West Papua: How to lose a country

November 23, 2011

by Jason Macleod

with This Blog Harms at Crikey

When Julia Gillard meet Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhuyono in Bali on the weekend West Papua barely got a mention. Although the text messages inside West Papua went into overdrive with the rumour that the reason Australia and the United States were stationing 2,500 U.S Marines in Darwin was to prepare for military intervention in West Papua.

I told my friends in West Papua it wasn’t true.

But then I got thinking. Actually Australia is doing a lot to help Indonesia loosen their grip on the troubled territory. Not by design of course. But the effect is much the same as if the Government suddenly adopted a radical pro-independence policy.

Confused? Let me explain.

Last month the Indonesian police and military fired live rounds into an unarmed crowd of civilians in West Papua, killing five. The Army and Police then tried to make out that it wasn’t them, that what had taken place was a coup by the Papuan Liberation Army; that it was the Papuans who were doing the shooting. Yudhuyono tried to sell Obama and Gillard a version of that story in Bali on the weekend. That might have washed twenty years ago but in this age of social media and smart phones it is much more difficult to hide the evidence.

Since the killing of five Papuans on October 19, the wounding of scores more and the arrest of six Papuan leaders, international media coverage of West Papua has spiked and Indonesia’s international standing has taken a beating. The Army, Police and President’s denials and attempts at cover-up have not helped the government’s reputation.

The killings have also generated outrage and division within Indonesia. And October 19 was not an isolated incident. A series of shocking acts of torture of Papuans by the Indonesian military have been captured on video and recently released. And when I speak of outrage I am not talking about protests from human rights groups. National legislators from a range of Indonesian political parties have begun to publicly criticise the Indonesian military, police and even the President over the government’s policy, or lack of it, in West Papua. Even the cautious Indonesian Bishop’s Conference urged Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhuyono to hold a third party mediated dialogue without delay.

Indonesian critics recognise that the political crisis in West Papua is spiralling out of control and that the central government and the security forces are making things worse. Indonesian journalist Bramantyo Prijosusilo writing in the Jakarta Globe went as far as saying that the “powerful forces bent on forcing Papuans to separate from Indonesia are none other than the central government, especially its military and police force.”

He has a point. West Papua teeters on the brink of open rebellion. After the shooting on October 19 one student previously uninvolved with politics told me “if the police and military thought they could shoot us dead like animals and we would somehow stop pressing for freedom, they are wrong. We don’t care about the military; we don’t care about the police. We are not afraid anymore.” Days later he was on the streets along with 3,000 other Papuans calling for a referendum.

This is not just about political insurrection. The economy is on the brink as well.

Consider the massive Freeport/Rio Tinto gold and copper mine. Eight thousand mine workers there have been on strike since July. Freeport’s pipeline has been cut in more than 20 places, the company has been unable to deliver on its contracts, the local government in Mimika which depends on revenue from the mine to supply services is cash strapped, and Freeport itself is losing billions.

That could mean Australian jobs are affected. Over 800 Australian companies supply the mine through Cairns and Darwin. The Australian owned company International Purveying Incorporated sends everything from Toyota’s, heavy mining equipment, and frozen beef dinners to Freeport every few days.

How long shareholders and investors will put up with heavy loses and adverse economic risk is any ones guess. But it won’t be forever. And it is not just Freeport / Rio Tinto that is in the firing line. BP, Clive Palmer’s nickel businesses in Raja Ampat, and logging interests are all the target of a torrent of anger from landowners. CEOs like Palmer and Freeport’s Bob Moffet may not ask the Indonesian government to negotiate with Papuans demanding political freedoms but sooner or later shareholders and investors will demand just that.

So how is the Australian government responding to these shifting power dynamics? Well that is the problem. They are not. The government’s position is the same as it has always been: continued support for the Indonesian military / police unhinged from any tangible improvements in human rights such as guarantees of free speech, release of political prisoners or moves towards supporting political dialogue.

No matter what side of the political fence you sit this is not smart policy.

