Tag Archives: ELSHAM

ELSHAM: Reverting to the DOM era: Papua back to being a Zone of Military Operations


December 19, 2012

Lembaga Studi dan Advokasi Hak Asasi Manusia
(Institute for Human Ri ghts Study and Advocacy of Papua)

Reverting to the DOM era: Papua back to being a Zone of Military Operations

There was a significant increase in the intensity of the conflicts and violence in Papua between August 2011 and December 2012. ELSHAM Papua reported on several incidents that had resulted in serious casualties and although the growing severity of the incidents was disturbing, these did not prompt the Government to react.  These events include the overwhelming offensive called “Operasi Aman Matoa I 2011”, terror actions and shootings by unidentified perpetrators (OTK), cases of internal displacements,  as well as cases of extrajudicial killing of civilians by the police.

“Operasi Aman Matoa I 2011” is the designation for an armed crime prevention operation that was set up in the areas of Puncak Jaya and Paniai. This operation was under direct command  of the Chief of Police, and was run by the Operations Task Force (Satgas Ops) through police telegram letter No. STR/687/VIII/2011 dated 27 August 2011.

The Operations Task Force for Operasi Aman Matoa I 2011 was led by Drs. Leo Bona Lubis, the Commissioner of Police. During the execution of Operasi Aman Matoa I 2011 in the Paniai Regency, a number of grave human rights violations were perpetrated, which include:

(a) the taking of the lives of two civilians, Salmon Yogi (20) and Yustinus Agapa (30) who died as a direct result of the armed conflict,
(b) the inflicting of injuries to at least four civilians: Yulian Kudiai (22), Melkias Yeimo (35), Yohanis Yogi (25) and Paskalis Kudiai (21), who became victim as a result of the armed conflict,
(c) great material loss due to the armed conflict in Eduda District which includes 78 houses that were burnt by the Operations Task Force; educational activities at 8 elementary school (SD) and 2 Junior High School (SMP) that had to be halted; religious and worship services could no longer be ensured in eight Catholic churches, seven Kingmi churches and four GKII churches; hundreds of machetes, knives, saws, hammers, bows and arrows were confiscated;
(d) villagers no longer felt secure in their own homes and they fled. As many as 37 people perished while in displacement: 13 toddlers, 5 children, 17 adults and 2 elders;
(e) communities from the Districts of Komopa, Keneugida, Bibida, East Paniai and Kebo have endured material loss due to their displacement.  The villagers were forbidden from going to their gardens by the members of the Operations Task Force. As a result, this primary source of livelihood for the communities was left neglected and unattended. Prior to the evacuation, 1581 heads of livestock were forcibly slaughtered, including  as many as 478 pigs, 3 cows, 11 goats, 132 rabbits, 381 ducks, and 576 chickens. After returning to their homes and villages, the residents experienced severe food shortage. Members of the Operations Task Force had also damaged the fences built by the residents, as they used those as firewood.

Violent acts committed by the security forces, both the military and the police, are still common and they are in flagrant violation of a number of international humanitarian standards and principles. Some of the cases that we note are as follows:

a. The heavy-handed assault carried out by the police against Persipura fans at Mandala Stadium on 13 May 2012, which led to 18 people suffering from respiratory problems due to tear gas that had been fired indiscriminately and six others being detained arbitrarily.
b. The shooting of four people in Degeuwo by the police on 15 May 2012, by which one person was killed and the other three were seriously wounded.
c. The assault against civilians in Honai Lama Wamena on 6 June 2012, by members of the Indonesian army (TNI) Battalion 756 Wimane Sili, which resulted in one person dead and 14 others seriously injured.
d. The arbitrary arrest and torture by the police of 10 people in the town of Serui, as they were commemorating the International Day for Indigenous People on 9 August 2012.
e. The forced disbanding by the police of a KNPB-led demonstration that was about to start in front of the campus of the State University of Papua in Manokwari on 23 October  2012. A total of 15 people were detained by the police, nine of them were tortured, and 2 others suffered gunshot wounds.

