’s data is incorrect, rather making the case that the only way for Indonesian to counter this data is through the conduct of a free and unimpeded census by an international team.)

If Indonesia’s butchery is allowed to continue then sooner or later the Land of Papua will be surely have to be released from the Republic of Indonesia as a direct result of the treatment of the indigenous peoples of Papua already being classified as ‘slow motion genocide’. A genocide that has been allowed to happen through the application of a range of approaches by Indonesia that have killed and violated the human rights of the people of the land. As has been seen time and time again in the killings by the Indonesian Armed Forces that have become known locally as ‘Paniai Berdarah’ (‘berdarah’ referring to a flowing of blood), ‘Biak Berdarah’, ‘Wamena Berdarah.’ ‘Timika Berdarah’ and others. These conditions paint a picture of a land that exists at the threshold of extinction.


This means of course that a part of the Melanesian race is drowning in the bosom of Motherland (Indonesian state). If what is happening in Papua is a ‘slow motion genocide’, then surely we will see support come for Papua to be set free, not only from the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) and Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), but also surely in time from the members of ASEAN and other nations. The Indonesian Government will undoubtedly view that support when it comes as if those nations want to see the land of Papua released by Indonesia to independence; however their efforts are really intended to try and save indigenous Papuans from extinction.

“I dedicate this writing on the International Day of Peace.”

Timika, Papua. 21 September 2015

Brother Santon Tekege is a Pastoral Support Worker in the Diocese of Timika, Papua.  He chooses to publish under his own name, however his safety is monitored 24 hours a day by an international protection network.  (please give at West Papua Media to support our monitoring efforts for writers and journalists at risk in West Papua.)

Selpius Bobii: The Annihilation of Indigenous West Papuans: A Challenge and a Hope

(Apologies for the delay in posting due to significant funding shortfall and time over-commitments from WPM team)


By Selpius Bobii

Abepura, 25 March 2013

This article presents a challenge to all who have a heart for, and who are working without reward, to save the ethnic people of West Papua which are now heading towards annihilation. This article in particular considers the question as to whether there is truly annihilation occurring of the indigenous West Papuan people. (The term Papua or West Papua below are taken to include both the Papuan and West Papuan Provinces).

Are Ethnic West Papuans really being annihilated?

The indigenous community of West Papua is currently made up of 248 tribes (according to works of a Research Team published in 2008) inhabiting the land of West Papua.  Whilst east Papua is the well known nation of Papua New Guinea (PNG).  There have been findings that some tribes of Papua have already become extinct whilst others that are still surviving are now heading towards extinction.  The most disturbing finding (references below) from researchers at both Yale University in USA and Sydney University, Australia, have concluded that what is occurring in Papua is in fact genocide, with the primary actors being the Indonesian military (TNI) and Police (POLRI).

Military Operations

The main means of annihilation are overt and covert military operations carried out by the Republic of Indonesia (NKRI) continually since the military invasion in 1962 – an invasion that was intended to actualise the declaration of TRIKORA (being to dismantle the State of Papua), by the then President Sukarno.

There have been three major stages of military operations applied in Papua. The first was preceded by the sending of military troops illegally to Papua in 1962, at a time when Papua was still under administration of the Dutch Government – events Papuans state to have been a military invasion. The first stage of ongoing military operations occurred following the surrender of the administration of Papua from the Dutch to NKRI in 1963, and continued until 1969.  NKRI used a number of names for this stage of their military operations including ‘Operation Annihilation, Operation Ox I (using the name for wild ox of Java ‘banteng’),Operation Ox II, Operation Red Eagle, Operation White Eagle, Operation Wolf and Operation Dragon.

After NKRI had successfully invaded Papua, it continued its military operations with strategies and tactics that were to become most decisive in this stage of history.  This second stage of military operations were known as (as translated) Operation Authority (1970-1974), Operation Erode (1977), Operation Aware(1979), Operation Sweep Clean (1981-1984). (See article ‘ The Existence of TNI and Military Violence in Papua from 1963-2005’)).  Officially (Papua was designated as a ) Military Operations Area (referred to as Daerah Operasi Militer ‘DOM’) was in effect from 1978 to 5 October 1998.  Withdrawal of this status in Papua was encouraged by the Reformation (Reformasi movement) in 1998, with DOM status legally withdrawn on 5 October 1998, however there was a continuation of ‘de-facto’ DOM status which has continued until today.