For years Papuans have been telling our leaders that Special Autonomy had failed, that the Freeport mine was a source of conflict, and that the military and police were killing them. Just in case we were not paying attention they described the situation as “slow motion genocide”.

So for those realists out there who think an independent West Papua would be a mistake, here’s some free policy advice: stop funding the armed group splitting Indonesia apart.

Giving a blank cheque to the Indonesian military while there is continued suppression of political freedoms in West Papua is the surest way for Australia to help Indonesia lose a country.

It seems the Australian government might be eager to usher in freedom in West Papua after all.


Reportage of Obama and Gillard discussions on Papua at ASEAN, Bali

FYI -Media information only

Note: these items contain Contradictory reporting. Independent media is banned by Indonesia from attending  gatherings like ASEAN in Bali, and therefore West Papua Media cannot independently verify claims made by corporate mainstream media or US/Indo or Australian government activists as being factual and reflective of what was discussed during the summit.

1) Yudhoyono quizzes Gillard on US marines
2) Obama, Gillard assure SBY on Darwin plan, Papua
3) Indonesian president defends military in Papua
1) Yudhoyono quizzes Gillard on US marines

Daniel Flitton and Tom Allard, Nusa Dua, Indonesia

November 20, 2011

INDONESIA’S President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono quizzed Julia Gillard and Barack Obama over the new American ”base” in northern Australia but was assured that it posed no threat to Indonesia’s territorial integrity.

Dr Yudhoyono wrapped up the East Asia Summit last night and hailed the talks – which for the first time included the US and Russia along with regional giants China, India, and Japan – for tackling sensitive issues.

He told reporters last night that a joint Australia-Indonesia plan presented to the gathering for improving disaster readiness in the region had called for rapid deployment of emergency workers to save lives.

Asked if this would include a role for the 2500 US marines to be eventually stationed near Darwin, he said he would welcome the idea.

President Obama had raised the US presence in Australia during talks yesterday and said it would not unsettle the region, Dr Yudhoyono said.

Prime Minister Gillard also sought out Dr Yudhoyono to discuss the role of the American troops ahead of a formal meeting today.

”I’m happy they explained it to me personally,” the Indonesian leader said. ”On the establishment of that military base, it is not expected to change anything, it is not expected to distract or disturb neighbours … she [Ms Gillard] gave her guarantee.”

Indonesia has historically been highly sensitive to outside interference, and some Indonesian nationalists hold lingering suspicion about Australia after it led the peacekeeping mission to East Timor.

Indonesian military commander Agus Suhartono had also raised concerns that the training arrangement could result in Indonesia being dragged into a dispute involving the South China Sea.

Dr Yudhoyono said he had asked Mr Obama and Ms Gillard about their policy towards Indonesia in light of the new military arrangements and was happy to be told Australia and the US supported Indonesia’s territorial integrity.

Mr Obama also raised with Dr Yudhoyono the vexed issue of the restive region of West Papua, where there have been killings of independence activists in recent months and persistent allegations of human rights abuses by security forces.

Dr Yudhoyono said he told the US leader that Indonesian forces were conducting legitimate operations against an ”insurgency” and that Indonesian forces came under attack from separatists.

”If there are members who have violated the laws, gross violations of human rights, then they will go before the law,” he said.

”I told him personally, there is no impunity, no immunity.”

The Indonesian leader added that Mr Obama told him ”explicitly” that he respected Indonesia’s sovereignty over the territory, which was incorporated into Indonesia after a highly contested referendum in 1969 when 1025 hand-picked West Papuan delegates unanimously endorsed integration.
2) Obama, Gillard assure SBY on Darwin plan, Papua
Esther Samboh and Abdul Khalik, The Jakarta Post, Nusa Dua, Bali | Sun,

East Asian Summit (EAS) leaders wrapped up their meetings here on Saturday, with ASEAN member nations trying their best to remain united, despite conflicting interests between the US and China, both of which, in different ways, have reportedly threatened to divide the 10-member regional grouping.

There have been concerns that different stances on crucial issues, such as tensions in the South China Sea and the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact, which some say have essentially divided the world into two sides — the US and China — would disrupt ASEAN’s ambitions towards forming an integrated and secure political, economic and socio-cultural community.

