Tag Archives: human rights abuses

Paniai torture victim Yulianus Yeimo beaten, murdered

by John NR Gobai

(with additional reporting from WPM stringers in Paniai)

January 31, 2014


“Tolong…, Tolong…, Tolong.., “Naitai Ugatame wae…, itoo ko anii bokaga noo… “

(‘Help….Help….Help… Father God my Creator, at this moment I have died.” In the local Mee language)

Yulianus Yeimo after his beating  in November 2012 (Photo: WPM sources)
Yulianus Yeimo after his beating in November 2012 (Photo: WPM sources)

This scream to God for help in a state of great pain was uttered by Yulianus Yeimo, aged 45 years old, an ex primary school teacher who suffered mental illness towards the end of his life.  In 2008 Yulianus had  completed education at a higher level for teachers at the ISSP Institute in Enarotali, Paniai, obtaining a degree in Social Sciences.

The most saddening incident of violence against Yulianus occurred on 18 August 2012  at around 0900 hours. For 3 years since 2009 until that date, Yulianus Yeimo had always worn the old faded and shabby police uniform left by his late father together with matching shoes. Each morning he had climbed the hill of Bobaigo then when he reached the top of the hill he would take his position before the white and red Indonesian flag that flew (which at that time was flown by the Indonesian military at that location). He would spontaneously show respect to the flag and then take it down. Yulianus had become a little mentally disturbed and he acted each morning in this routine as if he was a member of the Indonesian Police force. His father before him had been a police officer under the Dutch so Yulianus remembered the ways of his father.

That day the flag that was in his hand and became into three pieces. One part was tied around his left arm, one part to his right arm and the third part around his head. After he descended from the hill he walked towards the town of Enarotali until the place where three roads meet leading to Kogekotu.  When he passed there in the direction of PLTD Enarotali, a group of immigrants approached him and immediately launched an attack on him punching him in the face.  Once knocked down he was kicked again and again in the chest. His head was beaten using an iron bar and a stick.  Collapsed on the ground his face and chest were trampled on again and again. Blood flowed from his face and nose.

“Tolong…, Tolong…, Tolong…, “Naitai Ugatame wae…, itoo ko anii bokaga noo…,”  he called out to God in the local Mee language.

His screams of pain were not enough to move the hearts of the group of immigrants wearing ordinary civilian clothes who attacked him. Bruised all over, he was then beaten yet again by the group. This time with a rifle butt so that it broke his nose. A lot of blood came from his nose so that blood was all over his body. He screamed out pleading for help,  moaning in pain and sobbing then cried:

 “Tolong……, Tolong…….Tolong………

“Naitai Ugatame wae……….itoo ko anii bokaga noo………”

He was dragged a few meters then forced to stand but fell, then was dragged again. His head and body were beaten again with the iron bar. He was forced to stand but fell again and was dragged again until the asphalt road. Then at approximately 100 metres from the kiosks on the corner of the airfield at the front of PLN Enarotali, his body was left sprawled on the ground unconscious. Not long after he was dumped a Police patrol vehicle from East Paniai came and took him to the East Paniai police station for security reasons. After he had regained consciousness he was sent home.

(Author’s Note : We acknowledge that for a person of normal mental health an incident of tearing the national flag would be an insult to the State, but for a person who had not been mentally well since 2009 does such punishment make any sense?)

It is suspected that Indonesian military (TNI) and police had been carrying out retaliation at that time against the Paniai community, with the result  that even a person who was mentally unwell had become a victim of their aggression. It is suspected that the TNI were supicious that Yulianus Yeimo was not in fact mentally unstable.

On 25 January 2014 at 0700 hours Yulianus Yeimo was found dead at the Boutai River at the village of Dagouto in East Paniai, with injuries on his nose, chest and face and with impressions in a number of places on his body.

According to Yulianus Yeimo’s family it was four days before his body was found.  He had not been seen for that period. He was suspected to have become a victim of violence of an unidentified assailant and that the violent act had been committed on the shores of the river then the victim’s body thrown into the Boutai River.

