Tag Archives: Forkorus Yaboisembut

Baptist leader calls for unconditional release of Forkorus

Bintang Papua
11 December 2012
The Indonesian government has been urged to free all political prisoners in Papua, including Forkorus Yaboisembut and Filep Karma. On the occasion of World Human Rights Day,  the human rights defender Socrates Sofyan Yoman spoke about the activities throughout 2012 of organisations such Polri (the police force), the TNI (the Indonesian military) and vicious armed civilian groups. He said 90  incidents of violence had been committed by these groups in all parts of Papua during the year so far.’As we celebrate Human Rights Day,’ he said, ‘we defenders  of human rights urge the Indonesian government to take the following actions:

‘Firstly, in accordance with its constitutional responsibility to safeguard its citizens, the government should acknowledge that the way it treats prisoners, convicts and the citizens in general is brutal, inhumane and demeaning. This includes the way it treats Papuan civil society and Papuan political prisoners. Such activities  should be prohibited, along with all practices that violate the law. Torture must be clearly identified  and criminalised. This would be seen as a concrete sign of Indonesia’s commitment to the International Covnention Against Torture which it officially ratified  by enactment of Law 5/1998

Secondly, the government should agree to adopt a policy that recognises Papuan citizens as victims. In those cases where legal processes have been resorted to, rehabilitation not imprisonment should be the method  chosen. The government should also adopt measures to  inform the general public about the many civilian victims in Papua.

His next point was to ensure that whenever the law on treason is used in a court of law, this should be non-discriminatory and concrete action should be taken to put an end to all criminal activities by the security forces, including judges, public prosecutors and all those people who are in charge of the prisons.

Furthermore,  the rights of all Papuan political prisoners must be safeguarded, including ending all illegal detentions. In cases where confessions were made under duress and without the presence of legal counsel, they should not be accepted as evidence in a court.of law.

The government should create mechanisms for people to be able to initiate charges. Such mechanisms should be available everywhere and in all places of detention and imprisonment.And in cases where charges are brought by detainees, this must be followed through by independent investigations by law-enforcement institutions as well as the National Human Rights Commission.

His next point  was to urge the National Human Rights Commision, the National Commission to End Violence Against Women and the Ombudsman  of the Indonesian Republic, to establish a mechanism  for a fully independent National Protection Unit to visit all places of detention, especially places of detention where persons charged with treason (/makar/) or other political prisoners  are being held as part of the state’s responsibility to act in accordance with the Anti-Violence Optional Convention.

The seventh point was to press the Indonesian government to enter in peaceful dialogue on the problem of Papua, mediated by a third party, one of the aims of which would to end torture and other forms of violence throughout the Land of Papua.

The eighth point was to press the Indonesian government to invite  the UN Special Rapporteur against Torture and Arbitrary Detentions to visit Papua.

The ninth point was to press the Indonesian government  to allow foreign journalists to visit Papua.

The tenth point was that the Indonesian government should accept responsibility for incidents of gross violations of human rights such as the incident in Abepura on 7 December 2000, the Wasior 2001 incident, the Wamena  2003 inicident and other incidents that have already been investigated by the  National Human Rights Commission, and to ensure that  the results of these investigations  are considered at the human rights court and dealt with in accordance with the principles of justice.

With regard to the role of the churches in Papua, it should be acknowledged that their main mission  has been paralysed by the state and governmental system in Indonesia.

Moreover, its prophetic voice is hardly ever heard in Papua, particularly since Papua was integrated into the Indonesian republic by military means and this the integration was preceded by the bloody events surrounding the Act of Free Choice, which continue to the present day.

‘The churches have forgotten or refused to recognise that Christianity arrived in Papua three centuries ago, on 5 February 1855.’

These thoughts were expressed by Socrates Sofyan Yoman during his opening address of the Congress of the Alliance of Baptist Churches in Papua at the Baptist Church in Wamena in October 2012.

He pointed out that his church  has supported the Papuan people with education, religious belief, healthcare and in the economic sphere, and has helped to improve access to the most remote areas by establishing small airfields which cater for small aircraft, with alll the risks this involves.

The church’s  missionaries live in close proximity with the Papuan people and help to foster the dignity of the Papuan people.in sharp contrast to what Indonesia has done since Papua’s integration, when it became a colonial power, a fact that is rarely criticised by the churches.