The US plan for a military base in Darwin, a city only 850-kilometers from Indonesia, has raised concerns from some ASEAN members, but perhaps most especially from China.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono dismissed such concerns.

“Countries have economic interests or other interests — any country has its own national interests. But when we unite into a regional grouping, there are common interests,” Yudhoyono told a press briefing after the three-day ASEAN and East Asia Summit in Bali on Saturday.

“Whenever there are respective interests, we ensure that with this association we build a common interest pattern, instead of having a common platform or common interest. ASEAN could still maintain its centrality and we will play roles in the region’s cooperation.”

The planned military base in Darwin has raised fear it may spark new tension in the ASEAN territory.

Yudhoyono said Obama and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard have “guaranteed” there are “no intentions” to disrupt neighboring countries. “Presumption and prejudice could disintegrate us all in the region,” Gillard said.

The EAS meeting was part of US President Barack Obama’s nine-day Asia-Pacific trip, in which he has focused on bulking up America’s presence in the region, including setting up the Darwin base. The Darwin plan has been largely viewed as a hedge against the rise of China’s economic and military prowess and a guarantee to US allies in the region that if China were to use force in settling South China Sea disputes, the world’s largest economy would stand ready to help.

Four ASEAN countries — Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei — have competing claims over areas in the South China Sea.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao reaffirmed China’s stance on the South China Sea issue but stressed the summit was not the right place to discuss such issues.

Obama held an impromptu meeting with Chinese Premier Wen on the summit’s sidelines Saturday to discuss the South China Sea and economic differences.

The US has planned to form a free trade alliance with its Pacific counterparts in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which would exclude China but comprise four ASEAN countries (Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei Darussalam) as well as Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Chile and Peru.

“We are ready to join the TPP. But as President, I chose to assess matters more deeply. If it brings benefits, we would say ‘we will join the TPP’,” Yudhoyono said.

3) Indonesian president defends military in Papua

JAKARTA | Sat Nov 19, 2011 8:00am EST

Nov 19 (Reuters) – Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono defended on Saturday the actions of its military in remote Papua province following accusations of human rights abuses and the recent killing of three people.

Three people were killed on Oct. 19 as police and military tried to disperse a political meeting in Abepura, a sub-district of Papua, a resource-rich yet underdeveloped province with a simmering separatist insurgency and heavy military presence.

The government’s national human rights commission found strong evidence of excessive acts that led to rights violations.

Human Rights Watch and other rights groups have called on U.S. President Barack Obama to address the issue when he met Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in Bali during an East Asia Summit.

But Yudhoyono said on Saturday there was accountability and military personnel who committed crimes would be investigated.

“The world must know that in Papua there are armed cells who are launching attacks at us, including at an area of a firm there,” he said, referring to a mine run by Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc where a worker was killed by gunmen on Thursday.

“When our soldiers are doing self-defense then it can’t be categorised as violating human rights.”

Yudhoyono said Papua was not specifically discussed during his meeting with Obama in Bali.

Theologians & Franciscan Friars about recent post-Congress Indonesian violence affecting their communities

unofficial English translation of the media statement published yesterday (26/10) by the Rector of “Fajar Timur” Catholic School of Philosophy and Theology and the Provincial of the Franciscan Friars in West Papua, Indonesia, in regards to the recent violence affecting their communities.  via ETAN


1.       Wednesday, 19 October 2011, around 9 am, the police, Brimob and the Indonesian army were on guard equipped with armoured vehicle, trucks, along Sosiri Street, Yakonde Street even at the back of “Fajar Timur” School of Philosophy and Theology (STFT). Within those streets the Catholic mission compound is located, including St Paul’s Secondary School and its teachers’ residence, “Nur Jaya” girls’ dormitory, JMJ nuns’ house, staff residence, “Sang Surya” Franciscan friary, “Tunas Harapan” Catholic dormitory, Zakheus football field (where the gathering spot of the congress), Seminary of John Vianney, “Tauboria” dormitory, Inter-diocesan seminary, the campus of Fajar Timur School of Philosophy and Theology, residence of priest staff, a chapel, a dinning hall and other facilities. The deployment of troops without any prior notice to the school made us worried and suspected that the situation would have turned into chaos and we would have been trapped in such circumstances. Therefore, around 10 am, we asked our staff to go home.

