WestPapuaMedia has received the following alert, which has not yet been independently verified:”On Friday, April 10, 2015 a Delegation of the provisional government of the Federal Republic of West Papua ‘ (held a) Joint Meeting with Minister of Defence in Jakarta. This meeting is part of lobbying (that) recognition of the Federal Republic of West Papua state should emerge from both side, namely negotiation from the Indonesian government, and to pursue International recognition.
After joint meeting with Minister of Defense, on April 14, 2015 they returned to Jayapura. (When) they arrived the Papuan Regional Police arrested them and put them in Papuan Police Regional headquarters now.
Names of the arrested are:
1. Don A.L Flassy, Vice President of the Federal Republic of West Papua
2. Ones Banundi, Vice Chairman of the Papua National Council of the Federal Republic of West Papua
3. Masjohn Sueabu, Staff
4. Lawrence Mehue, Staff
5. Eyias Ayakeding, Chief of Papua National Police of the Federal Republic of West Papua
6. Deki Pahabol, staff”
Indonesian police have allegedly charged the group under Article 106 (makar or treason/subversion) of the Indonesian Criminal Code (KUHP), which carries up to 20 years or life in prison.
A spokesperson for the group, Yoab Syatfle, has called for International pressure on the Indonesian government to immediately release the 6 men.
Indonesian police in Sorong, West Papua, yesterday arrested four leading Papuan customary leaders for organising a welcome celebration and prayer for the safe arrival of the Aboriginal-led Freedom Flotilla, currently sailing from Australia.
The four were arrested after over 200 armed police surrounded a peaceful prayer gathering at Marantha Church in central Sorong yesterday afternoon, after thousands of local people joined with religious and adat (customary) leaders, and leaders of the self-declared National Federated Republic of West Papua (NFRPB) alternative government, to express their solidarity with the aims of the Freedom Flotilla. The Freedom Flotilla is a journey being conducted with Aboriginal and West Papuan elders and Australian activists to highlight internationally the human rights situation in West Papua and is currently enroute sailing from Australia to West Papua.
Internationally renowned environmental defender, researcher and customary leader, NFRPB Sorong secretary Yohanis Goram, was arrested together with Apolos Sewa (Vice chair of Dewan Adat Papua, Greater Sorong), Amandus Mirino (NFRPB State Secretariat senior worker), and Samuel Klasjok (NFRPB’s alternative Chief of Police (Security) for region 3, Doberay). Sorong Police Chief Harry Goldenhad met with the organisers of the gathering, and initially “approved the activities with the proviso that they did not disturb the peace, and maintained security,” according to witnesses statements provided by established credible sources to West Papua Media.
Over 2000 people had gathered for the solidarity event that spilled outside the large church compound.
About 45 minutes after the prayer meeting had finished, as participants were preparing for a press conference with local media including such as Radar Sorong, West Papua Post, and Fajar Papua, Police Chief Goldenhad took ten heavily armed officers into the church and arrested the four activists.
According to local sources who spoke with police and activists, Based on information collected on site, the arrests were made in connection with the unfurling of the Morning Star, Aboriginal, and Torres Straits flags inside the church.
The four activists are still being held at Sorong Police headquarters according to local sources, and their condition is unknown. However grave fears are held for their safety, as these are the first West Papuans to be arrested over a connection to the Freedom Flotilla, which has attracted significant international media interest, and ignited major controversy and comment from Indonesian and Australian government ministers.
International human rights organisations have reacted quickly to the arrests, with Amnesty International (AI) in London expressing concern about the arrests of the four Papuan political activists. AI’s Indonesia and Timor-Leste Campaigner, Josef Benedict said that AI “believes they have been arrested and detained solely for their peaceful political activism and call for their immediate and unconditional release.”
“Amnesty International calls on the Indonesian authorities to respect the rights of Papuans to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly which are guaranteed in Article 19 and Article 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Indonesia is a state party. Our organisation is concerned that the Indonesian government has consistently failed to make a distinction between violent armed groups and peaceful activists, and between peaceful expression of opinion and acts of physical violence, ” Benedict told West Papua Media by email.