Our analysis of his death is as follows :

1)    That Yulianus Yeimo became the victim of violence of unidentified person / persons on the banks of the river, then his body was thrown into the river so that it would be concluded that Yulianus died from drowning.

 2)    It is suspected that Yulianus Yeimo was killed by either a ‘silent operation’ or alternatively was a victim of retaliation.

We (The Traditional Customary Council Paniai )demand the following:

1)       That the Head of Police in Papua and the Commander of XVI Bumi Cendrawasih immediately give instructions to the Head of Police in Paniai to carry out an exhaustive investigation into who was responsible for the violence against the late Yulianus Yeimo.

2)       That the Head of Papuan Police and the Commander of XVII Bumi Cendrawasih immediately cease all military operations including road patrols in Paniai as the area is not a security risk and is controllable without those forces.  We acknowledge that it may be a work task of the Forces however at times the Forces fail to become aware which circumstances present  security situations and risk becoming unstable.

3)       We request that the Commander of XVII Bumi Cendrawasih withdraw all military personnel, both regular and additional forces now in Paniai, including Kopassus, Paskhas and National Intelligence personnel. Furthermore that the Head of Police in Papua withdraw its members from the gold prospecting area of Paniai as their presence only creates mistrust between the forces and the community.

John NR Gobai is the Chairperson of the Traditional Customary Council Paniai and a long time human rights investigator.

Activists threatened with twenty years jail for organising a nonviolent march about media freedom in West Papua

by Alex Rayfield

28 September 2012

Two West Papuan activists currently in police detention in Yapen Island in West Papua are being threatened with twenty years jail by the Indonesian police for organising a nonviolent march in support of the United Nations International Day of Indigenous People which this year celebrated the role of indigenous media.

Edison Kendi (37 years) and Yan Piet Maniamboy (35 years) from the pro-independence group West Papua National Authority were arrested by Indonesian police on 9August 2012.

The activists were leading a march of approximately 350 people in support of the International Day for Indigenous People. Police used force to break up the march. According to witnesses they beat up several Papuans and repeatedly discharged their weapons into the air. Sixteen people were arrested at the scene and a laptop, hard disk, modem, digital camera, documents and three Morning Star flags were later seized by police.

Banner at freedom of expression rally rejecting Indonesian rule in Papua on the International Day for Indigenous People. Photo via Alex Rayfield from West Papua Media stringers in Yapen.

Those arrested were subsequently released except for Edison Kendi and Yan Piet Maniamboy who remained in police custody. A local stringer told West Papua Media and New Matilda that Indonesian police investigators Sudjadi Waluyo and Arip Marinto have charged the two men with rebellion (makar) under section 155 of the Indonesian Criminal Code. Both defendants have been told that the police will seek jail sentences of 20 years each.

The controversial charge of makar has come under intense criticism from Papuan lawyers Yan Christian Warinusy from the Legal Aid Institute in Manokwari and Gustaf Kawer and Olga Hamadi from the Commission for the Disappeared (Kontras Papua). The lawyer argues that the charge of makar has been used as a tool of political repression to deny nonviolent activists their right to free speech. The law actually dates back to Dutch times and was used extensively by the former dictator to repress dissent in Indonesia. Suharto was overthrown by a nonviolent student movement in May 1998 but the law has remained on the statute books. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have also called for the makar provisions to be struck from the criminal code and all political pisoners in Papua to be released.

The WPNA march was organised to commemorate the International Day of Indigenous Peoples. Ironically the United Nations theme for this year was to celebrate indigenous media. Yapen is extremely isolated. International media is banned in West Papua and local media is censored. So the very fact that story got out in the first place is testimony to the growing power and skill of indigenous media activists in West Papua.