As a church leader, Yoman said that he not only studies the Bible but also learns from the history of Papua.  He has learned a great deal from this history, in particular the many untruths that have been told.  It is the role of the churches to insist on correcting these untruths, he said

Until now the churches talk about  ‘peace and well being’ but God’s people are continually  stigmatised as treasonous and accused of being part of the OPM.

As a church leader, he rejects all these allegations  and believes that Christians  must reflect of God’s will, as is stated in Genesis 1:26.  For all these reasons, he said in conclusion:

‘I will continue to speak out and will do everything I possibly can to share in the sufferings of God’s people. There is no future for Papua if it continue to remain a part of Indonesia. Papuans cannot live normal lives The churches must speak out about this and integrate themselves with those people whose very identity has been destroyed. It must speak out about  justice, equality  and the freedom  of all humankind regardless of race, ethnicity, culture or religion.

[Translated by TAPOL]


Open Letter from Forkorus in Abepura prison to PNG Prime Minister

Reprinted in full:



Prime Minister Peter O’Neill
PO Box 472
Port Moresby, NCD 121
Papua New Guinea
5 October 2012

Dear Prime Minister,

Excellency, I am writing from Abepura Prison in Jayapura on the other side of the border, to wish you well during your term as Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea.

I am writing also to thank you for your demonstration of Melanesian leadership last
week in speaking out about human rights violations in West Papua.
We West Papuans have been intimidated, tortured, raped, killed and incarcerated for
decades, since 1962 to be precise, and our suffering has been ignored by the world,
including by the Melanesian Spearhead Group and Pacific Island Forum. Your words
last week, committing to some responsibility for your brothers and sisters in West
Papua, filled our hearts and we hope will relieve us somewhat of our burden.

Excellency, security for all my people has been so much worse since our congress in October 2011, and safety levels are now so low that I feel obliged to ask you, if not beg you, to initiate a United Nations’ fact-finding mission as soon as possible.

As you would know, West Papua was a colony of the Netherlands for sixty-four
years, but was transferred to Indonesia in 1962 by way of a duplicitous treaty
engineered by Australia and the United States. (The New York Agreement was in
fact a Cold War transaction that rode over the intentions of the South Pacific
Commission to develop our independence program). As a consequence of Indonesian
governance, which has been deplorable across all measurable sectors, we Melanesian
West Papuans now constitute 48.73% of the population, down from 96.09% fifty year
ago, with more than half-a-million (546,126) missing.

Excellency, during the 3rd Papuan Congress in October 2011, five thousand registered participants mandated the Federated Republic of West Papua to deliver independence, and as part of our liberation win back the western border of Melanesia.

I believe Papua New Guinea under your leadership is in a strong position to help
deliver the political change we need if we are to survive. Your voice, as kin and as
neighbour, will be listened to in the Melanesian Spearhead Group, in the Pacific
Islands Forum, the Africa Caribbean Pacific Committee, and also the United Nations.
I sincerely hope Prime Minister that you are willing to take some responsibility for
ending this occupation so that we in West Papua can take our rightful position
alongside the other Melanesia nation-states.

Yours sincerely,

Forkorus Yaboisembut, SPd
President, Federated Republic of West Papua

Abepura Prison


Children pray for release of Forkorus and his co-defendants

Forkorus Yaboisembut outside court. Photo: West Papua Media
JUBI, 9 May 2012Dozens of children  from the KINGMI Church in Waena held joint prayers on Wednesday this week, praying for the release of Forkorus Yaboisembut and his four colleagues.  They were intending to hold the joint prayers in the grounds of their school in Abepura but because the building was undergoing restoration, the prayers were said at the church.

JUBI journalist said that the children were very enthusiastic about the event  and had made posters about the many social and political issues in Papua.that have overwhelmed the Papuan people.

Adolof Tenouye, who led the prayers said  that they were all very concerned about the numerous problems in Papua, such as human rights violations, as well as economic and cultural problems.They said prayers for the restoration of their country in the hope that it could emerge from its present problems

One of the banners which they unfurled said: ‘We love my father, the President of West Papua.’ As is known, Forkorus Yaboisembut is the president of the Federal Republic of West Papua which was proclaimed on 19 October 2011, at the end of the Papuan People’s Congress. Forkorus and his co-defendants were found guilty of treason and were convicted to three years each.