Activists on board the Freedom Flotilla have reacted with dismay at the news of their supporters being targeted inside West Papua, but say this highlights the daily denial of Freedom of Expression for Papuan people, that originally motivated their plans for direct action.
Ronny Kareni, the spokesperson for the Freedom Flotilla said “It is shocking and yet not surprising, but completely unacceptable in this day and age that peaceful demonstrations of basic freedom of expression is censored in such an extreme way. We demand the immediate release of the 4 prisoners in Sorong.”
Kareni explained, “The arrests yesterday of the four Papuan leaders are a reflection of the reality that there is no space for democracy in Papua and West Papua Province under the Indonesian occupation, and yet foreign governments are complicit to these ongoing abuses. The Freedom Flotilla to West Papua is aiming to highlight this entrenched long-term brutality that is demonstrated by these arrests.
Arabunna elder, Uncle Kevin Buzzacott, the elder who inspired the journey, said in a statement to West Papua Media, “Indonesian government – you must immediately release those 4 prisoners and not to harm them in any way. They need to be released and not to be harmed because they have not committed a crime. We felt very sad when we seen it in the news today. We are waiting for the other mob to turn up here on Horne Island so we can work out how to respond a bit more but for now we need to ask all Australians to take a firm position on this issue, to be strong for Human Rights in West Papua. They are hurting them everyday, for years and regardless of the Freedom Flotilla this is happening, but we having a go, tryin’ to get the World to see, to look and listen and take a stand for these people. The Papuans have had it rough for too long with Indonesia there and this can’t keep going on. The prisoners must be released immediately”.
Izzy Brown, one of the organisers of the Freedom Flotilla said: “We are dismayed to hear that the peaceful act of prayer has resulted in such extreme actions by the police and military in West Papua, highlighting once more the lack of basic human rights and freedoms that we in Australia take for granted every day. We need immediate international pressure to be placed on the Indonesian government to ensure that no harm comes to these good people who have simply undertaken to express themselves in a democratic way.:
Kareni sums up the feeling of Flotilla members: “This is the time Australia, to stand up for people who are being militarily controlled and attacked for simply trying to have a voice.”
Jayapura: The aspirations of the Papuan people for Papua to become a zone of peace are becoming increasingly difficult to achieve. Imprisonment, killings, corruption, terror and acts of intimidation against the civilian population are now occurring in Papua but no one knows who will take responsibility for all these things.
In response to this situation, the West Papua National Authority (WPNA) and other pro peace and anti violence organisations decided to organise a peaceful demonstration on Tuesday this week, calling on the Indonesian government and the Papuan people to spare no efforts in resolving the conflict in Papua and to seek a solution as quickly as possible in the interests of peace, justice and order for the Papuan people and the Indonesian people now living in the Land of Papua.
‘All of us who feel these concerns should join together in a peaceful demonstration to mourn he current situation. When will there be pease in Papua,’ said one leaflet that has been distributed widely in Jayapura.
The co-ordinator of the demonstration Sius Ayemi said that they would organise the demonstration under the slogan: ‘Papua Mourns’.on Tuesday, 10 July from 9am until late in the afternoon.They will not allow people in the demonstration to bring alcohol or sharp implements which could lead to anarchy. and disorder.
One of the leaflets says: ‘Dont just think about us or our organisation but ask yourselves when will there be peace in Papua?’
In recent months, West Papua has come under an international spotlight over Indonesian military and police impunity for brutal assaults on civilians and non-violent activists. Despite the palpable repression on the Papuan street , activists from the self-declared Federated Republic of West Papua on July 10 held a peaceful demonstration in Jayapura, with the theme, “Save Papua from Genocide and Grievances”.
Leading up to the demonstration, POLDA (Regional Police command) Papua refused to issue a permit to rally organizers, and even banned activists from the Federated Republic of West Papua to organize any peaceful demonstrations under threat of treason charges being leveled on rally organizers of peaceful demonstrations.
