Tag Archives: human rights

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]


Papuan serving 20 years dies in prison

via Tapol
December 12, 2012
The following information has been received from a reliable source in Papua:This is to inform everyone who struggles consistently about the problem of human rights in the Land of Papua that one of the Papuan political prisoners, Kanius Murib, died on 10 December. He died at his family home in Hokilik Village, district of Wamena, Papua.

He had been suffering from 2010 up until December 2011. The prison authorities reached an agreement with his family that, in accordance with the family’s wishes, he would be able to stay with the family so as to ensure that he died surrounded by his family because of his physical condition as well as the fact that he had become mentally unstable.

1. Kanius Murib was serving a sentence of twenty years.

2. The government paid little attention to his state of health and just allowed his condition to linger on.

3. None of his children have been able to go to school.

The way he was treated is extremely unjust. This is the way all Papuans are being treated. The Indonesian government has ignored the recommendations made during the Universal Period Review, while the Co-ordinator Minister for Politics and Human Rights said while on a visit to Papua in 2012 that there are no political prisoners in Papua.


Indonesian government to act on Papuan political prisoners

via Tapol
5 Dec 2012
Indonesian government to act on Papuan political prisoners
By: KBR68H, translated by TAPOL

Names of 23 Papuan political prisoners submitted to Komnas HAM

3 December 2001

Solidarity for Humanitarian and Human Rights Violations has submitted information regarding 23 political prisoners to Komnas HAM (the National Human Rights Commission).

Earlier, Komnas HAM planned to set up a team to resolve the cases of political detainees and convicted political prisoners in Papua. The spokesman for SKP Papua, Mathius Murib, said that information regarding the prisoners, including their arrest, the time they have spent in custody and their conditions in prison was submitted. He said that in many cases, there was no legal basis for their being charged for treason and that their imprisonment was in violation of their human rights

“We have supplied data relating to a number of prisoners being held in prisons in Papua. Detailing how many prisoners there are and for how many years they have been held. Altogether, we have submitted such information regarding 23 political prisoners. We greatly appreciate this support and the action.”

Earlier on, Komnas HAM planned to set up a team to resolve the cases of political detainees and convicted political prisoners in Papua. The purpose was to review the status of those being held in prison. This would include considering a reduction in the length of their sentences.

To read the article in Indonesian on the KBR68H website, click here.

Komnas HAM is seeking Clemency for Papuan Political Prisoners

4 December 2012

Komnas HAM, the National Human Rights Commission intends to struggle to ensure that all political detainees and convicted political prisoners in Papua are granted clemency or a reduction in sentence.

The chairman of Monitoring and Investigating Human Rights Violations, Natalius Pigai, said that Komnas HAM plans to set up a special team next January to identify the cases of political detainees and convicted political prisoners in Papua, together with the Ministry of Law and Human Rights.

“This special team will also be entrusted with the task of granting clemency or reduction of sentences for political detainees and convicted political prisoners in Papua. We will be undertaking this in collaboration with the Ministry of Law and Human Rights,” said Natalius.

He went on to say that this special team would do everything possible to improve the general environment and facilities in all the prisons in Papua. This will include ensuring that every tapol/napol receives whatever healthcare is required.

To read the article in Indonesian on the KBR68H website, click here.

Law and Human Rights Ministry to check status of around 20 Papuan political prisoners

4 December 2012

The Ministry of Law and Human Rights plans to check the status of around twenty political prisoners in Papua. This decision follows their intention to resolve the cases of political detainees and convicted political prisoners.

A spokesman of the Ministry of Law and Human Rights, Martua Batubara, said that those who are serving sentences will be given remissions (a reduction of sentence) in accordance with the law.

As for the Komnas HAM, it can only make recommendations.

“We intend to check in the prisons as well as to check with the Ministry of Law and Human Rights to find out which prisoners are serving sentences and which are prisoners whose cases are still being processed. We don’t know which prisoners they are talking about (gap with question mark perhaps indicating something that is illegible) or whether it is true that Komnas HAM  only has the authority to investigate and then make recommendations to the authorities in charge of the prisoners.”

Previously, Solidarity for Humanitarian and Human Rights Violations in Papua submitted information about 23 political prisoners to Komnas HAM. This was done to complete the information available to Komnas HAM, following a plan to set up a team to resolve the cases of political detainees and convicted political prisoners in Papua. The purpose is for there to be a review of the status of all those who are currently being held in detention. This would also include seeking a reduction in the sentences now being served by all those who are currently being held in prison in Papua.