The other four men are: Edison Waromi, Selpius Bobii, Dominikus Sorabat and Agust Makbrawen who are all in custody in Abepura Prison.

Selpius Bobii disappeared briefly by prison authorities objecting to music rehersal

May 3, 2012

by West Papua Media sub-editors*

As preparations were underway for mass non-violent demonstrations across West Papua on Monday, 30 April, an incident occurred simultaneously inside Abepura prison between prison guards and inmates. Local stringers informed West Papua Media that Selpius Bobii, one of the ‘Jayapura Five’ political prisoners (and organisers of the Third Papuan People’s Congress) had a verbal confrontation with a prison officer during lunch time, after prison officials refused his permission for a music rehearsal.

“The incident occurs between prisoners and prison officers April 30th, 2012”, said Gustaf Kawer, legal representative of  the ‘Jayapura Five’  political prisoners.

A simple misunderstanding escalated into armed prison security forces sweeping and raiding inmates’ cells on Monday evening.  West Papua Media was notified through local stringers on Tuesday that around 10pm, Monday, West Papuan local time, Selpius Bobii was taken out from his cell and taken away. Simultaneously, sweeping was carried out inside the prison that left several inmates bruised and beaten, and all inmates locked down indefinitely in isolation in their cells.

The West Papua Media team made direct contact on Tuesday night to the ironically named Head of Abepura Prison, Liberty Sutinja.  Mr. Sutinjah said he “was not at liberty to speak over the phone due to (prison) protocol.”

West Papua Media rang Mr Sutinja again today, Thursday, 03 May 2012, around 11am local time but he refused to speak and switch off his mobile phone after the third attempt.

Mr. Kawer further mentioned that as of Monday, from May 1 to 7, 2012, visits and access to prisoners – including Mr. Yaboisembut and Mr. Waromi – from families, clergy and lawyers are effectively closed.

Kawar urgently calls for the Regional Office and Human Rights Office of Papua Province to open up access to the detainees in accordance with applicable laws and regulations. The regulations regarding visits outlines the terms and procedure guaranteed for prisoners rights to have access and visits whilst in prison.

Article 1, paragraph 32/1999 states that, “every prisoners and juveniles are entitled to receive visits from family, legal counsel or other or appointed person”.

Since Tuesday, unconfirmed reports sent to West Papua Media via SMS are stating that Selpius Bobii was believed to be transferred to Polda Papua – Papua Regional Police prison.

As this article went to press, information was provided by credible legal sources to West Papua Media that Selpius Bobii will be taken back to Abepura prison tomorrow, Friday, 04 May, 2012. According to the source, activities should be back to normal and prison visits from families are reinstated as of 3 May 2012.


*West Papua Media’s Editor is away recovering from serious health issues.

Beata Yaboisembut Akim: The woman who accompanies the ‘President’

Suara Perempuan Papua, 25 March – 7 April 2012

[Translation by TAPOL]


Surrendering their lives to God, they remain calm when they face trouble

It was during the week of Christ’s sufferings that Forkorus Yaboisembut was found guilty of treason and sentenced to three years imprisonment. His wife, Beata Yaboisembut was at his side throughout the trial. Dressed in dark brown trousers and a blouse, she sat in the courtroom, calmly following the proceedings. She accepted the result with a feeling of relief.

‘Bapak was always telling us to keep calm. We should not feel troubled and feel grateful that our children are already grown up and can understand what is going on. And please remember that this is the week of suffering and we must all think about the sufferings of our Lord.

Lord Jesus suffered much more than this for our sins. And you must be willing to accept my sentence, said Forkorus’. As a mother and as his wife, she expressed her belief in him.

She first met her husband when they were studying together at the Taruna Bakhti Waene College. They were among the first generation of students at the college and graduated in 1975.After graduating, they were both sent to isolated places in West Papua. Mama Beata was sent to Wamena and Forkorus was sent to Sarmi. In 1976, they decided to get married in Jayapura and after getting married, they each returned to their jobs. Mama Beata was given a job at the Oksibil YPPK primary school and worked there for three years.  She was then sent to Sobron, after the kampung where she was working was attacked.

