Tag Archives: Illegitimate MRP

MRP dualism threatens the existence of the Papuan people

Bintang Papua, 23 June 2011

Pastor Jonga: ‘MRP has now become a mechanism for the government’s splitting tactics.’

The controversy about the setting up of an MRP for West Papua had
continued to rumble on and is likely to last for a long time. There are
people who now claim that having two MRPs will threaten the existence
of the indigenous Papuan people.

This was the theme of a seminar held by the Students Executive Council
(BEM) on Wednesday this week.

The controversy emerged when the governor of West Papua, acting on
behalf of the Minister of the Interior, announced the creation of the
West Papua MRP. The seminar was held at the auditorium of the
Cenderawasih University, and was attended by about a hundred people.The
main speakers were Fadhal Alhamid of the Papuan Customary Council (DAP)
and Pastor Jong Jonga, representing the religious community The
moderator was Laus Rumayon.

Fadhal Alhamid said that the danger posed by MRP dualism was that the
standard set for basic human rights of Papuans living in the province
of West Papua would be different from those set in the province of
Papua. In addition, the creation of the West Papua MRP was to promote
certain vested interests, part of a conspiracy between the governor and
the vice-governor of West Papua. ‘The MRP reached an agreement
regarding cultural and economic unity.But if there are now two MRPs,
there is the danger that this unity will disappear.’

He also said that responsibility for creating the second MRP rests with
the MRP itself. ‘We should raise the question of whether they were the
ones responsible for creating the second MRP.’

He also drew attention to the position of people in the leaderhip of
the Papua MRP and the West Papua MRP. ‘The fact that Ibu Dorkas is the
chairman of the Papua MRP and is also the vice-chairman of the West
Papua MRP has led to a great deal of confusion.

The other speaker, Pastor Jong Jonga, dealt more specifically with his
own experiences with congregations living in the district of Keerom. ‘In
my opinion, special autonomy (OTSUS) has failed to provide protection,
tranquillity and security indigenous because its benefits are only
being enjoyed by people living in the vicinity of the district capital.
‘These were precisely the regions where the percentage of indigenous
Papuans is very low as compared to the percentage of newcomers or
migrants.’ What they were hoping for, he said, was that the MRP which
had been intended as a unifying body would now become a means for
splitting the Papuan people.’

During questions and answers that followed the speeches, the students
focused primarily on OTSUS. Many said that OTSUS had become nothing
more than a mechanism to prolong the sufferings of the Papuan people.
OTSUS has become the long arm of the central government. ‘What was
needed now,’ the one questioner said, ‘was for the DPRP to take action
to disband the West Papua MRP.’ Many in the audience shared these views.

West Papua Report June 2011

West Papua Report
June 2011

This is the 86th in a series of monthly reports that focus on developments affecting Papuans. This series is produced by the non-profit West Papua Advocacy Team (WPAT) drawing on media accounts, other NGO assessments, and analysis and reporting from sources within West Papua. This report is co-published with the East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN). Back issues are posted online at http://etan.org/issues/wpapua/default.htm Questions regarding this report can be addressed to Edmund McWilliams at edmcw@msn.com. If you wish to receive the report via e-mail, send a note to etan@etan.org.

Summary

The daughter of prominent Papuan political prisoner Filep Karma has written about the failure of justice in West Papua. In spite of democratic progress in much of Indonesia, she notes that “the old regime dies hard in West Papua.” Amnesty International‘s annual report on human rights trends in Indonesia documents continued human rights abuse, notably in West Papua, where AI cites the poor performance of security forces. The failure of the Indonesian government to afford justice in a number of outstanding cases of security force abuse in West Papua is exemplified in a recent case in which a civilian was killed by security forces who deny responsibility. The Indonesian government’s intervention to prevent an elected member of the Papuan Peoples Council from taking her seat is only the latest example of discrimination against Papuan women. The Indonesian military appears to be reassuming a major role in providing security for the Freeport mining complex. HIV/AIDS infections in West Papua continue to rise dramatically with the Freeport mine complex town of Mimika recording the largest increase. Observers continue to comment on the failure of “special autonomy” in West Papua.

Contents:

Daughter of A Papuan Political Prisoner Calls for Justice in West Papua

Audryne Karma, daughter of Filep Karma,  one of West Papua’s most prominent political prisoners, published a May 23 opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal.

Ms .Karma, while praising the democratic advances under President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono throughout much of Indonesia, observed that for West Papuans “the old regime dies hard. Indonesia has yet to realize the promise of democracy and human rights for all of its citizens,” she writes. After ten years of failed “special autonomy” policies, Ms. Karma writes that West Papuans were “systematically persecuted” as they sought to call attention to special autonomy’s “broken promises.”

