Tag Archives: enforced disappearance

As President celebrates ‘Sail Raja Ampat’, one of his critics is abducted, killed and dumped at sea

(Apologies for the delay in Posting to the site (all news still is being delivered to journalists direct as it breaks). WPM has been under severe security threat from Indonesian agents in Papua and Australia, associated with the arrests of French journalists).

Reports from our network partners at AwasMifee

On 19th August, Martinus Yohame in his role as the chair of the Sorong Branch of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) held a press conference, explaining his organisation’s opposition to the Indonesian President’s visit to the area to open the Sail Raja Ampat event aimed at promoting tourism to Papua. He also raised the issue of illegal logging. The next day he disappeared.

As friends and colleagues spent the subsequent days searching for him, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono opened the sailing regatta, where he once again promised extra funds to develop infrastructure for infrastructure in Papua, and also inaugurated a statue of Jesus Christ on Marsinam Island near Manokwari.

Then on the 26th, a fisherman found the body of Martinus Yohame floating by the shore in at Nana Island, near Sorong. He had been shot in the chest, his face smashed up, and with another wound in his stomach. He had been placed in a sack, with his arms and legs tied. His abductors remain unknown.

This story has not yet received widespread coverage in the Papuan media, and at the time of writing the KNPB had yet to issue a statement on its website. Tabloidjubi however has picked up the story – here is a translation of one of their articles:

Deceased Sorong KNPB Chair believed to have been disappeared.

Jayapura, 26/8 (Jubi) – Martinus Yohame, Chair of the Greater Sorong area branch of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) was found found dead floating near the shore of Nana Island, in the Doom Island area of Sorong. He is believed to have been disappeared.

A spokesperson for the Papua-wide KNPB, Basoka Logo made this clear to tabloidjubi.com. He said that previously on the evening of Wednesday 20th August, the KNPB had received information that Martinus Yohame had been abducted.

“But we can’t be sure yet who his captors were. Now today we have heard the news that he has been found dead. We cannot yet say which group is responsible for his diasppearance.  At the current time we are
still unsure,” Basoka Logo said via his mobile phone on Tuesday (26/8).

He explained that the late Martinus Yohame was responsible for the Bird’s Head peninsula area of West Papua. He could not give any further information at the time as he had not received a full report from his colleagues in Sorong.

“Just now we only received a short report about the death of the Sorong KNPB Chair – what I know is that he was found near the Kota Baru area, and his body is currently lying at the Sorong KNPB secretariat”, he said.

At present, according to Logo, colleagues in Sorong are still collecting data and statements about the death of the Chair of the KNPB in Sorong. “Only when this is done will we be able to give a full statement. The First Chair of the KNPB central organisation, Agus Kosay just arrived in Sorong by plane. It was him that officially reported to us that it was true the Chair of the KNPB in Sorong had been found,” he said.

The chair of the KNPB in the Bird’s Head region, including Greater Sorong, Martin Yohame, was tragically found dead some time before, his body was discovered by a fisherman on Tuesday morning (26/8) at around 7.00 am local time floating near Nana Island, not far from the Doom Island area. When found, Martinus’s body had been tied up tightly in a sack. Both his legs and arms had also been tied, presumably hoping his body would sink to the bottom of the ocean.

According to the Sorong City General Hospital’s examination, a gunshot wound was found on the left side of his chest. The victims face was also smashed up by being hit by a hard object, “We found a gunshot wound in his left chest. His face was destroyed,” said Yori, a worker at the hospital.
The Sorong police chief Adjunct Commissioner Harri Golden Hart confirmed that a body had been found. “We are still in the process of identification, and finding out whether it is true that he was killed,” Harri said.

After the autopsy, the victim’s family and KNPB members brought the victim’s body to be laid out in the house of mourning in Malanu village, in the Papua Christian University complex.

From data collected by tabloid jubi, the external examination conducted at the Sorong City General Hospital revealed a hole in the left chest 1x1cm, and another in the right side of the stomach of around 2x3cm. The man’s height was 179 cm and he had dreadlocks.

