Tag Archives: Flag of West Papua

Morning Star flag flew for 5 hours in Serui

Unofficial Morning Star flag, used by supporte...
Image via Wikipedia
Bintang Papua,13 February 2012Serui: The Morning Star flag , Kejora, the flag of the separatists in Papua,  was held aloft for five hours in Serui, district of Yapen islands on Saturday, 11 February.

The local chief of police said that  this had been done by people who dont want peace and tranquillity  to prevail in Serui. He also called them ‘irresponsible elements’.

The police chief, Deniel P.Dwi Atmoko,  said that they were investigating the motives of those involved. ‘However, we can conclude that these people do not want peace to prevail and always engage in activities which are in violation of the law and one of things they do is to raise the kejora flag.’

He then went on to express his thanks to all those who had assisted the police and the army (TNI)  in pulling down the flag. ‘This proves that  the majority of people in Serui are very eager for peace. This is clear from the fact that the local people waited until the security forces had pulled the flag down.

He expressed the hope that these elements would not do such a thing again. ‘Stop doing things that clearly violate the law because this can only result in difficulties for the individuals themselves as well as for their families. We must work together to develop Serui in peace and tranquillity  so as to ensure that the activities being undertaken by the local government can be achieved.’

[Abridged in translation by TAPOL]

Papuan Political Prisoners Released in FakFak

by Andreas Harsono

Simon Tuturop has finished his prison sentence in Fakfak. From outside the jail Tuturop said “Having been in prison for years doesn't mean that I will be quiet, instead prison was a place for study and self-reflection about how to build a struggle together with other brothers and sisters. Unity is the key” (Photo @Elsham Advocacy Team & Foker Fakfak)

Five political prisoners, imprisoned for raising the Morning Star flag on 19 July 2008 in front of the Fakfak Act of Free Choice building, were freed today. They were condemned to four years in prison by the Fakfak court and have now been released having served three years, five months and three days of their sentence.

Simon Tuturop, Tadeus Weripang, Benediktus Tuturop, Tomas Nimbitkendik and Teles Piahar were collected from the prison by Freddy Warpopor, the Fakfak Area Coordinator of Foker NGO Papua, and other friends by two minibuses and several motorbikes, according to a Foker NGO press release.

The group left the prison at 09:30. They went to the house of Eligius Warpopor, a community leader in Gewerpe Village, where they were greeted by the people of Gerwerpe. Simon Tuturop made a speech thanking the people of Gewerpe Village, as well as the Papuan Customary Institute (Lembaga Adat Papua), Elsham Papua, Foker NGO, LP3BH Manokwari, Amnesty International and the ICRC. He said that they had helped to greatly reduce their suffering in prison.

Simon Tuturop being welcomed by the people of Gerwerbe Village. Photo @Elsham Advocacy Team & Foker Fakfak

Simon Tuturop, originally from Fakfak, is a leading figure of the non-violent movement for Papua liberation. In 1982 he joined in a proclamation of West Papuan independence in Jayapura. He was sentenced to twelve years in Kalisosok prison, Surabaya. In 1998, as President Suharto fell, Tuturop and other political prisoners across the whole of Indonesia were set free. He then went to work in Aceh, to help with social projects for Achenese people who had become refugees of Indonesia’s war with the Free Aceh Movement (GAM)

On 19 July 2008, Tuturop led a flag-raising of the Morning Star flag where 44 people were arrested by Indonesian police. Five were found guilty by the Indonesian court in Fakfak and convicted of treason under articles 106 and 110 of the Indonesian criminal code. Elsham Papua, LP3BH Manokwari and Foker NGO Papua regard them as innocent prisoners of conscience who did not committed any violent acts. To express a desire for independence is part of the freedom to express political aspirations. It is not a criminal act. These three organisations continued to advocate for them and defend them.

Tadeus Waripang returns to his home in Kampung Wayati. Photo @ Elsham Advocacy Team & Foker Fakfak

The group then continued their journey to Wayati Village to bring Tadeus Weripang back home. The people of Wayati Village and the village chief were already waiting for Tadeus Weripang’s arrival.

Warpopor said, “It was a great welcome, despite the tumultous atmosphere. Some people shed tears.” Village chief Plerius Kondawe gave his thanks to the three organisations.

The villagers asked Freddy Warpopor to explain about President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono‘s meeting with Papuan church leaders. Warpopor encouraged the villagers to pay attention to any developments which may arise. He said that President Yudhoyono “was already open to dialogue with the Papuan people.”

“Let’s all support this process, so that we can determine the right format that Papuans will later use in the dialogue, and another important thing is that this struggle is a non-violent struggle. Let’s unite to save the country and this land of Papua,”said Warporpor.