The third stage which started with the Reformation in 1998 and which has continued to run concurrently with the second stage until this date, has involved a number of specific operations that have been carried out. These have become known as:

  • Bloody Biak (06 July 1998),
  • Bloody Nabire (2000),
  • Bloody Abepura (6-7 December 2000),
  • Bloody Wamena (6 October 2002),
  • Waspier (13 June 2001),
  • Bloody Kiama
  • Bloody Padang Bullen (20 October 2011).

At the date of writing military operations are continuing in Puncak Jaya, Puncak, Wamena and Paniai together with other covert operations throughout the land of Papua.

Numbers of deaths resulting from Military Operations

According to scientific research carried out by Yale University in the USA, it has been estimated that between 1963 and 1969 that more than 10,000 indigenous Papuans were slaughtered by the TNI and/or Indonesian Police.  From 1971, and throughout the period with which the Military Operations Area was officially in effect (1978-1998), the extent of the large numbers of indigenous Papuans killed (can never) accurately be known,  as the processes (and) numbers killed were not recorded by the armed forces. Whilst the community to date has never been allowed ‘the space’ to be able to gather and publish the data (ie space from intimidation and fear of “known ramifications” or military retribution).  Military operations during this time have included bombings, shootings, kidnapping, murder, forced disappearances, detention and imprisonment, torture, rape, theft and killing of domestic livestock, destruction of crops/vegetable gardens (which are peoples’ source of survival), burning of homes to the ground, burning of churches, killing by poisoning of food and water, and others.

There have been killings carried out in sadistic ways such as on victims whilst still alive, having their body parts chopped off with a short machete/chopping knife or axe; or victims being sliced up with razors or knives then then the open flesh being filled with chilly water; males and females being forced to have sex before their torturers then the males genitals being cut off and the their wives forced to eat them, following which they are both killed; being killed by being suspended (strung up) until dead; being thrown alive into deep chasms where there is no way out; being tied up and placed alive into a sack then thrown into the sea, a lake or river; being buried in the earth alive; iron bars being heated in a fire then inserted into the anus, the mouth, or into the female internally through the genitals.

Introduced diseases

Diseases that have been taken to Papua by unmedicated new settlers has also played a role in accelerating the rate of death of Papuans since the annexation of Papua into NKRI. Those introduced diseases include TB, Tapeworm infections, Typhoid, Cholera, Hepatitis, venereal diseases, HIV/AIDS and others. In the previous era prior to new settlers arriving these diseases were unknown by our ancestors. These types of infections / diseases spread quickly after infected persons arrive due to inadequate health services and the absence of availability of health equipment and infrastructure in the Papuan villages. Even when there is health equipment in the remote villages so often the staff are half-hearted about health services for Papuans and health problems arising from the spread of these introduced diseases are not properly attended to. If newcomers are not treated immediately on arrival these diseases spread ferociously amongst the indigenous population that has not had time to develop resistance to them, and in this environment of poor health services that frequently leads to death.

Alcohol related deaths

Consumption of alcohol is also playing a role in the annihilation of indigenous Papuans. The Writer once noticed on a carton in a shop the notice (as translated) “This stock especially for Papuans”. Why is there separate alcohol stock for Papuans? Many indigenous Papuans have died as an immediate result of alcohol consumption. Is there something mixed into the alcohol that which can cause quick death? Is it in fact ethanol (100% alcohol) that is being sold for Papuans’ consumption? Apart from many deaths related to alcohol, many social problems are also being created within families as a result of excessive drinking and many alcohol related crimes have occurred. The national government has on a number of occasions run campaigns to prohibit the excessive consumption of alcohol but at the same time they’ve been giving permits to proprietors to import and sell alcohol in shops and bars (with no limits imposed). Clearly there is tax income generated from these sales for the government. However the tax made by the government on these unregulated sales is far outweighed by the costs of the impact of excessive alcohol consumption on the community. This can destroy young peoples’ futures, quite apart from the sudden deaths it often causes. There is a locally made type of alcohol that is known as ‘Milo’ that could if regulated well by working with the local community, have much less destructive effects on our people. However as the government really doesn’t have a heart to break this chain of excessive production and distribution of alcohol, so this is yet another instance – though be it indirect – of the government contributing to the increased death rate of the indigenous Papuan race.