The piece by Ms. Karma, boldly and articulately explains that in West Papua, those members of the security forces who commit torture targeting innocent Papuan civilians receive the lightest of sentences (if prosecuted at all) while Papuans who engage in peaceful protest demanding their human rights are locked up for years.

She persuasively describes the case of her own father, Filep Karma, who is serving a 15 year sentence for his peaceful protest. She describes how a notoriously biased judge sentenced her father to three times the sentence recommended by prosecutors and that his Christian faith was openly mocked in the courtroom. During his imprisonment he has suffered repeatedly at the hands of his jailers, denied urgent medical care and punished for his efforts to mediate a dispute within the prison where he is incarcerated.

Ms. Karma notes that her father is one of at least 130 political prisoners who suffer torture and other abuses within a penal system strongly criticized by UN and other international observers.

In a an affront to justice, Ms. Karma writes that in 2007, Indonesia’s Supreme Court struck down the sedition provisions of the Indonesian Criminal Code under which her father and many other political prisoners were prosecuted. None of the political prisoners convicted under these overturned provisions has been released.

Recalling President Obama’s November 2010 visit to Indonesia and his appeal that “every child born in this country be treated equally, whether they come from Java or Aceh; Bali or Papua,” Ms. Karma hopes that the international community would hold President Yudhoyono to this standard. “The Indonesian government cannot be an exemplar of democracy, human rights and the rule of law while it persecutes those who peacefully insist that it live up to those very aspirations.”

(Note: also see Pacific Scoop’s May 5, 2011, “Jailed Leader Filep Karma And The Fight For Papua’s Future.” a detailed and compelling analysis by renowned scholar Dr. Richard Chauvel of Victoria University in Australia.)

Amnesty International Calls Attention to Continuing Violations of Rights in Indonesia

In its annual report for 2011, released in May, Amnesty International issued a broad condemnation regarding the performance of Indonesian security forces and of the Indonesian judicial system, singling out for particular criticism their role in West Papua and Maluku:

“The security forces tortured and otherwise ill-treated detainees, and used excessive force against protesters, sometimes leading to death. No adequate accountability mechanisms were in place to ensure justice or act as an effective deterrent against police abuses. The criminal justice system remained unable to address ongoing impunity for current and past human rights violations. Restrictions on freedom of expression were severe in areas such as Papua and Maluku.”

Security forces “tortured and otherwise ill-treated detainees, particularly criminal suspects from poor and marginalized communities, and those suspected of pro-independence activities in Papua and Maluku provinces.”

Two videos which emerged during 2010 revealed “members of the police and military torturing and otherwise ill-treating Papuan men. The first video
showed Yawan Wayeni, a Papuan political activist, just before his death in August 2009.” Amnesty International observed that despite severe abdominal injuries, Wayeni “was denied medical assistance by the police.” The second video “showed Papuans being kicked and otherwise physically abused by members of the Indonesian military, and two Papuan men being tortured during interrogation.” The AI report noted also that “Indonesian officials confirmed the authenticity of both videos.”

The AI writes that “freedom of expression continued to be suppressed.” For example, Ardiansyah Matra, a journalist covering corruption and illegal logging in Papua, was found dead in the province in July. “At least 100 political activists were in prison for peacefully expressing their views in areas seeking independence such as Maluku and Papua.” AI calls attention also the case of Filep Karma (see above).

AI reports that “Impunity for past gross human rights violations in Aceh, Papua, Timor-Leste and elsewhere continued… Most past human rights violations against human rights defenders, including torture, murder and enforced disappearances, remained unsolved and those responsible were not brought to justice.

Failure of Justice in West Papua: A Continuing Saga

The Papuan Customary Council, DAP, expressed its disappointment with the rule of law in West Papua, including the number of cases in Papua that have not been solved, according to a May 14 report in Jubi, translated by Tapol.

DAP’s Forkorus Yaboisembut expressed disappointment that “the shooting of Opinus Tabuni on August 9, 2009 on International Indigenous People’s Day in Wamena has not yet been solved.’

Yaboisembut explained that “incidents like this result in the marginalization of the Papuans. They are being exterminated in their own homeland.’

The same Jubi article reports that Markus Haluk, the secretary-general of the Association of Students of the Central Highlands, complained that “a huge number of cases in Papua have remained unsolved. He mentions the Wasior case (2001), the Biak case (1998) and the Abepura case (2000).

These complaints about fractured justice in West Papua were made as yet another case of a Papuan killed by security forces was surfacing. According to a May 18 Jakarta Post report, a dispute involving members of the Indonesian military (TNI) allegedly led to the death of Papuan Derek Adii, 26, from Manokwari regency.