Summary executions by the police of pro-democracy activists who are active within the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) continue to occur. The extrajudicial shooting of Mako Tabuni (34), First Chairman of the KNPB on 14 June 2012, is clear evidence of acts of police brutality against civilians. A similar killing occurred in Wamena on 16 December 2012, when the police shot dead Hubertus Mabel (30), militant KNPB Chairman for the Baliem region.

Other violent acts such as terror acts and shootings by unknown assailants increased, both in 2011 and 2012. From 5 July to 6 September 2011, there were 28 shooting incidents where 13 people were killed and at least 32 people were wounded. Meanwhile, throughout 2012, there were 45 attacks by unknown assailants, killing 34 people, injuring 35 people and causing severe trauma to 2 people.

One of the worrisome events that received very little attention from the Government was the crisis which lasted from July to November 2012 in the Keerom where villagers fled their homes as they no longer felt secure because of activities conducted by the security forces. A joint effort between ELSHAM Papua and the Keerom Catholic Church enabled the return to their homes of 38 internally displaced people (IDPs) who had fled into the jungle.

Various cases of violence and human rights violations that occurred in Papua totally escaped the attention of the central Government and that of local Papuans. Conditions such as these indicate that the status of Papua as an autonomous region has turned into a status of “Special Operations Region”, similar to what was experienced in the decades between 1970 and 2000 when Papua was designated as a Military Operations Area (DOM). Legal impunity for the perpetrators of the violence becomes flagrantly visible as the perpetrators of such violence are practically never brought to justice, nor do they receive fitting sentences.

Prohibiting international humanitarian organizations, international journalists and foreign researchers from accessing the Papuan region inevitably gives way to the increasing acts of violence by security forces in that region. Elite units, such as Anti-Terror Special Detachment 88, are conducting activities that are contrary to their mandate as they themselves are the ones creating terror against activists of the pro-democracy movement in Papua.

Bearing in mind the socio-political conditions faced by Papuans today, ELSHAM Papua is calling for:

1. the Indonesian Government, to open access to international humanitarian agencies, international journalists and foreign researchers to the region so they can freely visit and monitor the human rights situation in Papua;
2. the police of the Republic of Indonesia, to immediately reveal to the public the identity of those responsible for the numerous attacks and mysterious shootings that have occurred lately in Papua;
3. the Indonesian Government and groups opposing the Government, to choose dialogue as a way to end the conflict and the ongoing violence in Papua;
4. the military and the police, to uphold and respect the universal principles of human rights that have been ratified by the Government of the Republic of Indonesia.


38 Papuans flee TNI/Polri security sweeps in Keerom

ELSHAM News Service

November 2, 2012

Investigations and monitoring conducted by Elsham Papua in Keerom between Saturday (27 Oct.) and Sunday (28 Oct.) have revealed that at least thirty-ight (38) indigenous Papuans have had to leave their villages and have fled into the forest and stayed there for more than five (5) months.

During these five months, they have had to move from one place to another, and they have had to settle in huts around the Bagia hills, west of the tow of Arso.

