Tag Archives: Franciscans International

Ban Ki-Moon gets “diplomatic answers” from SBY over Papua

Ban Ki-moon waves to protestors for West Papua, PIF NZ Sept 2011

by John Pakage for West Papua Media

Opinion

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon held a bilateral meeting at the presidential palace in Bogor, West Java, on Tuesday (20/03/2012). In the meeting, human rights abuses in Papua were also discussed.

 UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon certainly knows in detail about the development of human rights abuses in Papua because he sought a diplomatic answer from the President of Indonesia.

 “Papua is Indonesia and we are obliged to maintain its security, but if there are violations of human rights then there is law enforcement action,” said SBY.

 Of course with this kind of diplomatic answer, SBY wants to hide the number of cases of gross human rights that have occurred, and are continuing to occur now in Papua.  Only at few days before the arrival of Ban Ki-Moon to Indonesia, Forkorus Yoboisembut, Gladius Waromi Edison, Augustine M. Sananay Kraar, Selpius Bobii and Dominic Sorabut were sentenced 3 years in prison on Friday (16/3) with charges of treason for forming the state of West Papua.

 The implementation of the Third Papuan People’s Congress went ahead with official permission from the Indonesian government, both from the central government and the police to hold a congress in Jayapura.   But Indonesia’s military attacked and captured civilians at the Congress without first showing any arrest warrant, in accordance with Indonesian regulation.

 Again and again, military and police forces shot live ammunition at civilians at the Congress, inconsistent with legal process, in stark contrast with Yudhoyono’s promises to Ban Ki-Moon at the Bogor Palace.

The multitude of human rights abuses in Papua, which is tightly closed by state policy that prohibits foreign media and international NGOs from entering Papua,  gave rise to human rights lawyer Jennifer Robinson (lawyer for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange) calling on new Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr, to immediately urge Indonesia to open Papua up, and allow incoming international NGOs into Papua to conduct human rights investigations independently (see Radio Australia, March 20, 2012).

Indonesia’s policy to cover up human rights abuses in Papua has been harshly rebuked by Human Rights institutions around the world; (see for instance a press release by Franciscans International, TAPOL, the Asian Human Rights Commission, Faith Based Network on West Papua (FBN) and West Papua Network.)

Legal rights agencies lament the unjust decision facing the five civilians who were detained while organising the Papuan Congress, sentenced to three years in prison.   According to these institutions, the Congress was a form of free expression and a fundamental tenet of democracy for communicating opinions.

In addition, humanitarian agencies deplore the attitude of the Indonesian military who with full weaponry arsenal stormed and attacked the Congress participants. This Indonesian Military attack and killed several Papuan civilians. (See: Franciscans International, Release March 16, 2012.)

 Ban Ki-Moon is certainly more aware now of what has happened in Papua since 1969 when Indonesia invaded Papua.   So SBY’s diplomatic answer  of  “SBY diplomacy” might make the number one person in the world confused.

Ban Ki-Moon also mentioned that South Sudan is an example of an area of extended conflict that has embraced the process of ending its fighting.  The UN successfully held a referendum for citizens to determine their aspirations – and they chose independence from the Sudan.

Of course the conditions of ongoing human rights abuses in Papua, covered up by the state policy of denying access to foreign media and international NGOs to Papua, could by its very nature invite a humanitarian intervention to end the conflict in Papua, with (or without) the Indonesian government.

FORKORUS’ AND FOUR OTHERS’ SENTENCE VIOLATES HUMAN RIGHTS LAW

Joint Press release from TAPOL, the Asian Human Rights Commission, the Faith-Based Network on West Papua, Franciscans International, and the West Papua Netzwerk

FORKORUS’ AND FOUR OTHERS’ SENTENCE VIOLATES HUMAN RIGHTS LAW

16 March 2012 – The Jayapura state court today found five Papuan leaders guilty of treason, sentencing them each to three years imprisonment. TAPOL, the Asian Human Rights Commission, the Faith-Based Network on West Papua, Franciscans International, and the West Papua Netzwerk seriously regret the verdict and question the fairness of the trial proceedings. The verdict is another example of the severe restrictions by the Indonesian authorities on the right to freedom of expression of the Papuans. We call upon Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to order that all convictions which do not reflect international legal standards be overturned and the prisoners be immediately released.

Today’s verdict represents a setback in the relationship between Jakarta and Papua, suggesting that Indonesian authorities still see arrest and detention as the best ways to respond to expressions of Papuan aspirations. As a country widely applauded for its burgeoning democracy, Indonesia should be promoting peaceful political activity, not punishing it.

Forkorus Yaboisembut, Edison Waromi, Selpius Bobii, Dominikus Surabut and August Kraar were arrested in October 2011 for their roles in the Third Papuan People’s Congress, a peaceful gathering at which the leaders declared that Papua has been independent since 1961. As the gathering began to disperse, security forces fired shots into the crowd and carried out mass arrests and beatings. Three people were shot dead.