The article cites a news release by the synod of the Papuan KINGMI church which “said the incident erupted as a passenger ferry was about to leave the Samubase Port in Nabire.”

The synod report claimed that Adii called on soldiers blocking access to the ferry to make way after some children had reportedly fallen and been trampled by other passengers. The offended soldiers, who were part of the Nabire Military Command, then assaulted him. “One of the soldiers, Chief Sergeant Hans Aru, drew his bayonet and stabbed Derek in the eye and he died. His body was later thrown overboard,” according to the synod.

When asked for confirmation, the Jakarta Post wrote that Nabire Military commander Lt. Col. Tatang Suyatna denied the reports. “It’s slander,” Tatang said, who claimed that the soldiers were securing the ferry while it was docking when the incident took place. He alledged that the victim was fighting with other passengers who had accused him of stealing and the victim turned on the soldiers as they separated the fight and fell to the sea by accident. The commander did allow that the victim “could have been injured when he was falling overboard.”

A conflicting military account alleged that the victim was drunk.

WPAT Comment: The failure of Indonesian authorities to pursue justice in instances when Indonesian security forces kill or maim Papuans is common place as noted by Yaboisembut and Haluk. The May 18 incident offers an illustrative example of security force impunity in matters where death and injury to Papuans transpires.

Indonesian State Interference in Papuan Woman Leader’s Election to the MRP Underscores Discrimination Against Women

A May 23 Bintang Papua report, translated by TAPOL, notes that representatives of number of women’s organizations in Papua demonstrated peacefully to protest Indonesian government blocking of the swearing in of Hana Hikoyabi to her seat in the Papuan Peoples Council, the Majelis Rakyat Papua (MRP).

The women complained that no legal justification for Hikoyabi’s suspension had been given. They demanded transparency regarding the government’s action and insisted that the selection of the chairperson of the new MRP should not take place until there were clarity about the membership of all its 75 members. The demonstrator met with the acting-chair of the MRP, Joram Wambrauw, who said that he lacked the power to take a decision on this matter but promised to pass the women’s concerns to the governor of Papua.

Separately, in a May 10 interview with the Jakarta Post, Papua Human Rights Working Network coordinator Fien Yarangga observed that the barring of Hikoyabi from the MRP was an example of Jakarta’s intimidation targeting Papuans. The Indonesian government “frequently intimidates Papua in the name of the unity and integrity of the Republic of Indonesia, even though such a stance creates a culture of fear among Papuan officials with strategic positions in regional administrations,” she says.

Fien made the remarks at a press conference in connection with the government’s rejection of Hikoyabi as a member of the Papuan People’s Assembly (MRP) for the 2011-2016 term. Fien added that “a culture of intimidation has curtailed the development of democratization in Papua.” Fien cited the Home Minister’s refusal to accept Hikoyabi as a member of the MRP after she was declared not loyal to the state ideology Pancasila and the 1945 Constitution, even though Hana had met all the requirements for the position. “There was no legal basis for this. It is more political intimidation and character assassination against Hana and even against all the Papuan people who selected Hana,” she said. Fien added that “the way taken by the Home Minister was also aimed at curbing critical Papuan women in defending their own people.

Writing in the May 1 Bintang Papua, Hikoyabi called her rejection “unlawful.”

“This places me in the difficult position of having been responsible for an act of treason – makar – whereas at the time that I nominated myself for member of the MRP from 2011 – 2016, I received an official confirmation from the local police and from the local court of law that I am well-behaved and have never been found guilty of anything or convicted of anything.”

Indonesian Military To Provide Security For Papua’s Freeport Mine

In a May 13 report published by national daily Republika, TNI Commander Suhartono told reporters that security at the massive Freeport copper and gold mine in West Papua would become a collaborative effort involving the military and police. He told the media that “TNI continues to support Polri in providing security at the vital installation, PT Freeport Indonesia.” Suhartono comments came following a meeting between TNI and police personnel in Timika, the major town in West Papua nearest the mining complex.

A separate report by Antara says that President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has asked the Indonesian military and police to give security guarantee to businesses and investments in Papua as part of efforts to accelerate economic development. A presidential spokesman said that the President had listened to the views of PT Freeport Indonesia regarding security, suggesting that PT Freeport welcomed and may have sought the joint TNI-police security arrangement.

The expanded military role in securing Freeport comes in the wake of repeated violence. Freeport security personnel Daniel Mansawan and Hari Siregar were killed on the key mountain road to the mine site in early April. That attack followed by only a few days an unsuccessful attack on Freeport personnel and a January 2010 attack on a convoy that injured nine. Local authorities report no progress in apprehending the perpetrators.