Kendi and Maniamboy told New Matilda and West Papua Media by text message from their jail cell that they want the international community to help them. “We don’t want Autonomy or to remain with Indonesia. We want to be free! Don’t continue to let us be killed and thrown in jails” they said. WPNA media activist and Governor of Jayapura (under WPNA’s parallel political structure), Marthen Manggaprouw said his organisation wants the Indonesian government to negotiate with the independence movement to resolve the conflict. “The basic rights of indigenous Papuans are not respected in West Papua. There is no democratic space for us Papuans. We are criminalised simply for expressing our opinion” said Manggaprouw.

The men number amongst some 100 West Papuan political prisoners currently languishing in Indonesian jails. Although the Indonesian constitution technically guarantees freedom of speech in reality basic rights are routinely denied to the indigenous Papuan population. Papuans calling for genuine political freedoms are vigorously repressed by Indonesian police and military.

This is the original article to one which appeared in New Matilda

IHRC Media Release: Indonesia Human Rights Committee applauds NZ Superannuation Fund decision to divest from Freeport McMoran on ethical grounds

Indonesia Human Rights Committee,

 26 September 2012

IHRC is delighted that the NZ Superannuation Fund has decided to pull its investments from the Freeport McMoran mining giant. (NZ Superannuation Fund Media Release 26 September, 2012. )

‘We have been campaigning for the Superannuation Fund and other Crown Financial Institutes to divest from Freeport for six years and we know the news will be welcomed the West Papuan people who have been campaigning about the mine’s impact on their communities for decades.’

‘The Norwegian Pension Fund divested from Freeport several years ago on environmental grounds, but the NZ Superannuation Fund has stated that the breaches of human rights by the security forces were the critical factor in their decision making. So this is an advance.’

‘We intend to call to the Super Fund Offices in Auckland on Friday to make a personal acknowledgement of this important step.’

Freeport has been directly or indirectly responsible for gross human rights abuses in West Papua since it was first granted a highly favourable contract to exploit gold and copper in the days of the Suharto dictatorship.  These abuses include torture, illegal detentions, and killings.   These days the area close to mine is no-go area and an area where the Indonesian security forces rule the roost.   Shooting deaths are regular occurrence on the access road and last October police killed a miner and injured several others who were carrying out a lawful strike.

According to Rev Socrates Yoman a leading human rights advocate Freeport is like an ATM for the security forces – when there is conflict they can be sure of money.

The mine has destroyed a mountain considered sacred by the indigenous Amungme people and displaced thousands, destroying their forest-based subsistence lifestyle in the process.  Local people live below the poverty line- only Jakarta and the mining magnates get the wealth from the enormously profitable mining enterprise.

Freeport uses a system for disposing of the mine waste tailings in the river system -outlawed almost everywhere else in the world.   Over 200, 000 tonnes of waste a day are deposited in the river leading to the creation of vast dead zone where nothing grows.

For further information; Maire Leadbeater; 09-815-9000 or 0274-436-957

A history of violence at Indonesia mine/AJE

Rio Tinto has cosy ties with the Indonesian military, who have a long history of human rights abuses.
Freeport’s James Moffett has said ‘there is no alternative’ to the company’s reliance on the Indonesian military [EPA]

Investing in conflict-affected and high-risk areas is a growing concern for responsible businesses and investors. Companies based in developed countries often operate in lesser-developed foreign markets, where governance standards are lax, corruption is high and business practices are poor.

These pieces focus on one specific Anglo-Australian company and their American partner that jointly operate a mine in West Papua, one of the poorest provinces of Indonesia. The risks for the company include the potential to contribute to environmental and social damage in a foreign market. The risks for investors include financing a company that does not get its risk management right.

This is the third chapter of a four-part essay that examines how the Norwegian Pension Fund came to blacklist the mining giant Rio Tinto. The first part can be found here, and the second part can be found here.

In February 1995, Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto announced three deals that secured access into Grasberg, a massive gold and copper mine in the Indonesian province of West Papua.

First, Rio Tinto agreed to invest $500m of new capital in Arizona-based mining corporation Freeport for a 12 per cent stake in the US business. Second, Rio Tinto agreed to finance a $184m expansion of the Grasberg mine. In return, it received 40 per cent of post-1995 production revenue that exceeded certain output targets and, from 2021, a 40 per cent stake in all production. Finally, Rio Tinto would receive 40 per cent of all production from new excavations elsewhere within West Papua.

