Tag Archives: Komnas Ham

AI – Government must act on Komnas HAM’s findings of human rights violations at Papuan Congress


8 November 2011

The Indonesian government must immediately act on the Indonesian National Human Rights Commission’s (Komnas HAM) findings that human rights violations were committed by Indonesian security forces at the Third Papuan Peoples’ Congress on 19 October 2011.

The Komnas HAM investigation team found a range of human rights violations allegedly committed by the Indonesian security forces, including opening fire on participants of the peaceful gathering and beating and kicking them. The Commission, which made its findings public on 4 November 2011, has called on the Indonesian National Police chief to investigate these human rights violations.

It was reported on 7 November that the President’s office had rejected the findings of Komnas HAM, stating that the police were still handling the case.

The Indonesian authorities must initiate an independent, thorough and effective investigation into the Commission’s findings. If the investigations find that the security forces committed unlawful killings or torture or other ill-treatment, then those responsible, including persons with command responsibility, must be prosecuted in proceedings which meet international standards of fairness, and victims provided with reparations.

The failure to bring perpetrators of these violations to justice in fair trials will reinforce the perception that the security forces in Papua operate above the law and fuel the ongoing climate of mistrust towards the security forces there.

On the afternoon of 19 October 2011, police and military units violently dispersed participants of the Third Papuan People’s Congress, a peaceful gathering held in Abepura, Papua province. The bodies of Demianus Daniel, Yakobus Samonsabara, and Max Asa Yeuw were found near the Congress area. An estimated 300 participants were arbitrarily arrested at the end of the Congress. Most were released the following day but six have been charged. Five people were charged for “rebellion” and “incitement” under Articles 106, 110 and 160 of the Criminal Code, while one was charged for “possession of weapons” under Emergency Law No. 12/1951.

According to Komnas HAM, the three people who were found dead had gunshot wounds on their bodies. The Commission was not able to confirm whether they were killed by the police or military, and have called for police forensics investigators to examine the bullets. Komnas HAM also found that at least 96 participants had been shot, kicked or beaten by police officers.

Komnas HAM further reported that security forces had raided a Catholic monastery and seminary. They shot at the building and broke the windows when the monks refused to hand over alleged separatists to the police. Many Papuans are now afraid to leave their homes because of the continued security checks and raids. The Commission also raised concerns that security forces had confiscated mobile phones, laptop computers, printers, cameras, cars, motorcycles and millions of rupiah in cash, and called for these items to be returned to the owners.

The Commission stated, contrary to statements by the Indonesian authorities that the Congress was illegal, that the Indonesian Minister of Law, Politics and Security had in fact directed the Director General of Regional Autonomy at the Home Affairs Ministry, to attend the Congress and give the opening speech.

The Commission made a series of recommendations including calling on President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to accelerate the dialogue with the Papuan people and to evaluate the deployment of a large security presence in the area.

The Komnas HAM investigation indicates that security forces appear to have violated the rights to life and to freedom from torture and other ill-treatment, both of which are non-derogable under the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Indonesia is a state party.

By using unnecessary and excessive force and firearms against the participants, the Indonesian security forces have also violated the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which Indonesia has also ratified. Moreover, the right of all people in Indonesia to be free from torture and other ill-treatment is guaranteed in the Indonesian Constitution and the 1999 Law on Human Rights.

The actions of the security forces also appear to contravene the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials which provide, among other things, that force should be used only as a last resort, in proportion to the threat posed, and should be designed to minimize damage or injury.

Forkorus and colleagues must be treated fairly, says Komnas HAM

Bintang Papua 26 October 2011Komnas HAM, the National Commission for Human Rights, has urged the police in Papua to respect the rights of the six persons who were arrested following the Third Papuan People’s Congress. The six include Forkorus Yaboisembut, chairman of the Papuan Customary  Council and Edison Waromi, a well-known human rights activist.  RA Ongge, speaking on behalf of the Commission, said they had also called for the release of all the civilians who were arrested by the security forces and the immediate return of possessions that had been seized at the time of their arrest. The police subsequently returned the possessions that had been seized.

Following the creation of a special team to deal with the arrests, Ongge said that they had visited the homes of Daniel Kadepa, Max Sasay and Yacob Samonsabra who had also been arrested, in order to gather information about the killings and other acts of violence that followed the end of the Papuan Congress..The victims said they had been badly treated  for two hours after the end of the Congress.