Before his body was found, the KNPB had issued a statement with some further details of the press conference and what happened afterwards, along with their guesses for possible abductors and their motives. This is an excerpt from that statement, as published on umaginews.com:

We believe that the Sorong KNPB chair was abducted by Kopassus [army special forces] or BIN [state intelligence agency] because on the 20th he received a phone call from someone and went outside. Now five days have passed but he hasn’t been found.

Previously on 19th August Martinus Yohame and other KNPB officials held a press conference at 15.00 Papuan time in front of the Sorong Mayor’s office, attended by several reporters from the Sorong area, in connection with the Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s visit to Papua and in particular to the Sorong area to open the Sail Raja Ampat event in Waisai, on Saturday 23rd August 2014.

Martinus Yohame, supported by the deputy chair of the KNPB, Kantius H, invited journalists from several print media organisations to use information from the press conference in their reports about the president’s visit KNPB used the opportunity to express their opposition to President SBY’s visit to the land of Papua.

At the same time they expressed their opposition to illegal logging, exploiting Papua’s natural riches and developing Raja Ampat as a Global Marine Tourism centre, all of which they judge to be stealing from and destroying Papua’s ecosystems and forests with no benefit for the people of Papua as a whole who own the land and resources.

This is why the KNPB and the PRD (People’s Regional Parliament) are clear in their opposition. We believe he was abducted by the security forces or the intelligence agency as part of their efforts to secure SBY’s visit, which the KNPB opposes.

Just two minutes after the press meeting finished at 3.15, a woman telephoned the KNPB Sorong chair. This woman claimed to be from the National Human Rights Commission in Jakarta, and she wanted to meet.  Several moments later, she came to meet the KNPB chair and his group outside the mayor’s office in a red Avanza. Inside was a man with a large Canon video camera, and they invited Martinus Yohame to accompany them to the Sorong Mega Mall, at the 9km post. The woman then took them to eat in a cafe next to the Megamall, and while they ate they held a meeting, although it is not known what they spoke about in this meeting.

Before the meeting broke up, he and the woman exchanged mobile phone numbers. The woman then said that “the next meeting will take place on Wednesday 20th August and we will get in touch”.

Afterwards they maintained communication via telephone and text message, with the last message on Wednesday 20th at 12.00 Papua time. That night they told Martinus to leave his house and it was on the street that they abducted him. He has not been found until now….

Source: Umagi News

The West Papua National Committee is an organisation that believes West Papua should have the right to self determination. It was formed in around 2009, but after it gained prominence with a series of large demonstrations demanding a referendum on independence there was a major crackdown, with many leaders around Papua jailed or killed, especially in 2012.  Since that wave of repression, the KNPB has found it difficult to organise, as local leaders are often detained a day or two days before a planned demonstration or significant event.

If elements of the Indonesian State were indeed responsible for Martinus Yohame’s disappearance, it is likely that he was targeted for his pro-independence stance. However, it is worth remembering that in the press conference before he disappeared Martinus Yohame also spoke of the problems of illegal logging and the tourism industry, and he is not the first KNPB leader have raised the issues of natural resource development that marginalises the Papuan people.  At the same time, indigenous people are threatened by state security forces of being treated as separatists when they state their opposition to development projects. The climate of intimidation in Papua is not limited to the independence movement alone, but impacts all areas in which Papuan people need to assert their needs and desires for a more just future.

As Martinus Yohame was being brutally beaten, or maybe he was already dead by that time, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was nearby on Raja Ampat celebrating the progress made in his development-focussed strategy for Papua, making statements such as “ lets keep going with the positive development that has already been achieved in Papua and West Papua”.  His audience of civil servants and tourism executives listened and watched as a flotilla of boats including 14 Indonesian navy ships as well as warships from the US, Australia and Singapore joined a sail past. Media hailed the event as a great success.

West Papua Media has highly credible but unconfirmed reports that Martinus Yohame was also targeted by Indonesian intelligence for potentially having contact with the two French Journalists still being detained in Abepura.  Many of our people are currently in danger because of this situation.