2.       Around 11 am, a unit of Indonesian army with heavy guns entered the campus and dormitories (the inter-diocesan seminary) from the hill at the back of the campus. The troops entered our property without asking any permission. They took rest in a multi-purposed hut. Some students gave reactions to them and asked them not to enter the seminary and campus area. So they then left and went back to the hill.

3.       Around 3.30 pm some members of the security services entered the dormitories searching for the participants of the Papuan congress who were running for safety. The security services entered the dormitories of the brothers from the Diocese of Agats. They broke the doors of the study room and bed rooms at the front side, entered and ransacked the computer room while saying, “Take that computer for evidence.” While window glasses were destroyed, another voice said, “Don’t do it. This is the mission complex.” The brothers from the Diocese of Agats were terrified and lying  face down hiding at the front room. A few congress participants who took refuge in the bathrooms were arrested. A harsh voice said, “Run?…get shot!” When the security services wanted to ransack the room at the back where students were hiding, an instruction came out saying, “Enough! Enough! Stop! Back off!” then silence. After waiting for a while, those who were hiding, got out and ran away to the residence of priest staff. When they got there, they realised that one of them was shocked and could not move from his hiding place.

4.       Meanwhile, inside the staff’s study room, Father John Jehuru OSA, Associate Dean and the Rector of Interdiocesan Seminary was stunned when a bullet penetrated his window. He was monitoring the chaos happening in Zakheus football field around 3.30 pm. The bullet razed his glass louvers and curtain, hit the wall, before dropped into a study desk. The bullet and Father John were only separated for about 50-75 cms. The crumbs of the bullet were found.

5.       The security services also entered other dormitories. In the dormitories of the brothers of the Diocese of Manokwari-Sorong, while searching for participants of the congress, they said, “Is it a mission house? Where are those idiot priests? Why priests hide criminals?”

In the dormitory of the brothers of the Archdiocese of Merauke, the security services arrested Agus Alua, a student, who was standing outside when the security services came in. We found a bullet pierced a window but we do not know from which direction the bullet came from. The security services came from the back of the campus with shooting. However, we do not know whether they were the same troops that came ealier at 11 am or not.

6.       Meanwhile in the staff residence, the troops were chasing the participants and threw tear gas. One of the troops entered and found the resident, a woman, lying face down and hiding under the bed. He asked, “Who are you?” and the woman answered, “I’m the resident here!”. “Get out, don’t be afraid” said the security. She came out and wiped her soured eyes saying, “I’m not afraid of you but of your bullets and tear gas”. Then he walked away.

7.       In “Sang Surya” Franciscan friary, many participants took refuge. Mr Forkorus Yaboisembut (the Chair of the Papuan Customary Council) and Dominikus Sorabut, now suspects detained in the police custody, were taking rest after the congress was closed. Father Gonsa Saur OFM, the head of the friary, was taken by surprised when he heard a shooting. He put his Franciscan habit on and came out standing at the stairs that connect the first and the second floor of the friary. Three members of the security forces and some others with plain clothes forced to enter the second level of the house but Father Gonsa denied them. He saw the security services with plain clothes sneaked into the dining room and the front room. They were carrying big guns and pistols. Due to the heavy pressure from the security forces, finally Father Gonsa had to ask those who were hiding to come out. While some of them came out, some others stayed hidding for safety. Father Gonsa asked the security, “You can take them, but don’t beat them.” In front of him, they were not beaten up but once they were out at the road, some of the security services beat them.

Six members of the security forces in plain clothes dragged Mr Yaboisembut and yelled at him. A woman was dragged too out of the friary. One of the security forces tried to penetrate the second level but Father Gonsa asked him to come down. About ten people surrendered but we do not know their identities. They were told to walk by squatting. There were three women among them. Outside the building, many security forces with or without uniform were hanging around with heavy weapons.