Forkorus who was able to meet members of Komnas HAM said: ‘As I was being arrested I was beaten and forcibly pushed onto a Baracuda. There was no way I  could resist as the police struck me in the back with their weapons,’ he said, while showing marks on his body. Members of Kontras, Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence were also witnesses to what happened to Forkorus.

Haris Azhar of Kontras  said that the violence against the men who were arrested was a case of gross human rights violations. These acts of violence by members of the security forces against civilians, acting on behalf of the state and using facilities such a vehicles which were state property  could be defined as gross human rights violations.

Members of Komnas HAM also visited other participants at the Congress who had also been taken into custody when many strange things had happened, including the discovery of people who had been killed . These matters have been raised with the chief of police. ‘None of these people offered any resistance when they were arrested,’ said Ridah Saleh of Komnas HAM.

Several sernior officials from Komnas HAM in Jakarta arrived in Jayapura to assist their local team and have met with members of the police force, as an indication of the seriousness with which the events following the Papuan Congress are seen in Jakarta.

Haris Azhar said:  ‘We regard this as an example of the appalling treatment of Papuans by the security forces , an example of their discrimination and suppression.’

Selpius Bobii, a member of the organising committee of the Congress, also told journalists  said none of those arrested were responsible for anything as it was he himself who as chairman of the Congress committee who accepts responsibility for everything that happened during the congress.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the police told journalists that the police were now in the process of investigating the case and were currently interrogating a number of people as well as some witnesses who were on duty with the security forces at the time.

Komnas HAM meets army commander to discuss rights violations

Bintang Papua, 16 July 2011

Komnas HAM meets military commander to discuss human rights violations

Jayapura: Many human rights violations are now confronting the National
Human Rights Commission – Komnas HAM in Papua. Commission deputy
chairman Nurcholis paid a visit to the command centre of the Cenderawasih Military Command to discuss two important problems.

The first was about the security situation at Freeport.   ‘A few weeks ago, we
received complaints from workers at Freeport about the security situation at the company and this is now being discussed with the military commander.’

The security problem began when some Freeport employees made complaints
about the situation and the families of the victims went to Komnas HAM, seeking assurances that legal processes would begin quickly.

The second problem relates to the shooting of members of the TNI in Puncak Jaya.  But apart from these casualties, there were four civilian casualties, a woman and three small children.  ‘We need to know whether these casualties were wounded or had died,’ he said.   Nurcholis stressed the need for caution about information being received, so as to correctly determine what measures need to be taken. ‘We are now gathering more complete information with the help of the human rights commission in Papua, to ensure that speedy action can be taken to solve the issue.’

Meanwhile, there are reports that some villagers have fled their homes because of armed skirmishes between civilian forces and the TNI in Puncak Jaya. He said: ‘If this is indeed happening, we hope to solve the problem so that our activities can focus on restoring security,’ he said.

No access to Puncak Jaya
He said that Komnas HAM is not at present able to gain access to Puncak Jaya and can only establish contact by phone. ‘The core of the problem needs to be dealt with through dialogue while recognising that this will not be easy. The next move will be to consult with the ministry of political and legal affairs, with dialogue being the only choice, and one that is supported by most of those involved so as to ensure that the difficulties can be overcome.’

Komnas HAM is checking whether the victims are civilian or military and whether the victims were wounded or have died. When asked how long this would take, Nurcholis said that he could not say.

‘The best indicator for solving human rights issues is not fixing a time frame but finding the best way to solve the problem ,’ said Nurcholis.

Human rights NGOs in Papua may seek international action about violations in Papua

Bintang Papua, 14 June 2011
Jayapura: On the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the Wasior
incident, which was described by Komnas HAM – the National Human Rights
Commission – as a gross violation of basic human rights, two leading
human rights organisations in West Papua, BUK – United for Truth – and
KontraS-Papua – Commission for the Disappeared and the Victims of
Violence, held a press conference in Jayapura.

They said that there has been a failure to show any serious concern
about the violation of basic human rights in Papua. In view of this,
they said that they now intend to bring these cases up before an
international mechanism. ‘There has as yet been no international move
to take action on these cases, but we intend to raise these issues by
waging a campaign in the hope that this will bring pressure to bear on
the Indonesian government to resolve these cases,’ said Selpius Bobii,
the BUK co-ordinator. who was accompanied as the press conference by
the co-ordinator of KontraS-Papua, Olga Hamadi.