Rio Tinto was effectively doing business with Indonesian dictator Suharto, too.

In response, Freeport told shareholders that Rio Tinto would “contribute substantial operating and management expertise” through proportional representation on the board – as well as on various Grasberg operating and technical committees, from which the “policies established by the [board] will be implemented and operation will be conducted”.

Speaking of the “exceptional potential” of the deal, Rio Tinto’s then chief executive, Robert Wilson, agreed that“given [Rio Tinto’s] experience in other major open-pit copper ore bodies such as Bingham Canyon, Palabora and Escondida, we anticipate considerable mutual benefit”.

Rio Tinto obviously liked how Freeport-Indonesia did business, especially at Grasberg.

US government: Grasberg contravenes the Foreign Assistance Act

By October 1995, an independent US government agency had cancelled Freeport’s international political risk insurance. The insurer, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), specifically cited the Grasberg mine operation as contravening the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, which required that “overseas investment projects do not pose unreasonable or major environmental hazards or cause the degradation of tropical forests”. Freeport was the first policyholder to be terminated by the OPIC for ethical violations, despite President Suharto and Freeport director Henry Kissinger heavily lobbying the US government to reinstate the policy. Following OPIC’s decision, the company did not disclose the environmental performance of the mine again until 2003 – it no longer had to.

For a brief time in 2000 and 2001, a particularly sympathetic Indonesian environment minister, Sonny Keraf, pursued numerous avenues to impose penalties and fines on Grasberg, including an unsuccessful attempt to invoke the criminal section of the 1997 Environmental Law to cease Freeport-Indonesia’s riverine method of tailings disposal, by which the corporation fed the mine’s waste product into nearby rivers. Under pressure for his pursuit of the part-Indonesian-owned Freeport, Keraf was replaced following the 2001 election.

As Suharto’s reign came to an end, an increasing number of West Papuans also began to campaign against the environmental and social impact of Grasberg. Papuan leaders brought the matter before the US Federal District Court in April 1996 and before the Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights of the US House of Representatives in May 1999. Many more attempts, including one to address shareholders at Rio Tinto’s 1998 annual general meeting in London, were foiled by Indonesian authorities.

Building on restrictions introduced in 1991, the US government banned arms transfers to Indonesia for widespread human rights violations in East Timor in 1999. Consequently, Freeport’s payments to the Indonesian military and security forces were more closely scrutinised. The Wall Street Journal found that, between 1991 and 1997, Freeport guaranteed more than $500m in loans so that Suharto’s family and allies could purchase a stake in the mine – a great portion of which was written off by Freeport in 2003.

An outspoken Australian academic, Lesley McCulloch, also found that the 1996 Timika riots adjacent to the Grasberg mine led to a spike in monetary demands by the Indonesian military, resulting in the funding of a $35m army base. Freeport and Rio Tinto refused to disclose details of the payments.

A history of violence

Then in August 2002, two US teachers and an Indonesian employee of Freeport-Indonesia were murdered at the Grasberg mine complex. Following one rebel’s admission that he was a business partner of the Indonesian military, several New York City pension (superannuation) funds formally requested that Freeport disclose the nature of its Indonesian “security” payments. The shareholders were concerned that such payments violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Although Freeport was not required to put the proposal to shareholders, the company did begin to disclose its security-related payments. Filings with the US Securities and Exchange Commission since 2001 have confirmed annual payments reaching an average $5m each year for government-provided security of the Grasberg complex and its staff – and fluctuating annual costs reaching $12m for unarmed, in-house security costs. A spokesman for the company later told the Jakarta Post that these payments had been taking place since the 1970s.