The locals evacuated their villages because they were afraid of becoming victims of ongoing sweeps conducted by  joint army/police forces in the area, who are hunting indigenous Papuans who would allegedly be members of the separatist armed struggle (TPN-OPM); another alleged motive behind these sweeps is the search to find the killer of the head of the village of Sawyatami, who was shot on 1 July.
The names of the indigenous Papuans who fled to the forest, and who are now internally displaced persons (IDPs) are as follows:
Name of IDPs from the village of Sawyatami:
1. Hironimus Yaboy (45)
2. Alea Kwambre (28)
3. Afra Kwambre (27)
4. Carles Yaboy (10)
5. Ardila Yaboy (8)
6. Desi Yaboy (4)
7. Lefira Yaboy (1)
8. Markus Kuyi (17)
9. Yustus Kuyi (16)
10. Timotius Kuyi (15)
11. Samuel Kuyi (13)
Name of IDPs from the village of Workwana:
1. Lukas Minigir (68)
2. Rosalina Minigir (36)
3. Hanas Pikikir (21)
4. Naomi Giryapon (19)
5. Krisantus Pikikir (12)
6. Penina Pekikir (3)
7. Habel Minigir (33)
8. Agustina Minigir (21)
9. Adrianus Minigir (2)
Name of IDPs from PIR III Bagia:
1. Agustina Bagiasi (35)
2. Mikael Kimber (18)
3. Jhon Kimber (14)
4. Kristiani Kimber (11)
5. Serfina Kimber (8)
6. David Kimber (2)
7. Fabianus Kuyi (50)
8. Martha Tekam (38)
9. Marselina Kuyi (23)
10. Fitalius Kuyi (20)
11. Margaretha Ibe (19)
12. Jubelina Kuyi (19)
13. Kristianus Kuyi (17)
14. Frins Alfons Kuyi (15)
15. Emilianus Kuyi (11)
16. Maria Yuliana Kuyi (8)
17. Moses Hubertus Kuyi (5)
18. Rati Kimber (1)
Out of the total displaced people, eight (8) are children who were attending school. Their names are:
1. Yubelina Kuyi, high school students at Negeri 1 Swakarsa Arso
2. Kristianus Kuyi, junior high school student at Negeri 1 Arso
3. Frins Kuyi, elementary school student at Inpres PIR III Bagia
4. Emilianus Kuyi, elementary school student at Inpres PIR III Bagia
5. Charles Yaboy, elementary school student at Inpres Sawyatami
6. Nike Ardila Yaboy Sanggwa, elementary school student at Inpres Sawyatami
7. Kristian Pekeukir, elementary school student at YPPK Dununmamoy Arso
8. Yohana Kimber, elementary school student at Inpres Sawyatami

These children have not attended school from 2 July 2012 until the date of this report. YK, whom Elsham found in the camp, explained that she no longer went to school because she was afraid of the TNI/police. “I am scared that the soldiers will shoot me. My father is also fighting for an independent Papua so I am afraid to go to school,” said YK in a plain tone.
During the decade covering the period 1970 to 1980, Keerom was a Military Operations Area. Many local residents have undergone cruel and arbitrary treatment at the hands of the Indonesian security forces, as they were accused of alleged involvement in the separatist movement. Today, residents are still feeling the trauma of living in a military operation area. And up to the date of this report, the IDPs are still afraid to return to their villages.



ELSHAM finds evidence of 749 acts of violence in Papua


15 August 2012
Jayapura: ELSHAM, – the Institute for the Study and Advocacy of Human Rights in Papua – found evidence of 749 acts of violence that befell the people living in Papua. Most of these acts of violence occurred during arbitrary arrests and detentions.This is reported in the recently launched book, Masa Lalu dan Tak Lalu – The Past and Never Past – which was published by ELSHAM and the International Centre for Transitional Justice.

During its investigations, the researchers examined 108 testimonies about human rights violations . They spoke to 76 people in Biak, 12 people in Manokwari, ten people in Paniai and ten people in Sorong. The period covered was from the mid 1960s (prior to the Act of Free Choice in 1969) up to the period of ‘reformasi’ (following the downfall of Suharto).

Their researchers spent three months out in the field, studying testimonies and obtained information about 749 cases.

Of the 749 cases, 312 were violations against males and 56 violations against women. The details were obtained from101 victims who were  interviewed. One hundred and one victims  had suffered violations together with a group of people or with more than one person. The types of violence were arbitrary arrests and detentions, 234 cases,  military operations against the civilian population including operations to forcibly evict people 181 cases, and torture and ill-treatment, 97 cases.

