Tag Archives: failure of Rule Of Law

Essay: THE STATE OF INDONESIA AND VIOLENCE

By Pastor Honaratus Pigai

OPINION / ESSAY

November 2, 2015

The creation of human beings is indeed one of the brilliant works of God,  giving freedom to humans to choose between right and wrong, good and bad.  It is the very intelligence of humans which differentiates us from other living things in the creation.  We are indeed unique. Animals share the characteristic of humans that they tend towards using violence in order to defend themselves.  Animals also have instincts.

Unlike human beings, animals don’t possess the means to be able to evaluate the appropriateness of actions.. The instinct of animals is but one of survival. Yet despite the “higher level intelligence” of humans, at times they will act not just out of an instinct to survive when threatened, but rather as a predator against their fellow humans. (Something like a group of lions which may seize by violence the territory of another lion group.)

Sadly there are far too many instances of such predatory behaviour being seen in Papua against the indigenous people of the land.
Humanity – one would have thought – should have ceased using violence against their fellow beings long before this point in human history. What’s more those nations that call themselves ‘civilised’.  It is appropriate that human violence  only be tolerated when one nation is faced with an threat to their safety by another nation.  So then violence would only be used in a way that is legal under human law (to defend) against that which is carrying out the wrong.

However here in Papua violence is being systematically used not against criminals, but against the people.

The State versus the Community

A State has a certain authority recognised in the protection of its community.  It is regarded as the ‘protector’ of the people.  Instances of the use of violence by a State should only in the context of protecting its people from some threat of harm.  Violence should never be used by the State against the community itself.  However what has been occurring in Papua in recent times is totally paradoxical to that (notion).

Although it is forbidden to openly admit that the Indonesian State is opposing the very community that it is supposed to protect in Papua, the fact is that frequently the Papuan community does feel as if it is being regarded as the ‘opposition’ of the State.  Particularly around instances when the State forces its own will onto the people.  National policies applied in Papua largely can be said NOT to be representative of the Papuan context, nor the needs of the local community.  Often heard on the streets in response is “What is asked for is one thing, what is given is another.”  This is a reality. The policies are not in accordance with what is asked for, or even what is wanted and hoped for by the community.

It seems likely that violence has been adopted as the one and only ‘solution’ of the State of Indonesia to solving the problems in Papua.  At those moments when the community is seen to oppose the will of the State, indeed this seems ever so clear.  However Indonesia does not seem to recognise that the violence of its agents is having a counter productive result:  among its ramifications is that the State will predictably lose legitimacy and the trust of the Papuan community. This is an important matter for the state, which will only be changed by the State having an approach of dialogue and treating people humanely.

Obviously we are all human beings and that we should as much as possible be using means that are humane and civilised.  Would it therefore not be preferable that when a government (representing the power of the state) is adopting any policy that profoundly effects the community, that they would seek the opinion of that community to be affected, prior to that point? The government must not just hide from its obligations, seeking protection behind legalities of power, with statements like ‘This is in accordance with legal procedure’.  They must stop the inherent power games against the community, claiming that ‘This is in accordance with a legal decision, so it must be implemented’.

The State must seek to bring about justice and peace for the people, not the opposite! The law is an instrument to be used to attain a civilised state of affairs and good for its citizens, not to be used to spill the blood of the people and create death and tragedy in their lives. The recent human history of Papua is indeed full with the spilling of blood and killing of the Papuan people. There has been absolutely no episode of life for Papuans in this era where there has been a real peace and a lack of violence in the land against its people. The violence itself has become like a little king, a ruler in Papua. Indeed it is no mistake to say that a ‘smooth’ genocide has befallen the indigenous community of Papua.

‘Smooth’ Violence

The State violence in Papua is clothed with a smooth, soft touch. Those that commit the acts of violence and create the anarchy wear security hats and are referred to as the so-called ‘protectors’ of the community. This is a fact of what is happening.   Far from the ideals of ‘Peacekeeping and protection,’ it seems have been watered down to meaning  ‘closing down (cultural) pride actions that might otherwise arise’.

It’s up to each of us to interpret what is really going on in relation to those wearing those ‘hats’ in light of the realities in Papua. The Writer sees it as a ‘smooth’ violence, a ‘refined’ violence being committed against the people. This really can damage the sense of peacefulness in the community. Even the justice spoken of in the Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia 1945 is damaged as a consequence of this neglect by the State of its people.