Sporadic accounts began to surface – in the Sydney Morning HeraldJakarta Post, and New York Times – quoting internal sources that confirmed that the Indonesian had masterminded the killings to extort monies from the Grasberg operators. “Not surprisingly, the Indonesian military has exonerated itself,” US Congressmen Joel Hefley and Tom Tancredo said in June 2003. “American investigative teams, including the FBI, have not been able to complete their investigations mainly due to the Indonesian military’s refusal to co-operate and tampering of evidence.”

Freeport remained steadfastly opposed to later demands by New York City pension fund investors to cease all payments to the Indonesians until they complied with official US investigations into the August 2002 murders. At the 2004 annual general meeting, president and chief executive Richard Adkerson advised shareholders: “The management and Board believe that the stockholder proposal mischaracterises the company’s relationships with Indonesian security institutions and suggests actions that would undermine the company’s relationship with the Indonesian government and the security of the company’s operations.”

Despite the ongoing human rights and corruption concerns in West Papua – including a report by the World Bank and a letter by US senators to then UN Secretary General Kofi Annan calling for the appointment of a special representative to Indonesia – after a vote by shareholders, the resolution was not passed.

On March 23, 2004, Rio Tinto announced it had sold its 11.9 per cent shareholding in Freeport. Rio Tinto made a $518m profit. Citing no environmental or social reasons, Rio Tinto’s then-chief executive Leigh Clifford reassured shareholders that “the sale of [Freeport] does not affect the terms of the joint venture nor the management of the Grasberg mine” and that through “our significant direct interest in Grasberg, we will continue to benefit from our relationship with Freeport”.

Rio Tinto remained committed to the mining of Grasberg and would continue overseeing its management through various operating and technical committees.

Sensational claims that illegal payments to individual soldiers, units, and policemen had been routinely made to secure the Grasberg complex and its staff came to light in 2005. A report by Global Witness revealed that an additional $10m had been paid directly to individual military and police commanders between 1998 and 2004. This included $247,000 between May 2001 and March 2003 to General Mahidin Simbolon, former head of the 1999 East Timor massacre, and monthly payments throughout 2003 to the police Mobile Brigade – a group cited by the US State Department as having “continued to commit numerous serious human rights violations, including extrajudicial killings, torture, rape, and arbitrary detention”.

With the US arms trade embargo still in place, Rio Tinto had reassured the market that payments to the Indonesian military were “legally required and legitimate” only months before the news broke. Now Rio Tinto and Freeport-Indonesia came under even greater public pressure. At Rio Tinto’s next shareholder meeting, after several West Papuans refugees made statements to the board on Grasberg, shareholder activist Stephen Mayne suggested that “the most appropriate thing for Rio Tinto to do would be to exit”. After confirming that Rio Tinto’s contractual obligations would permit such a move, then-chairman Sir Rod Eddington informed shareholders that they “make a considerable effort to ensure that the best that Rio Tinto can offer to Freeport in the management of that venture is available to them”.

An Indonesian ministerial decree in 2007 demanded that the security of “vital national objects” – such as Grasberg – be handed over to the police within six months. Evidence obtained by world news service AFP suggests this is not happening. In a filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Freeport disclosed additional direct payments of “less than” $1.6m in 2008 to 1,850 soldiers, despite the fact that 447 policemen make up the official number of personnel responsible for security at the Grasberg complex.


The company’s 2008 Sustainable Development report confirms that Freeport-Indonesia makes contributions to “security institutions (including both police and military)”. Alarmingly, according to Amnesty International, as recently as 2008 there have been fundamental human rights violations such as the “torture, excessive use of force and unlawful killings by police and security forces” – reports that have subsequently been confirmed by the UN Special Representative of the Secretary General on Human Rights Defenders and the United Nations Committee against Torture.

“There is no alternative to our reliance on the Indonesian military and police,” Freeport chairman James Moffett said to the New York Times in 2005. “The need for this security, the support provided for such security, and the procedures governing such support, as well as decisions regarding our relationships with the Indonesian government and its security institutions, are ordinary business activities.”

Part 4 to follow next week.

This is an extract of a chapter from the book, Evolutions in Sustainable Investing: Strategies, Funds and Thought Leadership, to be published by Wiley in December 2011.