There were also 86 cases of deaths as the result of extreme torture,  threats 53 cases, assaults 28 cases, the seizure or destruction of  people’s belongings, gardens or livestock  22 cases, orders to report 26 cases, attacks and searches of people’s homes 4 cases, lack of access to food or medication 4 cases, forcible removals, preventing people from finding work 4 cases, forcible removals 3 cases, lack of access to food or medications, denial of access to families 2 cases, trials without lawyers,  2 cases, preventing people from travelling  2 cases. Finally, there was prevention of access to education. A total in all of 749 cases.

Other points included in the report  were that during the first period, from 1960 till 1969, several witnesses spoke of this period being marked by armed clashes  between the Indonesian army and troops of the OPM  (Papuan Freedom Organisaation)  which were frequently followed up by military attacks aimed directly at  the civilian population and arbitrary arrests and acts of torture, and the arrest of  people regarded as being against integration with Indonesia.

During the second period, from 1969 to 1998,  the focus was on destroying the remnants of the OPM, who were still involved in guerilla actions in the forests, People living in the towns as well as in the villages  were kept under tight guard and were required to obtain permits from the army if they wanted to travel anywhere. Peoeple who had once been arrested  were often re-arrested  for no apparent reason.

In the third perid following ‘reformasi’ after the fall of Suharto, there were many pressures for changes to be made in the situation in Papua. However, civil actions by  students and political groups of people calling for independence  were dealt with by acts of violence.

[Translated by TAPOL]


ELSHAM Update from Paniai + Urgent Correction

Elsham reports the following:

  • 3 people died from diarreah and exposure – a two year old baby on the 9/11 and a 47 woman and 4 year old child on the 14/11.
  • Six villages were burnt: Toko, Badawo, Dagouto, Obayoweta, Dey and Wamanik.
  • 1,715 have fled their homes.
  • (Independent West Papua Media sources have reported that the 1715 are ONLY those people who are housed in a police supervised secure “Care Centre” at Uwatawogi Hall in Enaratoli – many thousands more have abandoned their villages and are currently unaccounted for).

The report covers events in Paniai up until the TNI/POLRI raid on Eduda. The report (in Indonesian) is attached.

For more information and interviews in English or Indonesian please contact West Papua Media for a direct Elsham contact

West Papua Media


The Report yesterday “Shootings, village burnings and helicopter attacks continue across Paniai” provided a list of names of 15 people allegedly shot by Indonesian security forces during the raid on Markas Eduda.  West Papua Media conducted extensive cross checking with sources last night to ensure the veracity of this list, and was assured by over FIVE independent sources that the information and names were correct.

However, new information has come to hand that claims that these names were victims from a previous military operation.  Until we can prove or disprove this new information unequivocally, we will treat these names as Unconfirmed Deaths.  Witnesses have described deaths however, and the confirmed live fire, village burnings, occupations, grenade throwing, and helicopter strafing will produce significant casualties.  We will update as we have more confirmed information.

The situation in Paniai is highly fluid, constantly changing and thoroughly closed to outside journalists, which makes real time verification extremely difficult.  Our network of citizen sources is also subject to poor communications, and is subject to a massive live fire military offensive, with civilians being targeted and communications heavily disrupted.  West Papua Media has been reporting on events in real time and the nature of real time reporting is that facts can change on the ground as fast as a situation, and our reporting will reflect those changes.

West Papua Report December 2011: Central Highlands targeted, Repression as policy, Climate Change, Special Autonomy

West Papua Report

December 2011

This is the 91st in a series of monthly reports that focus on developments affecting Papuans. This series is produced by the non-profit West Papua Advocacy Team (WPAT) drawing on media accounts, other NGO assessments, and analysis and reporting from sources within West Papua. This report is co-published with the East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN). Back issues are posted online at http://etan.org/issues/wpapua/default.htm Questions regarding this report can be addressed to Edmund McWilliams at edmcw@msn.com. If you wish to receive the report via e-mail, send a note toetan@etan.org.