The State could try just once in a while seeking the opinions from the community regarding  policies in Papua. If the majority of opinions sought were in agreement with the policies, by all means continue to apply them. However if the community does not agree, they must be discontinued. Unfortunately there is no such mechanism as this in existence; It is but utopian as the role of the community should already be represented by the Papuan Legislative Assembly (DPRD). They are the ones in the Indonesian structure which represent the community. There is no use regretting this as this is the mechanism which we chose democratically.
The DPRD has an incredibly obvious shortcoming. All manner of aspirations of the people that reach their desk are in one way or another overlooked. As the representative of the community that sits in the most respected of positions it feels indeed like there has been some sort of ‘cutting off’ of a limb. Both attention and partiality of the DPRD towards the Papuan community are severely dulled.

It is truly hoped that the games of violence in Papua – whether of the ‘smooth faced’ type or more crude forms of violence against the people – might be questioned. The hats of the ‘peacekeepers and protectors’ must be removed as the proliferation of Indonesian military forces in Papua is not the solution! Violence is not the solution and neither is money the solution. The solution lies in listening to the true desires of the community. Not the wishes of the Papuan government officials who have no genuine concern for the suffering of the Papuan indigenous community.

The Author is a Church Worker in Timika, Papua.

Translated, annotated and edited by West Papua Media for linguistic clarity.  The religious views espoused in this Opinion piece are the author’s own and not necessarily those of West Papua Media.

Indon Police say ‘shoot on sight’ for petty criminals

Bintang Papua, 26 July 2011Abridged in translation by TAPOL

Police chief says: ‘Shoot on sight’

Jayapura: The many cases of petty thefts and harassments directed mostly against women has led to the police deciding to take strong action. The chief of police in Jayapura, Imam Setiawan has issued an order to ‘shoot on sight’ (door ditempat) for people engaging in such activities in Jayapura. ‘I have told my men to deal with these people either with sharp weapons or other equipment.and they should not refrain from using their weapons.’

In the past three months, the police have received reports of 28 such cases; 99% of these cases were targeted  against people who were on their motorbikes . In some cases,weapons have been used. There was a stabbing which was almost fatal, and in another case, someone had grabbed the person’s bag  which led to her falling to the ground and suffering permanent damage to her face’ In another case, someone carrying a sharp weapon threatened the victim to hand over the motorbike.’

In view of these many cases, the police have set up a team  to handle these  crimes, including the many thefts of motorbikes which have become much more frequent recently.And many of the cases have occurred in the busy parts of town. Police reports show that the worst areas were North and South Jayapura. However there were no thefts of motorbikes in Abepura during the past three months. The police have warned women not to go out alone on motorbikes in the busy parts of town.

Indonesian Civil Society: Open letter to SBY Raising Concern and Offering Solution:: One-Year Human Rights Promotion in Papua 2010

OPEN LETTER

Raising Concern and Offer Solution::

One-Year Human Rights Promotion in Papua 2010

To the attention of

President Republic of Indonesia,

Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono

In Jakarta

Dear Mr. President,

We are writing this letter to you to raise our concern over human rights conditions in Papua. We are confirmed that lacking of protection and recognition of Papuans’ rights have led to abusive and violent practice against Papuans. This pratice has persistently cause death to Papuans and left trauma for them and their family. This practice clearly does not reflect the spirit of this country’s constitution to protect whole citizens.

We have recorded that there have been some big issues this year that attract public attention. The issues such as footage violent action against civilians by military in Tinggi Nambut Papua,[1] violence against civilians in Bolakme,[2] ethnic conflict between Papuan highlanders and Yoka people,[3] shooting civilians in Nafri[4], shooting against prisoners in Tanah Hitam,[5] civilians shot dead in Boroway,[6] arrest and detention of Filep Karma and  Buchtar Tabuni[7] and the rally of returning special autonomy. Other cases relating to social, economy and culture which potentially bring negative impact on Papuans and destroy Papuan values such as MIFEE in Merauke,[8] Dagewo case in Paniai[9],  the transfer of local land in Lereh for palm oil plantation, Freeport case,[10] and many illegal logging cases.

Bsaed on our observation and data collected, the problems mentioned above happen because of the following reasons:

First, government still stigmatisize any Papua groups and individual as separatist as they do resistance against government. Government uses ‘stigmatization of separatist” as powerful  strategy to silence Papuans demand and freedom of expression and weaken the critical thinking from Papuans who often criticise the govermnent policy. This strategy is partially successful as it silences resistant movement but in the other side it gives more energy and spirit for more resistance. Also, this unpopular strategy has planted the seeds of hostility and mistrust among Papuans against Indonesia.