A coordinator of today’s rally, Sius Ayemi, told West Papua Media prior to his arrest that police refused permission despite four rounds of intense negotiations and several letter, denying basic rights to freedom of expression. In a phone conversation to the West Papua Media team, Ayemi has challenged the Indonesian government and its military regime to “reconsider military approaches in West Papua,” and called on the international community “to stop believing the Indonesian government’s rhetoric about its commitment to dialogue, or the (Indonesian) Republic’s effort to ‘wage peace aggressively’.”
The demonstration was to start at several different locations – Expo Waena/UNCEN, Entrop/Hamadi /Argapura and Pasir 2 / Dok 9 – at around 9:30am, then converging to meet at the DPRP (Papuan legislative assembly) office in Jayapura. Police blockaded the demonstrators at the first two locations, preventing demonstrators from proceeding to the DPRP office. However, demonstrators from Pasir 2 and Dok 9 were able to march to the DPRP office but were quickly and brutally rounded up by one company of fully armed police.
Markus Yenu, the Federated Republic of West Papua Governor of Manokwari and a planned speaker at the rally, told West Papua Media that the police physically pushed the demonstrators backward with their guns and told them to go home. He told the West Papua Media team by phone, “the moment we arrived in front of the DPRP office, we were threatened, searched and dispersed by police officers and requested harshly to hand-in all the attributes for the rally.” He further mentioned that the police confiscated several cameras, megaphones, mobile phones, placards and banners.
According to witnesses on the ground, Sius Ayemi was attempting to negotiate with the police in a disciplined-manner but was quickly surrounded by few police officers who arrested him and bundled him away, together with Edison Kendi who stood next to Mr. Ayemi at the time of the arrest. Until now, both Sius Ayemi and Edison Kendi are still being held at police custody in Jayapura.
West Papua Media attempted to make few phone calls to KAPOLDA Papua, KAPOLRI and WAKAPOLDA Papua but they all refused to comment about the arrest of the two activists and ended the call.
Local human rights sources have asked for advocacy for the release of Sius Ayemi and Edison Kendi, by calling the below contact details:
Ten Thousand Defy Police bans to march; flotilla of war canoes fly banned flags
from West Papua Media and local sources
May 1, 2012
Indonesian security forces are currently preparing to disperse a mass demonstration near Serui, as tens of thousands of people take to the streets across West Papua to reject the Indonesian annexation of West Papua
on May 1 1963.
The yearly demonstration are being held by two sectors of West Papua civil resistance _ the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) in Jayapura, Puncak Jaya and Sorong, and the Federated Republic of West Papua (FRWP) has organised similar rallies in Manokwari, Yapen Island, and Fak-fak. Indonesian Police have generally allowed the rallies to occur across Papua, however in Yapen, Police have banned all gatherings from occuring across Yapen, and have reportedly blockaded all marches.
According to the FRWP, Head of Police in Serui Regency, Roycke Harry Langie S.IK MH, refused permission for the Federated Republic of West Papua to hold its rally, even while citing rights under Indonesian regulation No. 9/1998 concerning free speech in public spaces.
“The Police Commander’s order not only violates Regulation No. 9, but also Article 28 of the Indonesian Constitution 1945” said Jacob Rumbiak, Head of Foreign Affairs for FRWP.
Despite this ban, over 10,000 people have reportedly gathered at Wombai Beach outside Serui on Yapen. According to West Papua Media sources spoken to by phone, Ten Canoes (large outrigger war canoes) flying Morning Star flags, full of demonstrators from outlying islands, are about to land. However the Kapolres Roycke Harry Langie, is at the time publication using a loudhailer to try to force the boats to furl their flags and Morning Star paraphernalia, though it is understood that the boat crews are refusing to do. The situation is described as tense and dynamic, with the chance for armed Naval action occuring against the war canoes. However permission has just been granted for the rally to continue until 2pm local time, when a forces dispersal would be made if not already done.
In Manokwari already about 30 morning star flags have been raised in from of the Manokwari district DAP office. Around 20 have been raised during a Long march fromm the UNIPA university campus to the DAP office. Up to 5000 people are now believed to have gathered listening to speeches and carrying on more Long marches.
Photos from Manokwari below:
No news has yet been confimred from Jayapura at this stage.
This is a developing situation – more updates as they come to hand. Please stay tuned.