Summary: A new operation by security forces in West Papua’s central highland region
has targeted civilians with destruction of a church, houses and other buildings. Human rights organizations are calling for an investigation of security force brutality associated with the October 16-19 Papuan Congress. Continued repression in West Papua and the Yudhoyono administration’s defense of the perpetrators of that repression as well as the impunity regularly accorded the perpetrators points to the Jakarta’s ultimate responsibility for the violence. The decade-old Special Autonomy policy in West Papua constitutes a strategy for subjugation of Papuans in their own homeland.


Security Forces Again Target Civilians in Papuan Central Highlands

POLRI GEGANA anti-terrorism troops attacking peaceful flag raisers, Taokou Village, East Paniai, December 1 (West Papua Media)

West Papua Media reports that a major offensive by Indonesian security forces in West Papua’s Central Highlands (Puncak Jaya) was launched on December 1. Special forces of the militarized police (Brimob) attacked the village of Wandenggobak on December 3, burned a church, an unknown number of houses and village guard houses. Initial reports suggest some civilian casualties, but the number of Papuan civilians killed and injured is not known.

According to West Papua Media sources, the assault on the village was in reprisal for the killing of two Brimob personnel in earlier fighting with forces of Goliat Tabuni, a local leader of the Papua independence movement.

The latest “sweeping operation” reportedly coincided with a December 1 peaceful demonstration by a large number of Papuans celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first raising of the Papuan independence flag at the district center of Tingginambut. National police spokesman Maj. Gen. Saud Usman Nasution says hundreds of troops have been deployed in Puncak Jaya.

West Papua Media notes that the Brimob unit involved (the “anti terrorist” Gegana Brimob) has received Australian training and weaponry obtained from Australia.

About 110 residents of Berap and Genyem villages, near Lake Sentani in Papua, have been forced to flee to the forest after Indonesian Police terrorized the village. WestPapuaMedia

New Reports on Security Force Attack on Papuan Congress, Call for Accountability

The November 29 Jakarta Globe reported that the Institute for Human Rights Study and Advocacy (Elsham) and the Communion of Churches in Papua (PGGP) said that at least 51 people had been tortured by members of the military and police during and after the October 16-19 Papuan Congress (see West Papua Report November 2011).

Congress participants testified that they had been “beaten and kicked repeatedly by security forces both at the congress site and while being transported to police headquarters. Some participants said they were beaten at the police station.”

These accounts echoed victim testimony reported elsewhere. The ELSHAM and PGGP report broke new ground, however, noting that security forces also looted and vandalized a monastery.

The Rev. Wellem Maury of the PGGP said the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) should assume responsibility for the investigation and specifically form a fact-finding team to investigate allegations of human rights abuses, torture and excessive use of force. “Komnas HAM must also report its findings to the Coordinating Ministry for Politics, Legal and Security Affairs so there is an open and fair trial,” he said.

Brutal Repression in West Papua: A Product of Rogue Security Forces or Yudhoyono Administration Policy?

The injustice of the brutal assault on peaceful Papuan civilians at the Papuan Congress on October 19 has been compounded by exceedingly light sentences for the perpetrators of the abuses, including the death of at least three dissenters and the beating/torture of scores of others. A security force-led investigation produced official reprimands for 13 district police officers, four Mobil Brigade (Brimob) officers and one district police chief, while five Jayapura Police officers were given seven-day detentions.

The silence of the President regarding the October 19 assault, the impunity accorded the perpetrators, and the defense of their actions by senior Yudhoyono administration officials underscore the President’s direct responsibility.

Any impact of these minimal sanctions has been mitigated by comments by key security leaders. National Police chief Gen. Timur Pradopo told the House of Representatives that some police officers had taken the wrong approach during the third Papuan People’s Congress. However, he defended the measures taken saying “what we did [at Abepura] was part of law enforcement.” Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Djoko Suyanto, at the same House hearing echoed Timur’s statement. “I hereby defend my colleague from the police. I think it’s impossible for officers [military and police] to commit violence for no reason – there must be a logical explanation for their anarchist deeds.” The spokesman for President Yudhoyono Julian Aldrin Pasha also has defended the assault, telling the Jakarta Post: “In principle, we have dealt with the Papua issue properly.” He added that the police were justified in forcibly dispersing the Third Papuan People’s Congress in Abepura when it found that it was an act of treason.