Second, Jakarta still plays dominant role in the issue of any policies and their implementations in Papua. Jakarta, as the central power, is still unable to trust any process of development in Papua although Papua has been given special autonomy to manage themselves. MIFEE case, violence against civilians in Bolakme, Tingginambut-Puncak Jaya and Freeport cases are example on how central government still exercise their absolute authority which potentially destroy basic rights of Papua. Central govermnet just interest in investment without considering the basic rights of Papuans and their values

Third, Papua is still considered as conflict area. Therefore, security approach is dominant. Huge number of troops are deployed  every year to Papua to secure the border area and investor’s assets. Ironically, the security approach has caused fear and revive the past trauma. People in the border feel fear when they go to bush and forest to hunting, gardening as they might be arrested as being suspected as members of Papua freedom movement (OPM)/ National Freedom Army (TPN).

Fourth, The massive deployment of troops which is to secure investors’ assest has caused human right violations and fear. The rights of people are neglected and intimidation is done when the locals demand their rights and speak critically.

Fifth, Economic problems are still strongly perceived as the main problems in Papua. Therefore, huge amount of money and investment is needed to build Papua to improve their economy. RESPEK ( strategic plan for rural development) program is one example where the program emphasize infrastructure development rather than human resources development. Moreover, suspection among the locals is rising over the use and management of special autonomy fund used for RESPEK program. Also, no efective supervision has led to corruption

Sixth, the policy issued by govermnet and its implementation actually repair the impact not solve the basic problems which has been persisting so long. It is crucial that any policy has ‘solving-problems’ elements. If not, the problems will never be solved.

Based on the description above, we urge Mr. President to take immediate action by ordering central government and localgovernment to do the following:

First, hold peaceful dialog as an effective means to solve the problems in Papua. The dialog Jakarta-Papua which has been initiated by Papua Peace Network Team needs to be supported. The dialog should involved all elements: government, customary community, religious leaders, academics and civil groups.

Second, stop all stigmatization against Papuans and place them a citizens who have rights to be protected by the state. Constitutions guarantee freedom of expression and this should also be applied to Papuans. Some articles in state criminal law and government regulation No. 77 year 2007 about treason and subversion need to be amended as it limits the freedom of expression

Third, revise or redesign security approach to be human rights-based approach as it will recognise the rights of Papuans and protect Papuans from violent acts. The deployment of troops need to be adjusted to the need of the local area and real threat as to save state budget of defense

Fourth, police should exercise their professionalism in keeping the order and promote human rights. The professionalism is shown by giving protection so people feel secure and peaceful in doing their activities. This is important to bring back trust from the people.

Fifth, push the policy that promote human rights and provide justice to the victims of human rights abuses. Government has to take immediate action to establish human rights court and reconciliation and truth commission in Papua as mandated by special autonomy law

Sixth, central government needs to revise public-service related policy because the existing policy does not provide and touch the basic rights of Papuans. There are three public service issues that needs to taken into consideration: education, health and economy where these three areas are directed to empowernment, affirmative action and protection

Seventh, Policies issued for Papua need to have recognition of human rights elements. This is so because all existing policies basically emphasize on economic and welfare problems.

Eighth, governor, Papua legislative (DPRP) and Papua People’s Assembly (MRP) should build good coordination and reponsive to the problems of human rights abuses in Papua. Lack of initiatives and good will from these institutions show that they actually do not have commitment to promote human rights in Papua and potentially increase mistrust among Papuans.

We write this open letter with the hope that immediate action to be taken to solve the problems in Papua. Thanks

Jayapura, 05 January 2010

Institutions support this open letter

Papua Based Institution

Foker LSM Papua, ALDP, Elsham Papua, SKP-KPC, KPKC Sinode GKI Papua, LBH Jayapura, JAPH-HAM Wamena

Jakarta Based Institution

Imparsial, Kontras Jakarta, HRWG, PRAXIS

CC :

1.  Menkopulhukan RI

2.  Menkokesra RI

3.  Menteri Dalam Negeri RI

4.  Menteri Luar Negeri RI

5.  Menteri Pertahanan RI

6.  Panglima TNI

7.  Kapolri

8.  Jaksa Agung RI

9. Ketua DPR-RI

10. Anggota DPD Provinsi Papua

11.  Gubernur Provinsi Papua

12. Gubernur Provinsi Papua Barat

13. Ketua DPRP

14. Ketua MRP

15. Kedutaan Asing

16. lembaga Internasional

17. Jaringan kerja Papua


[1] This video was initially released by Hongkong Based Human Rights group, AHRC and made public through youtube. In the video, it shows that military tortures civilians suspected as members of Papua free movement group. But in fact, the victim is a reverend. Government then response to the incident immediately by forming fact-finding team. Ministry of politics, law and human rights finally acknowledges in the press release that it is true that military has done such a barbaric act. The perpetrators of the torture were finally on trial and sentenced respectively 5 months and 7 months. This very minimum sentence indicates a failure of states to provide justice to the victim

[2] An ambush against military in Yugam, Bolakme, Jayawijaya district on 1 december 2010. This incident has caused two civilians die

[3]This incident took place on 17 November 2010, 35 houses burned and 3 got injured. The highlanders damage the houses in Yoka as they are angered by a song composed by a Yoka man which insult the highlanders. It is also suspected that third party plays role in fueling the conflict. Local government has facilitated a dialog and they have agreed to cease their hostility. .