Government ‘Family Planning’ Programs

Another factor effecting the population growth of ethnic Papuans is the government’s Family Planning Program.  As Papuans have now become a minority in the land of our ancestors and our numbers are known to be decreasing, what then is the purpose of the government restricting the birth rate of indigenous Papuan families? Their family planning program teaches that ‘2 children is better’ but to Papuans this is absolutely not acceptable. Why should indigenous Papuans that have such a wide expanse of land and so much natural wealth yet be forced to join this program? We believe this is but another aspect of NKRI’s attempts though indirect, to bring about the decline of the Papuan indigenous population.

Loss of lands and natural resources

A further factor contributing to the decrease in the population of indigenous West Papuans is that of welfare as related to lost access to land and natural resources. Indeed financial problems of ethnic groups living in urban areas are a very real determining factor contributing to the annihilation of some ethnic West Papuan tribes.  This is the result of their land and natural resources being taken over by new immigrants, and whether by means of sale or theft, the end result is the same: being that people from those urban areas become without land and without natural resources, the two factors which have throughout time been their source of life.  Indeed this can cause depression, stress, deep psychological problems, poor nutrition, sickness and finally death. At the time of writing there are indigenous tribes from two regions in particular considered to be at high risk in this regard as they have sold the lands of their ancestors to newcomers. These are in Jayapura city and the wider the Jayapura local government area and secondly in the Merauke city area. Their children and grandchildren will have no lands of their own and this will have really serious consequences for the continued existence of these tribes.

Transmigration effects

The fourth category of determining factors contributing to the annihilation of the indigenous West Papuan race is transmigration. The previous Governor of the Papuan Province in 2010 stated that the total of migration to Papua was already high enough, but it nevertheless continued to grow at 5% each year whilst according to him the ‘normal’ rate of increase should have been 1% p.a.. Based on the provincial government’s figures from their Statistics Centre (BPS) as published in early 2011 for the entire Province of West Papua, the total indigenous Papuan population was 51.67% of the total population, numbering 760,000 in the whole of Papua. (See: www.kompas.com, Tuesday 11/01/2011). Jim Elmslie in his book ‘West Papua Demographic Transition and the 2010 Indonesia Census: Slow motion genocide or not? (Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, Sydney University) found:

  • that the indigenous population had grown from 887,000 in 1971 to 1,505,405 in the year 2000 (an average rate of 1.84% increase p.a).;
  • Whilst the non-indigenous population in Papua had grown from 36.000 in 1971 to 708,425 (with an increase rate of 10.82% p.a.).
  • By 2010 the indigenous Papuan population was 1,730,336 (47.89%) whilst the population of non-indigenous Papuans was 1,882,517   (52.10%), a total population of 3,612,853.

In his book Elmslie estimated that by the year 2020 that the total population in Papua will reach 7,287,463 comprised of indigenous Papuans at 2,112,681 (28%) and non-indigenous Papuans at 5,174,782 (71.01%). According to Elmslie the variance of the rate of increase in indigenous Papuans compared to non-indigenous persons , is the result of firstly human rights violations and secondly and more primarily, the effect of transmigration. (See www.majalahselangkah.com/old/papua-30-persen-pendatang-70-persen-mari-refleksi/) original:(www.sydney.edu.au/arts/peaceconflict/docs/workingpapers/westpapuademographicsin2010/census.pdf).
The jump from 36,000 persons in 1971 to 708,425 in 2000, then to 1,852,297 is truly startling. This current level of migration flow can be attributed to the attraction of the Special Autonomy program in Papua, together with the continually increasing divisions of Papua into more provinces, regencies (which creates new major towns as administrative centres), districts and grouped villages.  As long as the government continues to create more divisions of the land, the massive flow of migrants into Papua will continue to increase.

We need to at the same time look closely at the indigenous Papuan figures which from 887,000 persons in 1971 to 1,505,405 in 2000 and 1.760.557 in 2010, show an increase of a mere 255,152 in the 10 year period 2000 to 2010. On the basis of these numbers researchers have calculated that indigenous Papuans are becoming an increasing minority, and at this rate by the year 2030 indigenous Papuans as a race will have become died out.