Posted by Andreas Harsono

Translated by Tapol


RA: Freeport mine strike ends (interview with West Papua Media)

  • Updated December 28, 2011 07:58:41

Thousands of workers at Freeport mine in Indonesia have ended their three-month strike for better wages, after a signing a pay-rise deal with the company.

Production at Freeport‘s giant gold and copper mine in Papua has been at a standstill since workers began their industrial action. The workers are expected to return to work this week, but there are reports the Papuan police chief will charge protest organisers with sedition.

Presenter: Melanie Arnost
Editor of West Papua Media Nick Chesterfield

CHESTERFIELD: It’s seen to be a bit of a bitter sweet victory because whilst there have been ceremonies to enable peaceful resolution, the company, Freeport has given very little ground on the original demands and the Indonesian police in Papua have decided that they’re also going to charge the union leaders and the organisers with sedition.
ARNOST: What does this mean for the workers?
CHESTERFIELD: Well sedition is basically the charge under which everyone in West Papua gets charged if they raise the Morning Star flag. What it means is basically between 10 to 15 years in prison, and it’s not exactly a good faith act by the police. So there’s a lot of people who are going to be fearful. It’s designed by the police to stop anyone from taking legitimate industrial action by making out that it’s treasonous.
ARNOST: And how many workers are we talking about that look like they’ll be charged?
CHESTERFIELD: Well at the moment it’s looking at the union organisers, certainly the heads of the union and key organisers who’ve been manning the blockades and doing the education out there and doing what union organisers do on the ground during strikes. Whether or not they charge everyone, this is a question that the workers certainly want to have answered, and also one of their conditions in returning to work is there’s going to be no sanction on them for going on strike. There’s no real gains in wage justice for any of the workers there, I mean they were initially going for quite a significant pay rise, and in the end they’re getting less than seven dollars an hour for their efforts.
ARNOST: So why did they decide to end the strike?
CHESTERFIELD: At the end of the day companies like Freeport and the Freeport mine which is the most profitable mine on earth, it’s the largest gold and copper mine on earth. It doesn’t want to pay its workers, not its indigenous workers anyway. There’s an understanding simply that there was no willingness on behalf of management to even budge even a few cents. So any money is better than no money.
ARNOST: So these seven dollars, is that what they were originally being paid in the first place?
CHESTERFIELD: Look they were originally being paid about a dollar 50 to three dollars an hour. So certainly there have been a few increases but it’s far less than what they’re asking for and there’s no real guarantees of safety and security, and especially security from these ongoing attacks by unknown forces, which the police and military seem to not want to solve.
ARNOST: When do you expect the workers will return to work?
CHESTERFIELD: It could be any day but nothing is entirely guaranteed until we get the pictures from the ground really.
ARNOST: It’s said to be the longest in recent Indonesian history this strike, so do you predict something like this happening again?
CHESTERFIELD: Look certainly there’s an appetite for industrial action in Indonesia and certainly in West Papua. Certainly the Freeport Mine’s got to be separated in some way obviously from the independence struggle in West Papua, but there’s certainly issues of corporate behaviour and corporate impact on surrounding environments and surrounding social dislocation that workers have really switched on to. You can’t unlearn what you’ve gone through in a situation like that, so certainly there’s more of a willingness to take this kind of action. And they’ve certainly learnt a lot of lessons from it.

West Papua- December 1 2011 – Breaking the Media Blackout

50 years ago on the 1st of December 1961, West Papuans flew their flag for the first time in preparation for their independence from the Dutch.

In 2011, despite ongoing repression, the Morning Star flag was once again flown across the country. The non-violent demonstrations and gatherings, as well as the military crackdown against them, were reported to the world via a network of citizen media journalists, breaking through the media blackout of West Papua.

This short wrap-up shows how the West Papuan people would not let outrageous threats of Indonesian state violence suppress their desire to declare their independence.

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/34163958]

Shoot to kill threat over defiant Papuan flagraisers


IN the aftermath of October’s brutal crackdown by Indonesian police on the Third Papuan People’s Congress, local pro-independence committees have organised mass civil resistance in most towns across West Papua to commemorate its 50th anniversary of Independence, tragically cut short by Indonesia’s invasion in 1963.

The banned symbol of West Papua’s independence, the Morning Star flag, will be raised in provocative actions that occupying Indonesian security forces have deemed as an act of rebellion, and have threatened to shoot to kill anyone participating.

Flagraising ceremonies are scheduled to be held in almost twenty centres across Papua and West Papua provinces, including Jayapura, Wamena and Timika.  Massive shows of force have been reported from Indonesian forces to prevent local people from taking part in planned events.

Tensions are high across the Bird’s Head Penninsula of West Papua as hundreds of  paramilitary police (Brimob) seconded to the area exchanged gunfire with local units of National Liberation Army (TPN) and conducted heavy handed searches of homes and villages.