The killing of Mansawan in particular has raised concerns among Papuans. Mansawan was one of the few Papuans to reach a senior position on Freeport’s staff. The failure of security forces and Freeport to pursue his killers aggressively has been the source of protest by local Papuans.

WPAT Comment: In the recent past, the Indonesian police had been assigned the role of protecting PT Freeport with the option of seeking TNI assistance as conditions warranted. This new arrangement, which comes on the heels of renewed violence targeting Freeport personnel in the past two months would appear to restore the TNI security role of previous years when the TNI had come under strong criticism over what many saw as extortion of PT Freeport with cash flowing from Freeport to senior TNI personnel.

HIV/AIDS Infections Rise Sharply in Papua with Area Near Freeport Leading The Trend

A May 6 report in Banjir Ambarita says that the number of people living with HIV/AIDS in Papua and West Papua has risen more than 30 percent to over 17,000 in just four months as compared to 13,000 in August of 2010.

Kostan Karma, head of the Papua AIDS Prevention Commission (KPA), told the media “that the spike in infections was very worrying, and blamed it on the prevalence of unprotected sex.” He said that if the number of people living with the virus rose to one percent of the population of both provinces — which the 2010 census put at 2.8 million — the KPA would begin imposing mandatory testing for all new mothers in the region. He explained that this would at least help identify infected newborns, who could then get early treatment.

Kostan said that Mimika, adjacent to the PT Freeport copper and gold mining complex had shown the highest increase and overall number of infections.

The Papua AIDS Prevention Commission blamed the proliferation of new districts over the past 10 years as a factor for the spread of the virus.

“What’s happened is that there’s been more money spreading around, which encourages people to break with the traditional way of life and adopt a more modern lifestyle, including sexual promiscuity,” Kostan said. “What we’re trying to do is get churches to spread the message to get people to stop having casual sex, or if they must, to at least use a condom.”

WPAT Comment: Single male workers recruited by Freeport from outside West Papua to work at the mining complex have long fueled prostitution, gambling and alcohol and drug abuse in Mimika. This illicit activity operates under the protection of security forces in the area.

More Observers Comment on The Failure of Special Autonomy

An article in the May 15 issue of Jubi underscores the continuing unhappiness of Papuans with the “special autonomy” law (OTSUS). Olga Helena Hamadi, Director of the Commission for Disappearances and the Victims of Violence (KontraS) told the media that since the enactment of special autonomy, West Papua has been beset with problems. She noted that many buildings have been constructed that are of no benefit to the indigenous population, for example, the construction of commercial premises. ‘These buildings are for other people,’ (i.e., migrants) she said.

“As for the demands for permanent premises for Papuan businessmen, they are still struggling for this to happen. Their future is still very much in the air. The kind of premises they have been calling for have not been built by the government. The premises that have been built do not last long even though they have been calling for this since 2004, she said.”

OTSUS makes provision for a Commission of Truth and Reconciliation to be set up but all that has happened since OTSUS, she says, has been the creation of a National Human Rights Commission which “means that human rights violations, acts of violence and shootings are only dealt with by the Komnas HAM. The result is that many cases have got stuck, some of which got no farther than a court hearing. There has been no follow-up.”

Also, there has been no proper accounting for OTSUS funds. “There is no accountability because no procedures have been put in place,” she added,

All of this point to the failure of OTSUS.

For its part, the May 14 Jakarta Post carried a report by Nethy Dharma Somba that focused on problems with the special autonomy law. The article notes that the chairman of the special autonomy evaluation committee at the Papuan legislative council, Weynand Watori, told a forum in Jayapura that an evaluation on special autonomy implementation was needed to avoid both the failure of special autonomy and to address the continued poverty suffered by most Papuans.

He noted that special autonomy was designed to help improve education, health, economy and infrastructure for indigenous Papuans. In August 2005, Papuans held a rally at which they asserted that special had failed to bring prosperity to the people. Rallies were also held in July 2010 where protesters called on the legislative council to revoke special autonomy.

The forum agreed that an evaluation of the implementation of special autonomy was needed by involving all stakeholders with the council’s special committee as facilitator. Cenderawasih University in Jayapura and the Papua University in Manokwari, should be entrusted to prepare the right evaluation method.

Back issues of West Papua Report

http://www.etan.org/issues/wpapua/2011/1106wpap.htm

Hana Hikoyabi advised to withdraw from MRP and struggle from outside

Bintang Papua, 17 April 2011Jayapura: Now that the deadline of 14 days set for MRP member Hana Hikoyabi [to produce a clarification of her position] has passed since the swearing in of members of the new MRP, it would be better if she were to withdraw as a member of the MRP.