It needs to be emphasized that these are conservative estimates of the rate of annihilation of indigenous Papuans. The accuracy of the Centre of Statistics (BPS) figures really can’t be taken as certain from the Writer’s perspective.  To date there has been no news that the heads of all the villages throughout Papua have indeed worked together with the Heads of their Districts to ensure names provided are in fact correct, to ensure names of those already deceased have been treated correctly, and to ensure no names have been fictitiously created to get some financial assistance, or rice under a poverty program, or other assistance under the (Australian funded) Village Development program (called ‘Respek’); or perhaps for reasons related to the choice of regional leaders in the elections. The Writer is absolutely certain that if there had been carried out a credible population census that was honest and accurate, that the total of indigenous Papuans in 2010 would surely be less that that provided by the Centre for Statistics (BPS), and conversely the total of non-indigenous would should even greater numbers. As virtually every time, every week there are passenger ships land or planes land in Papua, there are yet more new migrants arriving in the land of Papua. In his book ‘ The Papuan Way : Latent Conflict Dynamics and Reflections of 10 years of Special Autonomy in Papua’, Antonius Ayorbaba stated that the rate of migration to Papua was actually 6.39% and that the population census data for Papua was in truth 30% indigenous Papuans and 70% migrants (See: tabloidjubi.com, 12 January 2012). These figures are starkly different to that data reported by the government.

If we compare the even perhaps overstated BPS figures of the indigenous Papuan population with that of Papua New Guinea (PNG) we see that in 1971 the numbers on PNG at roughly 900,000 weren’t much different to West Papua at 887,000. Whilst by 2010 the PNG indigenous population had soared to 6.7 million compared to Papua’s 1,760,557.  Whether from being killed or having died of ill health, or not able to be born due to the living conditions that Papuans are under, based on the fact that in 1971 their relative numbers were so close, Papuans take this massive relative difference of some 4 million in 2010 to indicate the number of souls lost through the process of annihilation happening in West Papua over that 10 year period.


The Writer is of no doubt that there indeed is occurring a slow but certain process of annihilation of indigenous Papuans in the land of West Papua.

On 15 August 1962 the United Nations mediated the ‘New York Agreement’ between Indonesia and the Dutch in New York bringing about the annexation of Papua into NKRI,  an annexation which was fully supported by the USA and U.N due to their own economic interests.  The people of Papua were not a party to the agreement nor even was there a single Papuan present at the time that agreement was signed.  This was followed by the morally and legally flawed ‘Act of Free Choice’ where a mere 1025 Papuans were required to choose on behalf of the entire Papuan population whether to remain part of Indonesia or not, a process that involved threats to their families and extreme intimidation by NKRI.

For the last 50 years NKRI has tried to divide and conquer Papua following their five Principle Ideology of ‘Pancasila’.  Meanwhile the people of Papua have continued to struggle against NKRI to regain their sovereignty, and have applied an entirely different ideology referred to as the ‘Mambruk’ Ideology {after Mambruk (lit. trans “Bird Of Peace”, the Victoria Crown Pigeon which is a symbol of the Free Papua Movement – WPM}.  Even the very ideologies of the Indonesians and Papuans are at conflict. The end result of this problematic history has been the present consequence occurring in Papua which is a human-made humanitarian disaster. A humanitarian emergency that is horrifying indeed though hidden from the world and not yet acknowledged by the world as even serious.

To act and save the indigenous Papuan race in West Papua from being totally annihilated, the organisation ‘Front PEPERA WEST PAPUA’ stresses that the following needs to occur as a matter of urgency:

1). U.N or another third neutral party needs to immediately mediate consultations on an equal basis between NKRI and the nation (the community) of Papua and to do so without conditions and with the goal of looking for a solution.

2). The International Community whether as individuals, organisations, government or non-government, need to encourage the U.N to mediate in these consultations between NKRI and the Papuan indigenous people.

3) The International Community and the U.N need to pressure NKRI to be involved in dialogue/consultations with the people of Papua as mediated by UN or another third neutral party and in accordance with international standards.

For actioning by all parties involved in this humanitarian crisis.

‘Unity without Limits, Struggle until Victorious!’

By Selpius A. Bobii


Selpius Bobii is the General Chairperson of Front Pepera (The United Front of the Struggle of the People of Papua)  and is currently one of the “Jayapura Five”, Political Prisoners held in Abepura Prison, Jayapura, West Papua.  The five (Bobii, Forkorus Yaboisembut, Edison Waromi, Dominikus Sorabut and Agus Kraar) were found guilty in an opaque and predetermined trial of  Treason (Makar) charges, laid after the violent Indonesian security force crackdown on the Third Papuan People’s Congress  in October 2011.




MRP dualism threatens the existence of the Papuan people

Bintang Papua, 23 June 2011

Pastor Jonga: ‘MRP has now become a mechanism for the government’s splitting tactics.’