He also said that they would make formal approaches by letter to a
number of government institutions as well as NGOs.

‘Immediately after this press conference, we will be sending letters to
Komnas HAM, to the attorney-general’s office, to Amnesty International ,
to the media in Papua as well as to NGOs in Germany and elsewhere.’

The organisations felt that such action was now called for as a way of
exerting pressure so as to ensure that these cases are recognised as
gross human rights violations and are brought before a court of law.

‘It seems that it is necessary to bring pressure to bear on the various
NGOs and on the government to persuade them to be more serious about
resolving a number of human rights cases in Papua,’ they said.

According to data that has been collected by BUK, these cases resulted
in the deaths of six people at the time of the incidents, while seven
others died subsequently as a result being subjected to torture. Seven
people are reported to have disappeared, while no fewer than 305 others
were subjected to sweeping operations known as ‘Tuntas Matoa’.

‘There has also been discrimination against the families of the victims
because their parents have been branded as separatists. This is apparent
from the way that /respect /funds have been distributed, bearing in mind
the fact that the families have been treated differently than others in
the community.’

With regard to the human rights violations that have been perpetrated in
Papua at the hands of members of the Indonesian army (TNI) and the
Indonesian police (POLRI), in all these cases, it has been virtually
impossible to bring them before a court of law. ‘In the case of those
incidents that were actually taken to court, nothing was done to side
with the victims; the perpetrators were protected with the argument that
whatever had been done was in the interest of the security of the state.
An example of this was the Abepura case where those who were found
guilty are no longer behind bars.

The Wasior incident occurred on 13 June 2001. It was triggered when a
person demanded compensation for the theft of his traditional land
rights but this failed to solicit any response. On the contrary, the
people concerned were accused of disrupting security and were arrested,
tortured, and in many cases killed or made to disappear.

‘Cases that have been identified by Komnas HAM as gross violations of
human rights have reached a stalemate.after disputes between Komnas HAM
and the attorney-general’s office, with the latter using formalistic

They went on to say that the Wasior case as well as the Wamena case (the
fatal shooting of Opinus Tabuni in August 2010) had been acknowledged by
Komnas HAM as gross violations of human rights but it had been virtually
impossible to deal with such cases because the administrations of the
provinces of Papua and West Papua which came into being following the
special autonomy law (OTSUS) had also failed to respond.

In view of all this, the representative of BUK made the following demands:

1. The president of Indonesia should immediately resolve the Wasior and
Wamena cases and in doing so recognise the fact that Papuans are
citizens of the Unitary Republic of Indonesia, NKRI which means that
their standing and dignity within the state is in keeping with the
values of the Papuan people as citizens of Indonesia.

2. The attorney-general’s office should end its machinations with regard
to the Wasior and Wamena cases and co-ordinate with other state
institutions so as stop their activities which have resulted in
reinforcing the cycle of impunity.

3. The administration of the province of Papua, along with the DPRP,
Komnas HAM-Papua and the MRP (Majelis Rakyat Papua ) should act together
as quickly as possible to ensure that the Wasior and Wamena incidents
are brought before a human rights court in the Land of Papua.

4. A Papuan Human Rights court should be set up immediately.

5. If the government fails to deal seriously with the Wasior and Wamena
cases, we as representives of all the victims of human rights
violations in the Land of Papua will bring these matters before an
international court of law.

Komnas HAM member warns of potential conflicts in Papua

Bintang Papua 13 April, 2011 

The deputy chairman of the Papua branch of the National Human Rights Commission is afraid that serious conflicts could occur in Papua around such issues as the election of the governor, conflicting views regarding special autonomy/OTSUS and the new Papuan Asembly, the MRP, conflicts between religious groups or between the churches, and the Puncak Jaya case. Other issues that were potentially controversial were the recent shooting dead of two people in the Freeport area, the serous flooding in Paniai and a number of mysterious deaths that have not been investigated.

Mathius Murib conveyed these thoughts to Bintang Papua in an SMS message.

He urged all sides in Papua to remain vigilant, to do everything possible to preserve peace in Papua and not to be provoked into making emotional responses. What is needed, he said, is well-thought out criticism in an era of democratisation and recognition of basic human rights in Indonesia. People should be careful to abide by the laws and regulations.

He expressed the hope that the newly appointed MRP would struggle for the basic rights of the Papuan people and hoped that the members of the new body would acknowledge the struggles waged by the late Agus Alue Alua and his colleagues in the previous MRP.