Most tellingly, President Yudhoyono himself was dismissive of concerns about human rights violations arising from the October 19 assault, even when those concerns are raised by a foreign Head of State. President Obama, during their November Bali meeting, according to U.S. government sources, raised the October 19 assault. Yudhoyono told mediathat said he responded to the U.S. leader by contending that Indonesian forces were conducting legitimate operations against an ”insurgency” and that Indonesian forces came under attack from separatists. ”If there are members who have violated the laws, gross violations of human rights, then they will go before the law,” he said. ”I told him personally, there is no impunity, no immunity.” Apparently Yudhoyono public silence specifically regarding the October 19 extended to his evasive response to President Obama’s direct question.

WPAT Comment: International reaction to the October 19 assault, mostly from human rights organizations, but also from some international parliamentarians such as U.S. Representative Eni Faleomavaega (see West Papua Report November 2011), condemned the Indonesian security forces as responsible for violence against peaceful dissenters. Such international opprobrium directed at security forces abuses over the years has been strong and often has identified specific units and officers as perpetrators of these rights violations. But such criticism may be misdirected. The silence of the President regarding the October 19 assault, the impunity accorded the perpetrators, and the defense of their actions by senior Yudhoyono administration officials underscore the President’s direct responsibility, not only for the assault, but for the climate of repression that assures such abuses will continue. The Yudhoyono administration itself, and President Yudhoyono himself, should stand in the dock for these crimes.

Where Are Indonesia’s Indigenous Voices in the Climate Change Debate?

November 30 Jakarta Globe article by Andrew D. Kaspar underscored the importance of annual international climate change conference now meeting in Durban, South Africa. While much of the coverage in the run-up to the conference has focused on the failure of many developed nations, notably the U.S., to live up to commitments made in this area, another key issue is the extent to which perspectives of the indigenous peoples are (and are not) reflected in the deliberations.

Kaspar writes that a key element of any climate change strategy is Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD), which is intended to offer payments to encourage forest preservation to prevent the release of carbon dioxide stored in the trees. Kaspar points out that REDD is seen as a particularly potent means of emissions reductions because the vast majority of Indonesia’s emissions are attributed to deforestation.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon speaking in mid-November at the launch Indonesia’s UN Office for REDD Coordination made point that “Making REDD a success …will require the commitment and cooperation of all stakeholders. We must ensure that all have a voice.”

Up to now, Indonesia has accorded indigenous stakeholders little say in the fate of the forests that provide sustenance and shelter for many of them. This is particularly true in West Papua where Papuans’ objections to plans for a vast commercial plantation in the Manukwari area have been ignored. Papuan protest over decades of illegal logging either run by or protected by security forces and destruction of vast swaths of sago and mangrove by the Freeport mining operation also have been ignored.

Special Autonomy: A Strategy for Subjugation

“Special Autonomy,” the Indonesian Government’s strategy for addressing the myriad problems confronting the Papuan people, is now ten years old. Inaugurated by then-President Megawati in 2001, the plan was intended to address decades of failed development and the absence of critical health, education and other services which have impoverished and marginalized the Papuan people since West Papua’s coercive annexation by Indonesia in 1969.

The Papuan people have resoundingly rejected Special Autonomy, most notably in massive, peaceful demonstrations in June of 2010 (see West Papua Report July 2010).

While most independent analyses have consistently described “special autonomy” as a failed approach, criticism of the plan has largely focused on Jakarta’s hapless implementation of the policy. But a closer analysis of Special Autonomy suggests a more sinister reading of the plan’s impact and real intent.

Over the past decade the plight of Papuans has remained bleak. The poverty level, especially in non-urban areas where most Papuan live, is particularly revealing. The percentage of Papuans identified as living in poverty in the two West Papuan provinces in 2010 are among the highest in Southeast Asia.