The controversy about the setting up of an MRP for West Papua had
continued to rumble on and is likely to last for a long time. There are
people who now claim that having two MRPs will threaten the existence
of the indigenous Papuan people.

This was the theme of a seminar held by the Students Executive Council
(BEM) on Wednesday this week.

The controversy emerged when the governor of West Papua, acting on
behalf of the Minister of the Interior, announced the creation of the
West Papua MRP. The seminar was held at the auditorium of the
Cenderawasih University, and was attended by about a hundred people.The
main speakers were Fadhal Alhamid of the Papuan Customary Council (DAP)
and Pastor Jong Jonga, representing the religious community The
moderator was Laus Rumayon.

Fadhal Alhamid said that the danger posed by MRP dualism was that the
standard set for basic human rights of Papuans living in the province
of West Papua would be different from those set in the province of
Papua. In addition, the creation of the West Papua MRP was to promote
certain vested interests, part of a conspiracy between the governor and
the vice-governor of West Papua. ‘The MRP reached an agreement
regarding cultural and economic unity.But if there are now two MRPs,
there is the danger that this unity will disappear.’

He also said that responsibility for creating the second MRP rests with
the MRP itself. ‘We should raise the question of whether they were the
ones responsible for creating the second MRP.’

He also drew attention to the position of people in the leaderhip of
the Papua MRP and the West Papua MRP. ‘The fact that Ibu Dorkas is the
chairman of the Papua MRP and is also the vice-chairman of the West
Papua MRP has led to a great deal of confusion.

The other speaker, Pastor Jong Jonga, dealt more specifically with his
own experiences with congregations living in the district of Keerom. ‘In
my opinion, special autonomy (OTSUS) has failed to provide protection,
tranquillity and security indigenous because its benefits are only
being enjoyed by people living in the vicinity of the district capital.
‘These were precisely the regions where the percentage of indigenous
Papuans is very low as compared to the percentage of newcomers or
migrants.’ What they were hoping for, he said, was that the MRP which
had been intended as a unifying body would now become a means for
splitting the Papuan people.’

During questions and answers that followed the speeches, the students
focused primarily on OTSUS. Many said that OTSUS had become nothing
more than a mechanism to prolong the sufferings of the Papuan people.
OTSUS has become the long arm of the central government. ‘What was
needed now,’ the one questioner said, ‘was for the DPRP to take action
to disband the West Papua MRP.’ Many in the audience shared these views.

JUBI: Defining “orang asli” in Papua

The following item is from the newspaper JUBI and was published earlier this month (apologies for not having the precise date).

BPS criteria regarding orang asli Papua is strongly rejected

In connection with the criteria that were used by the Central Bureau of Statistics (Biro Pusat Statistik, BPS) for West Papua in the publication of its data about the census which was held some time ago, DAP (Dewan Adat Papua – Papuan Traditional Counsel) regards the criteria as incorrect.

He said: ‘Those said to be OAP – orang asli Papua- indigenous Papuans – are persons whose father and mother are OAP, because in accordance with the word ‘asli’, it must mean that there has been no inter-marriage whatsoever,’ said Forkorus Yaboisembut, the chairman of DAP.

He said that according to DAP, the status of OAP includes only two
criteria, which is that both the father and mother are orang asli
Papua, or the father is OAP but the mother is from outside. Persons who mother is OAP but whose father is not, cannot be said to be OAP.

According to Forkorus: ‘Their lives would also need to be considered to
see whether they have struggled and done anything in favour of Papuan interests. A referendum could not be held about the future of Papua if they were not to vote for independence,’ he said. ‘It was very clear that someone cannot be declared to be OAP without the knowledge of DAP, bearing in mind that DAP occupies the position of the protector of Papuan traditional rights in Papua.’

For the first time last year, the BPS produced six criteria for determining who is OAP, as follows:

1. Persons whose father and mother are both OAP.
2. Persons whose father but not the mother is OAP.
3. The mother is an OAP but not the father.
4. Neither parent is an OAP but they have been acknowledged as OAP.
5. Neither parent is Papuan but they have been recognised according to ‘marga’ or ‘keret’ as OAP.
6. The person has been domiciled in Papua for 35 years.

According to this definition, the number of Papuans in the province of
Papua Barat (West Papua) was given as being 51,.67 percent, of the total population of 760,000.

In view of all this, DAP hopes that the BPS will speedily correct their
data, because it is not possible for instance to say that an OAP can
include people who have lived in the province for a very long time.

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