To read the article in Indonesian on the KBR68H website, click here.



16 November 2012

Keerom, – It was early and the streets were not too crowded  when I started my journey from Abepura, Kota Baru District at 6.30 a.m. (Papuan time) to Arso, in Keerom which is a drive of about two hours and a half by two wheeler.

After arriving in Arso, I went on to the village of Kwor and arrived at about 9:16 a.m., and from the village of Kwor I continued the journey towards the bivouacs of the internally displaced people (IDPs) who had run into the forests, out of fear for their lives.

During the six-hour drive through the gardens, rivers and forest, I arrived at the bivouacs of the IDPs: the 38 people were scattered in four different bivouacs; they came from three villages, namely, Sawyatami (11 IDPs), Workwana (9 IDPs) and of PIR III Bagia (18 IDPs).

The group of IDPs who settled in the bivouacs in the middle of the forest, is composed of 20 men and 18 women. Among the IDPs, there are seven (7) children under the age of five (toddlers).  In addition to parents and toddlers, there are 15 students consisting of eight (8) elementary school students, four (4) junior high school students and three (3) high school students. These students have not attended school for the last five months.

In the camps, the IDPs could rely only on food collected from around the bivouacs likesago, sago worms, wood worms and wild boar. “We have stayed out here in the forest for five months, and in order to survive, the only thing we could eat were sago worms and wood worms and the only thing we could drink was water from the creek,” said LK (68yr), a traditional leaders who is also on the run.

The condition of the refugees is very deplorable: there are two pregnant women, namely the two-month pregnant Rosalina Minigir (36 yr), and the four-month pregnant Agustina Bagiasi (35 yr). Another woman, Aleda Kwambre (28 yr) gave birth to a baby girl at the shelter camp. At the present, two babies were found to be in very poor health conditions: Penina Pekikir (3 yr) and Ruth Kimber (1 yr), and if the situation persists they could turn critical.

“I am afraid of Kopassus [the Indonesian special forces]. I saw how they came with their guns, entered into the village of PIR III and started shooting. So I was afraid of going to school,” said CK (17) who ran away and stopped attending school because he did not feel safe anymore, after all the acts intimidation by the security forces.

NY (8yr) expressed the same fear as CK, as she says with a timid voice:”It’s been a long time since I attended school, I was afraid when I saw the soldiers flying over the village with their helicopters.”

MT (38yr) also expressed disappointment with the local government of the Keerom District, as it was unable to ensure safety and security for the indigenous Papuans in Keerom. “I am angry because these high officials, local government officials, regents, scholars, community leaders, traditional leaders and religious leaders,  do not care about us in this forest. I was scared when I saw these police officers, they went into the villages and they just started shooting. I was afraid so I had to run into the forest” she said, sobbing.

The refugees expressed the hope that ELSHAM Papua would return with international human rights institutions to mediate their return to their respective villages. “Christmas is near; we were not able to gather money for the celebrations. These children have not attended school for five months. So we really hope that ELSHAM can help us so we can return to our village,” said FK (50yr), filled with hope.

As reported earlier by ELSHAM, the 38 locals had fled from the three villages because they were afraid of ongoing sweeping operations conducted by the joint Indonesian military and police forces in Keerom, since the shooting of Yohanes Yanuprom, the head of the village of Sawyatami on 1 July 2012.

Up to the date of this report, the IDPs remain in the forest without proper food and adequate medicine.

Elsham News Service


KontraS reports on continuing deaths and injuries in Papua

29 October 2012
KontraS, the Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence has drawn the conclusion that from January to October this year, 107 people have been injured  as a result of acts of violence.The commission also stated that as many as 81 acts of violence occurred in Papua.Thirty-one of these people died as a result of their injuries. A spokesperson for KontraS, Sri, said that KontraS believes that since January this year, scores of acts of violence have engulfed Papua.

In a press release issued on 26 October, she said that at least thirty-one  people had died and 107 people had been injured.

This press release was issued in Jakarta together with several other NGOs, including NAPAS, BUK and YAPHAM. The NGOs were keen to draw attention to the current situation in Papua  which is becoming increasingly tense.

KontraS believes that there are serious restrictions to democracy in Papua .

‘It is a serious challenge for civil society to criticise the policy being pursued by the government,’ said KontraS

A Papuan activist n Jakarta, Martin Goo said that the continuing suppression of democracy in Papua has triggered a number of conflicts in Papua. There has also been an intensification of acts of terrorism which, he said, were being perpetrated by  certain groups who are against the people’s struggle for justice,

[Translated by TAPOL]