Political commentator Lamadi de Lamato told Bintang Papua that  she should withdraw her name as a member  rather than sit as a member of the MRP and keep having her critical remarks pounced on by the central government. According to the logic of the Indonesian state, the policies of the state must be accepted  even though they fail to take the side of the Papuan people, he said.

In his opinion, Hana should withdraw her name and wage her struggle from the outside without having to make compromises.

Many Papuans would have far greater respect for her outside the MRP than if she were a member  According to Lamadi, insisting that Hana should produce a clarification was virtually an act of terror  against an MRP member, warning her not to be critical  or consider the aspirations of the Papua people.

‘This is just like what happened under the New Order (of Suharto) and its demands for special investigations ((Litsus) towards people who were regarded as enemies of the state,’ he said.

There are many things that are going wrong in Papua; any protest  should not necessarily result in restrictions being imposed on people.

‘Hana  should not be treated like an enemy  and be forced to be loyal to whatever the state demands. Some people believe that the former chairman of the MRP Agus Alua  died because of his disagreements  with things coming from central government, but he should not be blamed for that.’

With regard to the recruitment of members of the new MRP, many people feel very disappointed. ‘The state can act as it likes, but these acts of terror should end,’ he said.

As already reported, the new MRP should have 75 members but only 73 were sworn in because two names had been struck off the list, Agus Alua and Hana Hikoyabi. It was said that if these two had delivered written statements of verification, they could both have been appointed as members of the MRP.

Interior Minister accused of exceeding his powers in excluding Hikoyabi

Bintang Papua, 14 Apil 2011
Abridged in translation by TAPOLJayapura: The statement by the interior minister, Gamawan Fauzi, that Hana S. Hikoyabi, member of the first-term MRP must deliver a clarification about her position within 14 days before being sworn in as a member of the new MRP was described  by Budi Setyanto SH as being beyond his authority and in breach of the law.

Since that person was chosen by the people, the interior minister should have sworn her in on 12 April.

If he declares that Hana does not agree with Special Autonomy (OTSUS) or with the way of recruiting of members of the MRP, this is simply a difference of opinion but the fact is that she was chosen by the Papuan people means that she clearly does not reject OTSUS because the MRP was set up because of OTSUS, and without OTSUS, there would be no MRP.

Budi said that the interior minister’s statement is against the law.

A member of the first MRP, Simon Simunapendi, said that the failure to swear in Hana Hikoyabi was because she had been told to produce a clarification with regard to the grand assembly held from 7-10 June 2010 and reveals a misunderstanding  about the role of that assembly because Law 21/2001  Article 20  makes it clear that members of the MRP must promote the aspirations of the Papuan people. Bearing in mind that these aspirations were expressed by representations of 254 ethnic groups  who had come together to express their aspirations, it meant that Agus Alue Alua and Hana Hikoyabi were duty-bound to present these aspirations to the DPRP.

They were only acting in accordance with the provisions of the MRP, expressing the wishes of 254 ethnic groups, and there was no other motive for what they did.
.
Since the news that Hana Hikoyabi had not been sworn in as a member of the MRP, no one has been able to make contact with her, including people from the media. The failure to swear her is seen as being directly connected to the many actions rejecting OTSUS that have taken place since the beginning of 2011.

The decisions taken at the grand assembly in June 2010 were not the product of the MRP and the individual members of the MRP cannot be held personally responsible for those decisions.

Central Highlands parliamentary group reject new MRP

Bintang Papua, 11 April 2011The swearing of the new MRP by the minister of the interior has been rejected by the parliamentary caucus of the Central Highlands, following the death on 7 April of Agus Alue Alua, who was the chairman of the MRP from 2005 – 2011.

Swearing in the new MRP could lead  major problems  and should be considered very carefully before going ahead, said Melkyas Gombo.

He said that the names of all the members should be made public. Papuan people knew all about the problems facing the MRP as a body concerned with  cultural affairs, so it is quite wrong to keep anything hidden from them.

‘We believe that the government is involved in some kind of  a game, and is keeping hidden the swearing in. The names of all the members should be made public,’ he said.

He said that if the government was not prepared to announce the names of all the members, then the swearing in ceremony should not take place, because they may  include people who were not chosen by the Papuan people  and would be seen by the Papuan people as people who were not likely to  speak out on behalf of the Papuan people.

He also said that the Papuan people were still in mourning the death of Agus Alua and it was not the right time for the new MRP to be sworn in.