While the leaders of the Congress now face three years in jail for their peaceful actions, those responsible for the violent response to the Congress received a slap on the wrist, and investigations to determine who was responsible for the killings have led to neither justice nor accountability.

The five men were convicted of treason under Article 106 of the Indonesian Criminal Code. While the treason laws are intended to prosecute serious crimes against the state, alleged members of the armed resistance are rarely if ever brought to trial in Papuan courts; they are beaten, tortured or shot. Article 106 is instead used to charge those engaged in peaceful actions such as raising the Papuan national ‘Morning Star’ flag or organising and attending public events at which Papua rights and aspirations are asserted.

The denial made by the Coordinating Minister for Law and Human Rights of any political prisoners this month shows a lack of commitment to uphold human rights norms that are applicable to Indonesia according to international law, including that the peaceful expression of political opinions cannot be persecuted.

There are serious doubts about the fairness of the trial proceedings. Armed members of the security forces maintained a heavy presence during the trial sessions, and one of the senior lawyers for the defence, Gustav Kawer, is being threatened with prosecution, in violation of his right under Indonesian law and international standards to carry out his professional duties in defending clients in court. There have also been questions about the independence of the judges, who were reportedly visited by senior military, police and government officials just one hour before the trial began.

According to TAPOL’s data, the five men will join at least 27 other Papuan political prisoners currently in jail for treason under article 106. All those detained for peaceful political activities should be immediately and unconditionally released.

ENDS

Contacts:

Paul Barber, TAPOL, +44 7747 301 739

New Report Reveals Extent of Papua Human Rights Violations

Press Release from Tapol, Franciscans International, Asian Human Rights Commission and Faith Based Network on West Papua (FBN)


NGOs meet in Geneva to address their concerns on the situation of Human Rights in Papua

Geneva, 3 November 2011

 Following last month’s violent dispersal by Indonesian security forces of the Third Papuan Peoples’ Congress in Jayapura, Indonesia has been confronted with the full scale of human rights problems in Papua by the new Report ‘Human Rights in Papua 2010/2011’.[1] This was launched yesterday in Geneva, by the Faith Based Network on West Papua (FBN), Franciscans International (FI), and the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC).

The Report portrays the bleak reality of the abuse of civil and political rights, as well as economic, social and cultural rights in Papua in 2010 and 2011. The aim of the Report is to raise awareness of the human rights situation in Papua and to create in Papua a ‘land of peace’.

More specifically, the Report draws attention to the hardship faced by national and international civil society as well as by local human rights defenders who are too often victims of intimidation, harassment and arbitrary detention on the charge of makar (treason) while exercising their right to freedom of expression in their struggle for justice and accountability. The Report further denounces the policy of the Government of Indonesia aimed at discrediting, limiting and jeopardizing the work of international human rights organizations working in Papua, including denied access to international media through the manipulation of bureaucracy. As a result, certain international organizations are directly or indirectly forced to withdraw from the country, as was the case of the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) and Peace Brigades International (PBI).

With a view to presenting the Report and raising awareness on the recent tragic events, Franciscans International organised a round table discussion. This was attended by representatives of the Faith Based Network on West Papua, Geneva for Human Rights, Human Rights Watch, Papua Peace Network (JDP -Jaringan Damai Papua), Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders TAPOL, World Organization Against Torture (OMCT), and the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Indonesia to the United Nations.

In response to the numerous issues and concerns raised during the discussion, the representative of the Permanent Mission of Indonesia made an official statement asserting that “human rights protection is a national priority”. Despite the appreciation for the participation of the Permanent Mission of Indonesia, this statement was visibly met with strong disagreement by NGOs. They attested that “Political statements are not enough to address human rights violations in Papua, since – the reality is -a climate of fear prevails in Papua”.

The NGOs present concluded by calling upon the Government of Indonesia to: Immediately release all political prisoners; Immediately cease intimidation, harassment and physical violence against human rights defenders, journalists, and religious leaders in Papua; to criminalise torture and ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture; ratify the International Convention on Enforced Disappearances; and to Start a genuine dialogue with national and international civil society.

For more information on the report Human Rights in Papua 2010/2011, please contact:

Kristina Neubaeur –Faith Based Network on West Papua, Coordinator

Francesca Restifo – Franciscans International, International Advocacy Director

Paul Barber – TAPOL, Coordinator: +44 7747 301 739; paul.barber@tapol.org

Wong Kai Shing – Asian Human Rights Commission, Executive Director

1] Available at http://tapol.gn.apc.org/press/files/Human-Rights-in-Papua_Report-2010-2011.pdf