Shots were exchanged from 3pm local time on November 29 in the farming and gold panning village of Markus Eduda between Brimob personel and the village based unit of the National Liberation Army (TPN), led by Jhon Yogi. An estmiated 300 Brimob personel, who are not usually based in the area, are currently stationed in the western villages of Dagouto, Pasir Putih and Bibida.

On November 30 Indonesian soldiers were stationed at the location in the nearby city of Nabire nominated as the venue for a peaceful “praise and worship only” commemeration ceremony, with no flag raising.

Other previously unreported events in the area include escalating fear in villages, since combined military and police forces opened fire in the village of Madi Paniai on August 15, 2011.

Local human rights workers say that since the August shooting, residents of Madi Paniai and the neighbouring villages of Ugi, Weya and Aga have been living in fear, especially people who had fled to the area from other parts of Papua because of its relative safety.

They added that armed personnel were searching homes, rummaging through people’s belongings supposedly looking for sharp tools, and confiscating needles, knives, shovels, arrows and machetes.

They added that the continued presence of the police and military forces and the intimidating and invasive searches were causing widespread distress and prompting people to move to other villages.

According to latest reports the residents of Dagouto, Muyadebe, Uwamani and Badauwo have fled, deserting the villages.

Massive troop buildup

Around Jayapura, several thousand Papuans are expected to attend the 50th anniversary celebrations in Sentani, at the grave of slain independence leader Theys Eluay, who was murdered by Kopassus special forces officers in 2001.

Negotiations with police are still ongoing to allow a gathering and prayer fellowship after organisers were prohibited to raise the Morning Star  At time of writing, Permission had still been refused by Jayapura Police to allow any gatherings.

Local sources have described urban centres across Papua as being like cemetaries with people staying off the streets whilst security force personnel are conducting shows of force.

In Manokwari, a prayer vigil and flagraising is planned together with a nonviolent mass demonstration, but statements from hardline leaders from the guerrilla National Liberation Army (TPN/OPM) have threatened to play into hands of Indonesian security forces planning a crackdown on flagraisers.

On Wednesday night, Manokwari was described as a “Blood Danger Zone” by organisers of independence celebrations after Richard Jouweni, a commander of the TPN,  declared he would use violence against security forces to ensure the banned Morning Star would fly.  Indonesian military commanders in Manokwari have prohibited local organisers from carrying out flagraisings, however these calls are likely to be defied.  The location of the ceremonies are still unknown, while civilians in nearby villages have already started arriving in Manokwari town centre for the events.

Concerns are mounting of significant bloodshed in Serui and Waropen.  Papuan and Indonesian media and human rights workers have reportedly been barred from the centres off the north coast, and the head of police has issued warnings to anyone engaging in political expression.  The police chief in Serui, Daniel Pryo Dwiatmoko, Kepala Kapolres (+6282198480889, +6282198683246) said on November 29 in a interview on Radio Republic Indonesia “If Papuans wish to talk about independence of a nation-state, find another place to talk… We will permit no event regarding flag raising, if there is, its shoot to kill on sight”.

This statement is an eerie echo of Ali Murtopo, the architect of Suharto’s military takeover of West Papua, who in 1969 told the 1025 imprisoned delegates to the contentious Act of “free” Choice – the disputed process by which Indonesia took over West Papua – “We do not want you Papuan’s, we just want your land.  If you want a country of your own, you can go to the moon.  Vote for Indonesia,’ or we will cut out your accursed tongues”.

In Nabire and Biak, prayer gatherings will take place instead of flag raising due to fear.

In Merauke, on the edge of the Torres Strait, 1600 troops from the Indonesian army were airdropped down on November 29,  and unconfirmed reports have filtered through of flagraising actions near the vast Merauke Integrate Food and Energy Estate.

The Australian trained Indonesian special force unit Kopassus is also deploying significantly across Papua to crackdown on peaceful free expression.  Confirmed reports from disgruntled Kopassus sources to West Papua Media are describing 213 troops (2 companies) being deployed in Keerom and Jayapura, and another two companies  of Kopassus have been deployed in Yakuhimo regency in the Highlands.  Local human rights sources have described these Kopassus groups as “waiting around for a chance to crackdown”.

International media and human rights organisations are banned from Papua by Jakarta, however close monitoring of the situation is occurring through international media in conjunction with citizen media sources.

The Australian Government, while deepening ties with the Indonesian military despite widespread international condemnation of it’s human rights abuses, claimed to West Papua Media that Australia and Indonesia regularly exchange views on the situation in Papua.  According to a spokesperson for the Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd, “The Australian Government closely follows developments in the Papuan provinces … and encourages all concerned to act with restraint”.  No mention was made of the need for Indonesian forces to allow peaceful political expression to occur without escalation.

West Papua Media will be monitoring this developing situation closely, and encourages other journalists to maintain close contact with us.