[4] Group of unknown men shoot civilians in Nafri, Abepura on 28 November 2010. One was dead and 4 seriously injured. The perpetrators are not identified yet.

[5]Friday on 3 December 2010 around 12.00, 4 prisoners and one detainee escape from prison. Miron Wetipo, one of the prisoners is shot dead when trying to escape. One of the prisoner is finally caught while the other three escape.

[6] Rahmat Faisal, an employee at mobile phone counter,  found dead by Oktafinaus Yerisitow. The victim was suspected being shot around 13.00 on 13 December 2010

[7] Filep Karma and Buchtar Tabuni were detained as they are suspected as the mastermind of riot in the prison after the death of Wiron Wetipo, a man shot dead while trying to escape from prison. Actually, Filep Karma and Buchtar Tabuni just ask head of law and human rights department about the reason why Wetipo was shot dead

[8]Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate (MIFEE) is a joint program between local and national government. This program will place Merauke as global agriculture industry. The program is promising which says that in 2030 Indonesia will have additional reserved food such as rice of 1.95 million ton, corn 2.02 ton, and many other food reservation. Also, Merauke will have income of IDR 124.2 million per capita per year in 2030. The program will bring more people from Java to work in the industry. Sadly, the program has taken people’s land.

[9]Illegal mining in Degowo has happened since 2001 where local do the mining without outside intervention. But since 2003, intervention comes and backed up by military and police. As more outsiders come and do the mining, the locals are moved out and can no longer do traditional mining as they used to do. They are even forced to release their land to investors who are interested in the gold mining. Moreover, prostitutes are brought by investors and military to Degowo to entertain the locals.

[10] Freeport case is the longest and massive exploitation of natural resources in Papua. Although there have been many efforts initiated by Freeport to bring back trust of Papua such as giving Cooperate Social Responsibility (CSR) but the problems and mistrust remain

Buchtar Tabuni and friends are still in police custody

[Slightly abridged in translation by TAPOL]

Bintang Papua, 30 December 2010

Buchtar Tabuni and friends are still in police custody

Jayapura:

Two convicted prisoners charged with treason [makar], Buchtar Tabuni and Filep Karma, along with three other prisoners, Dominggus Pulalo, Alex Elopere and Lopes Katubaba are still in police custody. Buchtar and the others are in police custody and face charges of causing damage and incitement in Abepura Prison on 3 December 2010.

Confirming this in a press release on the security situation at the end
of 2010, Police Inspector-General Bekto Suprapto said that although
Buchtar and his colleagues were convicted prisoners and already serving sentences in Abepura Prison , they now had the additional status of facing new charges. ‘This means that their sentences will certainly be increased,’ he said. (sic)

The police chief said that with their removal from Abepura Prison,
conditions at Abepura Prison had improved. It was much easier now to
keep control of the prisoners in Abepura than it was when Buchtar and
the others were there, he was quoted as saying. ‘We have received
reports that the prison inmates are easier to control, they are more
obedient and now do as they are told, whereas before they were not easy to control.’

He said this was an indication that Buchtar and the others had been
inciting the other prisoners to be disobedient.

Asked about the number of prisoners who had escaped from the prison, he said that they were all on the wanted list [DPO] and their capture was the top priority for 2011 but he did not mention the number of prisoners involved. According to information from other sources, at least fifty prisoners have escaped from the prison.

He said that Buchtar and the others would face several new charges such as causing damage (Article 170) and incitement (Article 160), and could face up to seven years in prison.

When Bintang Papua requested permission to take photos of Buchtar and his friends in police custody, this was refused. The police officer said that this would only infuriate the general public.

As previously reported, Buchtar and his friends [allegedly] caused
damage after an inmate Wiron Wetipo disappeared from the prison and was shot dead by a joint patrol of the police and the army, while they were raiding a house in Tanah Hitam which is suspected as being the
headquarters of the OPM/TPN.

On hearing that Wiron had been shot dead, the six persons [not five
which is the number of names given in this article] now face charges for causing damage and inciting the other prisoners.

Filep Karma is serving a 15-year sentence while Buchtar is serving three years. The other prisoners are serving sentences of two or three years.

[Note how this senior police has no doubt that Buchtar and Karma will
be found guilty of the new charges they face. Such is the rule of law in Indonesia. – TAPOL]