8.       In John Maria Vianey’s Seminary of the Diocese of Jayapura, many participants were hiding for safety. The security services searched for the participants and found Father Yan You, the head of the seminary. Three members of the security forces pointed his gun at Father Yan’s head one by one. They said, “You hide them.” He answered, “Kill me, shot me, come on.” Then they smashed the door, entered the room and took those who were hiding. Meanwhile, the brothers convened the participants at the hall. The brothers gave up their bedrooms for the participants for hiding. The brothers put their priest uniform on and protect the participants of the congress but when the security forces entered, some of the participants surrendered and they were taken away. The brothers told the security not to be cruel with the participants. One of the brothers, who tried to help those who were shot, got beaten with a rifle butt on his hand until it was  fractured and with a rubbler baton on his nose until it was bleeding. He had been arrested and detained at the Papua police custody overnight before released on the following day. He is being treated at the intensive care unit at the local hospital.

9.       When the security forces persecuted the crowd and members of the security guards of the Papuan Customary Council (Penjaga Tanah Papua), these people ran through the back of the library and tried to enter the staff room. But they could not make it because it was locked. So they broke two pieces of glass louvers. They ran to the hill but then were stopped with shootings coming from the top of the hill. So they went back to the bushes where they had come from.

Because of this incidence, the “Yerusalem Baru” inter-diocesan seminary and “Fajar Timur” School of Philosophy and Theology were physically and non-physically damaged:
1.       7 doors were ruined, 2 computer units missing, 2 trophies crushed, 2 chairs were broken, 2 sickles and 1 knife were missing, pots of flowers scattered. Window glasses of the dormitory of the Diocese of Merauke was razed with bullet, 2 pieces of glasses louvers of the staff room were smashed, 1 window glass of the staff room was pierced by bullet, window glasses of the seminary office demolished.

2.       One student is being treated in hospital because his face was swollen so there was no difference between his nose and his cheeks.

3.       The brothers remain terrified and worried. They are traumatized because the security services have acted inhumanely.

In regards to this incidence:
1.       We do not ask for compensation for the damaged or missing facilities. The violent acts of the security forces have destroyed the facilities and also infused fear and anxiety among the civitas academica of “Fajar Timur” School of Philosophy and Theology. The building and window glasses can be replaced but it takes a long time to heal fear and anxiety.

2.       We do not ask for compensation for the medical treatment for the brother who is in hospital.

3.       We firmly reject any repressive means to deal with issues because such violent act only undermines the human dignity of victims and perpetrators.

4.       We are deeply concerned that our campus, which is entitled to academic freedom, was penetrated by heavily armed security forces without any permission or prior notice.

5.       We regret that the monopoly of truth by the security forces who assumed the brothers had done something wrong by providing assylums for those who were persecuted by the security forces. We affirm that such an assylum was provided on the basis of the universal humanitarian principle, namely when a person is exposed to a life-threatening situation, s/he has to be given protection and defence. Therefore, the protection provided for the participants of the congress who tried to take refuge from the persecution and threats from the security forces was solely based on the humanitarian principle rather than any political interests.

6.       We appeal to the Indonesian Human Rights Commission (KOMNAS HAM) to investigate the violent incidence post congress to look at how serious human rights abuses have occurred.

7.       Based on the government’s commitment, as expressed by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono during his address to the nation on 16 August 2011, namely “dealing Papua with heart,” we support a dialogue to be done between Jakarta and Papua. This dialogue is highly important not only to stop violence but also to prevent any recurrence of violent acts in Papua. We ask all parties of good will to push the idea of dialogue between Jakarta and Papua.

8.       We ask for supports and solidarity from the members of the Catholic Church around the world to pray and support the implementation of dialogue between Jakarta and Papua for peace of Papua. Because only through dialogue, issues that underpin conflicts in Papua can be identified and proper solutions can also be found without resorting to violence and bloodshed.