After her husband became active in the Papuan Customary Council (DAP), Mama Beata saw this as a huge responsibility that was to be borne by him.’Bapak is an Ondoafi, part of our tradition and enjoying the trust of the people. He is greatly respected and loved by the people, just like us, his wife and our children.’

He was the third of six siblings. His two brothers are not with him in Sobron. Forkorus also has two younger brothers and a sister who all live in Nabire.

After being elected as the Chairman of DAP, Beata realised that he no longer belonged just to her but belonged to all the Papuan people. ‘This is why Bapak has always told his children to stand on their own feet.’

As his wife, she realised that his election as the chairman of DAP would have many consequences for herself and for their children which is why he has always stressed the importance of their living their own lives independently.

Fortunately, only two of their children are still studying at Cenderawasih University while their oldest daughter is an expert in civil technology, and the sons have completed their studies in architecture. ‘The youngest is now at sixth grade while his older brother should have graduated last month on 15 March. But never mind, as Bapak is now on trial, his needs are our priority.’ Her daughter’s husband has to rely on the wage he earns as a teacher. As for her own husband, he has not been earning anything since last year.

‘I was not there to see Bapak when he was arrested because I had just returned from Sobron.’  She was preparing food for the [Third Papuan People’s] Congress but before anyone could start eating, the security forces destroyed everything that they had prepared.

When she and the other women heard gunshots and saw tear gas bombs exploding, they ran to the mountains around the Zakeus Field. ‘People can be arrested at any time and I was told never to get worried. On that day,’ she said ‘I tried to keep calm and to find my way home to Bapak so that I could be together with him at all of the court hearings while keeping calm.’

‘Forkorus has always told our children to focus on their education and not to follow him on his chosen path. But the children are always deeply concerned about what is happening to him and they always accompany me when I visit him in prison. I know that they readily accept what is happening to their father. Maybe this is the path chosen by our Lord for this country of ours,’ she said.

During the trial, Bapak stayed overnight at the lodgings of their daughter who lives in Waena. It is a small room, 3 x 4 meters, where the three of them slept. Their home in the kampung is being looked after by Mama. The youngest daughter frequently goes back and forth to visit their grandmother. Because their home in Sobron is 80 kilometres from Abepura, Mama decided to stay with her daughter so that it would be easier for her to visit her husband.

She said that during the time she has been attending the court hearings, neither she nor the children have experienced any terror or intimidation. ‘And Bapak is always telling us to keep calm.’

She visits her husband three times a week, on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. ‘We are only given 15 minutes to sit together, side by side.

That is quite enough for me,’ she says, ‘because I know that the Lord is there with him.’

She is still busy teaching grade 1 and 2 children at the primary school in Sobron. When she visits her husband, she takes him food and clean clothes. ‘As he is not alone in the prison, I always take food for the other prisoners as well.’

She says that her husband is not fussy about the food she brings, as long as she cooks it. She takes him porridge, vegetables and fish and on special occasions, she cooks him some meat. Ever since he has been in prison, Forkorus has never asked her to bring anything. ‘In fact, when I meet him, he always has a present for me, as well as giving me his dirty clothes to be washed,’ she said, with a laugh.

She can also visit him on Sundays but only to take part in a service together. She is not allowed to take anything except a Bible. They have services twice a day, once in the morning at 8am for the Protestants and once in the evening for the Catholics.

Mama always arrives at 7am to say prayers together with her husband.

Sometimes he asks her to stay for another prayer, after her visit to him has ended. so that she too can receive the body and blood of the Lord, Jesus Christ during the Holy Eucharist as she has continued to be a Catholic.

Mama Beata is the third of six brothers and sisters from Kampung Yuruf Keerom where the majority of the people are Catholics. In December, she will be 59 years old. Because of unsatisfactory conditions in the kampung, the people have been forced to move frequently. Only one of her sisters is still living in Yuruf while one of her brothers died in Vanimo. The two other brothers are living in Vanimo.

‘Prayer is the source of our strength. Everything we achieve, all our happiness and sadness  are part of our lives and my family leaves everything to the one who gives life, to the Lord God Creator of all,’ she said, when she was asked what her future plans for her family were.

This is the first in a series of articles by Suara Perempuan Papua commissioned by TAPOL on the impact of the Papua conflict on women