Special autonomy funds continue to flow into West Papua in a manner that benefits the transmigrant population. Special Autonomy has disadvantaged Papuans systematically and comprises in effect a strategy for subjugation of Papuans in their own homeland.

According to the Indonesian statistical office (see BPS Nasional), the poverty level is 36.80% in Papua Province and 34.88% in West Papua Province.

Most Papuans live in rural areas and when poverty levels for non-urban populations are separated out the marginalization and suffering of Papuans emerge as especially acute. In the villages of Papua Province the poverty level is 46.02%, but only 5.55% of those living in towns (home to most non-Papuan migrants), The dichotomy between village dwellers (largely Papuans) and towns (largely migrants) in West Papua Province is similar. In villages, 43.38% live in poverty, while in towns only 5.73%.do so.

One long time observer of developments in West Papua (whose identity is not revealed for reasons of his security) argues that the combination of Special Autonomy and Jakarta’s decentralization policy (dividing up the region into increasing numbers of new administrative entities/districts) has been a “disaster” leading to ever greater marginalization of Papuans. He argues: “New districts have been formed without any real base/guarantee that public services will be improved or at least consolidated,” and that as a result, “new districts are much worse of than before.”

Many of the staff appointed to administer the new districts live outside the new districts, “hardly showing up where they should be working daily,” he told the West Papua Report. Moreover, the Jakarta central government has pressed the newly created districts to seek their own sources of financial income “opening the door wide for all kind of devastating investments without any critical reflection as to the impact on local indigenous communities such as the Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate.”

In reality, a large portion of the Special Autonomy funds flowing to West Papua has been devoted to infrastructure development and expansion of services in the towns to meet the needs of government-sponsored migrants (transmigrants) from other parts of Indonesia. The Ministry of Transmigration and Labor announced in late November plans to build three “new transmigration towns” in West Papua: Senggi in Keerom District, Muting and Salor in Merauke District (see p.6 Bintang Papua, November 29).

Special Autonomy funding of projects and services for migrants appear to have aggravated the marginalization of Papuans demographically in their own lands. Papuans constituted only 49.55% of the population of West Papuaaccording to 2010 Indonesian statistics. Population growth rates according to these same statistics for dire for Papuans with at only 1.84% annual growth for Papuans and 10.82 annual growth for non-Papuans.

The reality on the ground in West Papua is grinding poverty for many Papuans and a persistent dearth of critical services in rural areas where most Papuans live. Meanwhile, special autonomy funds continue to flow into West Papua in a manner that benefits the transmigrant population. Special Autonomy has disadvantaged Papuans systematically and comprises in effect a strategy for subjugation of Papuans in their own homeland.

Peaceful Papuans Celebrate 50th Anniversary of Raising of Papuan National Flag

Bintang Papua reported that thousands of Papuans peacefully gathered at the the tomb of Theys Hijo Eluay at  Sentani, District of Jayapura, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Papua’s independence on 1 December. Theys Eluay was murdered by Indonesian Special Forces personnel (Kopassus) in 2001.

At the gathering, the co-coordinator of the 50th anniversary committee, Jack Wanggai read out a series of demands which expressed support for international monitored negotiations on the future of West Papua and a referendum of the Papuan people who for decades have been denied the right of self-determination. At the gathering there were also calls for the Indonesian government to immediately withdraw army and police troops from Papua and to release political prisoners in West Papua.

Wanggai also noted the Papuans rejection of the Indonesian government’s latest initiative to evade an internationally facilitated, senior level dialogue i.e., the creation of the special organization known as  UP4B – Unit for the Acceleration of Development in Papua and West Papua (see West Papua Report November 2011 for background on this unit and its leadership).

While the event was under way, troops conducted patrols along the roads, as well as in the vicinity of residential houses and shops. These activities by the security forces failed deter the people who completed their program peacefully.