Jayapura, 26 October 2011

Rector of “Fajar Timur”  STFT The Provincial of the Franciscans Order in Papua

Father Dr. Neles Tebay, Pr Father Gabriel Ngga OFM, Lic Theol.

ABC LATELINE: West Papuans attacked by Indonesian army

(MEDIA NOTE: WEST PAPUA MEDIA was fixer for this story, and supplied this exclusive footage to Lateline, notWest Papua independence activists” as reported by Lateline.  Footage can be made available to other media outlets by contacting editor, @ westpapuamedia.info .  West Papua Media HAS independently verified the authenticity of this footage.)

Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Broadcast: 27/10/2011 http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2011/s3350029.htm

Reporter: Hamish Fitzsimmons

Six people have died in shootings after the West Papuan Independent Movement declared independence, which Indonesia describes as an act of treason.


TONY JONES, PRESENTER: Last week six people were killed in the Indonesian province of West Papua after separatists declared independence from Indonesia at a people’s congress.

Lateline has obtained exclusive pictures of the aftermath of the shootings, which were alleged to have been carried out by Indonesian security forces, including anti-terrorist troops trained by Australia.

Indonesia says the declaration in the restive province is an act of treason and people have been charged according to the law.

West Papuan independence activists say the shootings were planned.

Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs says the Indonesian police response was disproportionate.

Hamish Fitzsimmons has this report.

HAMISH FITZSIMMONS, REPORTER: Thousands attended the third West Papuan People’s Congress on 19th October in Jayapura

It was organised by the West Papuan independence movement, which says it was forcibly included in the Indonesian republic almost 50 years ago.

And last week, the congress took the dramatic step of declaring independence from Jakarta and electing its own government.

EDISON WAROMI, PAPUAN PEOPLE’S CONGRESS PRIME MINISTER: We will appoint a main leader who will unite the movement and ideologies. This is the time to make clear to God, to the international community, also to Indonesia and the people of Papua.

HAMISH FITZSIMMONS: After the declaration was made, security forces moved in to break up the meeting. The Indonesian government says police fired warning shots to disperse the crowd and made many arrests, six people have been charged with treason.

But six people are also reported to have been killed and many more injured. Those who witnessed the violence want the international community to intervene in West Papua.

JOHN BARANSANO, WEST PAPUAN YOUTH CHURCH: I call on the churches around the world to care about this. I’m calling for an intervention for us because today’s events show that we need a transitional government and this needs to happen to help the people of Papua. We are now in a dangerous situation and we’re calling for a UN intervention to help us.

HAMISH FITZSIMMONS: John Baransano is a Protestant minister in Jayapura who was at the peoples’ congress. He says he saw people being shot and beaten and others herded into trucks.

JOHN BARANSANO: I saw with my own eyes people who were bleeding. They had been hit. We saw how they were terribly harassed. They were forced into a truck and ordered to sit down so they wouldn’t be seen by others. But if we were up higher, we could see what had been done to them.

HAMISH FITZSIMMONS: Anglican minister Peter Woods lived in Indonesia for many years and is dedicated to helping West Papuans achieve independence.

He was in Jayapura during the congress and filmed interviews with many of the independence movement’s leaders. He says the security forces waited until independence was declared at the meeting.

PETER WOODS, WEST PAPUAN INDEPENDENCE SUPPORTER: The Army, the special police, the Brimob, the Densus 88, which had been along the road for the last three days in various barracks and positioning areas, they all moved in and started firing.

HAMISH FITZSIMMONS: The Indonesian government says there were deaths, but not at the site of the congress and the victims’ wounds were not gunshot wounds, but from a sharp weapon.

This vision has been supplied by West Papuan independence activists and can’t be independently verified. It appears to show many bullet holes.

Reverend Woods believes the violence on 19th was premeditated.

PETER WOODS: It was very well-planned and they waited until the declaration had been made. The justification for that was that – well we’ve heard variously a coup d’etat was being planned, or a state within the state of Indonesia was being declared.

HAMISH FITZSIMMONS: Amongst the troops were soldiers from the Densus 88 unit, Indonesia’s elite anti-terror squad, which is funded and trained by Australia and the United States.