Amnesty: Indonesia – Victims still waiting for truth and justice for past human rights violations

Amnesty International

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL
PUBLIC STATEMENTIndex: ASA 21/012/2012
24 March 2012

Indonesia: Victims still waiting for truth and justice for past human rights violations

As the world marks the International Day for the Right to the Truth concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims, in Indonesia victims of serious human rights violations, including unlawful killings, rape and other crimes of sexual violence, enforced disappearance, torture and other ill-treatment continue to call for truth, justice and reparation for past crimes.

Amnesty International today urges the Indonesian Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs, who is leading a team to resolve past human rights violations, to answer these calls by making the establishment of a National Truth and Reconciliation Commission a key priority.

The Commission should function according to international law and standards, including the Updated Set of principles for the protection and promotion of human rights through action to combat impunity. It should not substitute the responsibility of the criminal justice system in the country to investigate and – if sufficient admissible evidence exists – prosecute those responsible for grave human rights violations and crimes under international law. All victims should be guaranteed access to full reparation including restitution, compensation, rehabilitation, satisfaction and guarantees of non-repetition.      In 2004, the Indonesian Parliament passed the Law on a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (No. 27/2004), which provided for the establishment of a national truth commission with powers to receive complaints, investigate grave human rights violations which occurred in the past and to make recommendations for compensation and/or rehabilitation for victims. In 2006 the Indonesian Constitutional Court struck down the law, after it ruled that an article which provided reparation for victims only after they agreed to an amnesty for the perpetrator was unconstitutional. Amnesty International welcomed this ruling, as amnesties, pardons or similar measures of impunity for the most serious crimes and human rights violations such as unlawful killings, rape and other crimes of sexual violence, enforced disappearance, torture and other ill-treatment are contrary to international law.

Almost six years later, attempts to pass a new law and enact a national truth commission have stalled. Although a new law has been drafted and is scheduled for discussion in Parliament in 2011-2014; to date there has been no progress, with Parliament failing to prioritize debate of the draft in the 2012 legislative programme. The continued failure to debate and pass a new law in Indonesia leaves many victims without an effective mechanism for truth and full and effective reparation.

In May 2011, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono established a multi-agency team to devise “the best format to resolve grave human rights violations that occurred in the past”. The team has so far visited victims of such violations in various part of the country, including Talangsari, Tanjong Priok and Kupang. However, it has been criticized by human rights organizations and victims’ groups for failing to develop a concrete strategy to ensure truth, justice and reparation for victims.

All victims of gross human rights violations, crimes against humanity and other crimes under international law have a right to truth. Principle 4 of the Updated Set of principles for the protection and promotion of human rights through action to combat impunity states that “[i]rrespective of any legal proceedings, victims and their families have the imprescriptible right to know the truth about the circumstances in which violations took place and, in the event of death or disappearance, the victims’ fate”.

For victims, this right involves knowing the whole truth about the violations they suffered, including the identity of the perpetrators and the causes, facts and circumstances in which such violations took place. For family members, particularly of those who were killed or disappeared, it involves establishing the fate and whereabouts of their loved ones. Whether individual or collective, the right to truth involves the public acknowledgement of victims’ suffering. Truth commissions are also an important step towards understanding the circumstances that led to past violations, learning from the past to ensure that such crimes will not be committed again, and ensuring that shared experiences are acknowledged and preserved.

In addition to a lack of action at the national level, local attempts to establish truth commissions to deal with specific cases also continue to face delays. In the provinces of Aceh and Papua, civil society organizations are pushing for the establishment of local truth commissions, which are provided for in autonomy laws governing those areas. In Aceh a draft bylaw (qanun) has been on the legislative programme since early 2011 but is yet to be debated in the Aceh regional parliament, while in Papua, to date there has been no progress.

Amnesty International calls on the provincial and central government to prioritize the establishment of local truth commissions to ensure truth, justice and full reparation for victims and their families.

Efforts to deliver truth for victims and their families must form part of a wider framework of accountability for past crimes. Amnesty International calls on the Indonesian authorities to ensure that perpetrators of serious human rights violations are brought to justice in independent courts and in proceedings which meet international standards of fairness. Victims and their families must be provided with full and effective reparation under international law.

Amnesty International further calls on the Indonesian government to ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance at the earliest opportunity, incorporate its provisions into domestic law and implement it in policy and practice.

Link: http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/ASA21/012/2012/en