NAJ Taylor is a PhD candidate in the School of Political Science and International Studies at the University of Queensland, and casual lecturer in the Faculty of Law and Management at La Trobe University.

Follow NAJ Taylor on Twitter: @najtaylordotcom

LP3BH Report on Manokwari Shooting Incident

Institute of Research, Analysis and Development for Legal Aid

Jl. Gunung Salju No. 18 Fanindi (Bengkel Tan) – Manokwari, 98312
Telp/Fax : (0986) 213160; Po.Box.128 Manokwari, 98301

Report on Manokwari Shooting Incident

As a result of the gun fires shootings that were conducted by Police’s
Mobile Brigade (Brimob) Compy 3 Detachment C Manokwari, on 15 September
2010, Wednesday, 8pm (local West Papua time), at least 2 civilians died
and one woman got serious injuries with broken leg, broken pelvic bone,
and broken jaws. The incident took place in Esau Sesa Street, South
Manokwari, West Papua Province.

According to the local (witness), before the shooting incident happened
there was a traffic accident in Esau Sesa Street, a woman called
Antomina Kowi/Mandacan was hit by a motorcycle (a hired motorbike) at
around 6.30pm. The victim suffered a broken right tight bone, serious
pain on pelvic bone, and broken ribs. The motor cycle was in a high
speed from the direction of Manokwari town towards Arfai district South
of Manokwari. Post-incident, the victim’s family chased the motor’s
driver but he headed to Brimob’s headquarters. The family could not find
the driver they went back and took the victim to Manokwari Public
hospital for medical treatment.
After the incident, the residents were looking for the driver, and one
of the Brimob personnel came alone toward the mob, according to the
witness instead of calming down the people, he created tension. He was
then injured by the angry mob using the machete. Being injured the
Brimob member ran back to his HQ and contacted other Brimob members.
At around 8pm, around a dozen Brimob personnel with fully equipments
went to the crowded people and started shooting brutally against those
civilians, most of the children and adults went hide into the jungle to
avoid the angry Brimob members who seizing the area.
At around 8.20pm, the electricity went off in the whole regency for
about 10-15minutes. A resident who was in Manokwari Public hospital
said, “when the power supply went down totally, there was a car came to
the hospital and drop something, and they took it to the emergency room,
all windows and door were locked by the medical workers, only one
spotlight that lighted up inside the room.
Minutes later, it was heard that there was a death body inside the
emergency room in that hospital. Since the night time to the morning,
Thursday 16 September 2010, there was no relative of the death person
came to the hospital. Around 9am, some of the families came to the
hospital stayed outside the morgue. The dead body then was known as
Naftali Kwan the priest of GPKAI (Christian Fellowship Bible Church of
Indonesia) in Manokwari hinterland.
Around 09.30, the locals found another dead body on the edge of abyss.
The victim was known as Septinus Kwan, male, about 30years old, farmer.
In the same time, another victim a woman was called Arfonika Kwan was
found dying in critical condition in the abyss. She is the wife of the
dead victim Naftali Kwan. The victim was rushed to the public hospital,
she suffered of broken leg, broken jaws, broken pelvic bone. According
to a local, the victim was trying to avoid the angry Brimob and fell
down into the abyss.
At around 10.30am, there was a mass paraded and carried the dead body of
Septinus Kwan toward Manokwari Regent’s office. The mass have 3 demands:
First, Rp30millions compensation to the victims’ families, second that
all Brimob [the National Police’s Mobile Brigade] officers be pulled out
of Manokwari. Third, the land used to built the Brimob’s HQ will be
drawn back as the property of the indigenous people.
Thursday 11am, Manokwari ton became tense, all shops, office buildings,
schools and markets closed. The road was so quite only the sound of
machine guns were heard and a rumor was spread throughout sms/mobile
phones among the residents that there will be a nigh attack, but it was
not existed.

Information and Documention
Simon LP3BH Manokwari

(Translated by Paula Makabory)

Copy of report with pictures is available at