The Australian Government says it funds training for the Indonesian armed forces that emphasises human rights awareness, accountability and respect for the rule of law, including in Papua, and that it doesn’t train Indonesia’s military to counter separatist groups.

The Greens want military training halted.

RICHARD DI NATALE, GREENS SENATOR: The Australian Government should immediately suspend all support for the Indonesian military. It should, as a matter of urgency, send a fact-finding mission to the region.

HAMISH FITZSIMMONS: Elite police from Jakarta and Indonesia’s National Commission for Human Rights are investigating the shootings, but there are claims that some of the injured in the crackdown are too afraid to seek treatment, fearing they’ll be arrested.

One of those is Abraham Kereni, who was one a representatives at the congress.

ABRAHAM KERENI, WEST PAPUAN INDEPENDENCE REP.: Then those – the security forces, they immediately held pistols and opened the door of the car of the prime minister. It was there that shots were fired. They opened the door and pulled me out. As they were pulling me out, there were three crew that came and hit me.

HAMISH FITZSIMMONS: A spokesman for Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs says it appears from reports that the police’s response, following calls for independence at the conclusion of the congress, was disproportionate.

Hamish Fitzsimmons, Lateline.

DPRP members say police and army chiefs should be held responsible for casualties

Bintang Papua, 25 October 2011
[Abridged in translation by TAPOL]

Jayapura: A member of the Provincial Legislative Assembly of Papua, the DPRP, had called for the Chief of Police in Papua and Commander of the Cenderawasih Military Command to be held responsible for the loss of life when the Papuan People’s Congress was broken up last Wednesday.

‘The actions of the security forces in dispersing the Congress exceeded all bounds and exceeded their authority and in so doing were in violation of the laws in force,’ said Yan Mandenas, chairman of the Pikiran Rakyat group in the DPRP.

‘They exceeded their powers in attacking and shooting people who happened to be in the location, whether or not those people were involved in the Congress.’

‘If indeed they were committing an act of subversion, then those responsible should be arrested, not beaten up and shot. This is a serious violation of human rights and should be thoroughly investigated,’ he said.   ‘This is not a trivial matter but something which attacks the self-respect of Papuan people. It seems as though  whenever anything happens in Papua, the security forces act uncontrollably and start shooting.’

‘Killing innocent people is inhumane and it is always Papuans who are the casualties. If we want to develop Papua and preserve the unitary Republic of Indonesia, then we should stop hitting out at people and treating Papuans as if they are worthless.’

As for the claim of the chief of police in Papua that the casualties were only stabbed and not shot, if this is true, there should be autopsies. ‘Why have there been no reports of the result of autopsies?’

He said that if Papua is an indivisible part of Indonesia, then why do so many conflicts occur there. ‘There have been a number of mysterious shootings, none of which has been properly investigated.’

Mandenas said that an investigation team should be set up immediately to see whether violations were committed. ‘If there were violations, then those members of the security forces who were responsible should be sacked.’

Similar views were expressed by Ruben Magay, chairman of Commission A on Politics and Law of the DPRP.

He went on to say that he had urged the chief of police to withdraw his men because it (the Congress) was already over, but what in fact happened was that even though the event was at an end, they started chasing people, hitting them and shooting at people who happened to be in the vicinity;  And no one was fighting back. ‘This is clearly a violation, with armed people shooting at random, hitting people who were not showing any resistance or carrying firearms.’

‘The National Human Rights Commission, Komnas HAM, as the competent body should carry out an investigation and say whether human rights were violated or not.’ He went on to say that the DPRP will press for an investigation team to be set up.

Meanwhile, a man named Yosep Nawipa who was happened to be in the vicinity became a casualty and was held in custody at police command headquarters. He said that he has been struck with a rifle butt by a member of the security forces, then pushed into their vehicle and taken to the police station.  ‘Just as the event was being dispersed,’ he said.   ‘I happened to pass through the location and I too was beaten up,
dragged into their vehicle and struck on the crown of my head,’ he said, pointing to the injury that he had sustained.

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