Tag Archives: Legal Aid Foundation

50 Years of the Violation of Basic Human Rights in West Papua: Part one and two

Statement by Yan Christian Warinussy, Executive Director of LP3BH, made in preparation for discussions that were due to take place at the beginning of 2014.]
March 10, 2014

As an organisation which advocates basic human rights in the Land of Papua, the LP3BH – Manokwari wishes to record to all those who have remained silent about the conditions now prevailing in the Land of Papua, the experiences of the indigenous Papuan people who have ceaselessly tried to ensure that no-one will forget what has been happening  in this territory since 1 May 1963 and what continues to happen systematically up to the present day

      To begin with, it is essential to understand the history, in order to understand who it was who was responsible for the status  imposed on the Land of Papua on 1 May 1963. The indigenous Papua people have every right to enjoy all the rights that have been stipulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and  various international covenants regarding economic, social and political rights  as well as other international covenants all of which have been disregarded with regard to the situation in West Papua.
      At the time of Papua’s incorporation into the Republic of Indonesia, Ali Murtopo (a senior adviser to the then president of Indonesia) was quoted as saying: “What we want and need is the land in Papua, not the Papuans who live there.”
      In 1967, a Contract of Work was concluded by Indonesia regarding the exploitation of the copper and gold and possibly also uranium around the Grasberg Mountain around Tembagapura which was widely known to the Indonesian government as well as a US multinational corporation called Freeport McMoran.
    This makes it very clear why the USA played such an active role on the diplomatic front to ensure that West Papua would be incorporated as part of Indonesia, despite the glaring differences between the Papuan people with regard to their history, as well as their anthropology and ethnography and people living in other parts of Indonesia.
      It was abundantly evident that the USA was very interested in the natural resources in West Papua which explains why that country took such an interest in this matter.
“Gentlemen, I am angry with God. Why has God created such beautiful mountains, valleys and rivers, rich with minerals and placed us, the indigenous peoples, here in this place that attracts so many people from around the world to come, exploit our resources, and kill us?”
 [Translator’s Note: This prayer was said in 1994 by a man who lived on the Grasberg Mountain, who bemoaned the fact that the territory inhabited by Amungme people was so richly endowed with natural resources of huge interest to the USA.]
       That man whose name was Tuarek Narkime delivered words that are widely known to and understood* by the leaders and people of the Amungme tribe in drawing attention to the many violations of the rights of these people which were perpetrated in the area when the Freeport mine was being  established, during the course of which many Amungme people lost their lives as a result of actions by Freeport personnel as well as by members of the Indonesian army and police, although none of these people have ever been called account before a court of law for what they have done.
     These introductory remarks provide the basis for everyone anywhere in the world and all democrats around the world to take a new look at the past as well at the present regarding the acts of violence that continue to occur in the vicinity of the Freeport mine without anyone ever being called to account for what they have done.

Ever since 1963 and 1967, the LP3BH has recorded the fact that the Republic of Indonesia has consistently used violence against the West Papuan people, something that even started to happen before those years.

    On 15 August 1962, when the New York  Agreement was signed by Indonesia and The Netherlands under the supervision of the United States of America, the Papuan people were not involved’ They were not even consulted for their opinion. Yet, at that time there was a New Guinea Council  which consisted of representatives of  the Papuan people, the members of which were chosen by means of democratically held elections which took place on 5 April 1961 in Hollandia (now called Jayapura).
      [All the names of the members of the Council who were elected, of whom 22 were Papuans, are listed  as well as those who were appointed which included one Papuan and five Dutch people, including one Indo-Dutch person.]
    Besides that, there were two major religious organisations, – the GKI [Evangelical Christian Church] and the Catholic Church] which were spread across  the whole of the Land of Papua. Yet, these churches were never consulted as part of civil society in the territory at the time. This was despite the fact that the UN was involved  in the creation of UNTEA as well as The Netherlands and the USA.
     What we mean by being consulted is all about the framework and  the possible problems that might arise among the indigenous Papuan people who were regarded as being too primitive  to take part in an election held according to the principle of ‘one person, one vote’. Were the towns and villages in West Papua too complex for the New Guinea Council or the two churches to choose their leaders? Such advice would have been very useful and important in deciding on on how to conduct the elections in accordance with the traditions  and customary laws that were vibrant among the Papuan people. who were supposed to have been consulted by means of the Act of Free Choice which was to have been held by 1969 in the Land of Papua.
     There was never any request for advice or opinion from the Papuan people. Still worse, what actually happened was that Papuans were arrested and even  cruelly tortured for allegedly being involved in an ‘underground movement’, with the intention of overthrowing the Indonesian Government. This is what happened to Baldus Mofu as a result of which he was mentally damaged at the hands of the military police and members of the Indonesian Air Force in Manokwari. Another Papua, Nicholas Tanggahma is believed to have died  after ingesting food that had been poisoned when he was staying at the Arfak Hotel in Manokwari in 1969.
     Several other members of the Council such as Marcus Kaisiepo and Nicholas Jouwe were arrested and taken to Europe prior to the Act of Free Choice. Others were treated in the same way, including E.J Bonay, F.K.T. Poana, A.S. Onim and Thontjee Meset.
     All these acts of violence were perpetrated by members of the Indonesian security forces, the TNI and Polri. and further intensified as the Act of Free Choice drew near in August 1969.
     The LP3BH is well aware of the fact that many activists in Biak, Sorong, Manokwari, Jayapura, Wamena, Nabire  as well as in Merauke were arbitrarily arrested by the TNI and Polri some of whom were summarily killed. An example of what happened occurred on 28 July 1969 in Manokwari when 53 Papuans were summarily executed at the headquarters of the Infantry Battalion in Arfak-Manokwari.
     Such human rights violations have systematically occurred ever since that time, following the enactment of Law 12/1999. This was clarified in the General Remarks contained in paragraph 1, section 6 which state: ‘The Act of Free Choice  in West Irian  was a manifestation of the aspirations of the Papuan people and resulted in the people of Papua and  West Papua  expressing their wish to be united with the people of other regions of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia, affirming  that West Papua is part of the Unitary Republic of Indonesia.’
      The afore-mentioned statement became the legal basis for the Indonesian Government to enforce paragraphs 109 and 110 in law.  This codification was part of the law under the Dutch Constitution [Wetboek van Strafrecht]  whenever the government takes firm action against the Papuan people when they challenge  ‘Papua’s political integration’.
     As a result of all this, every time  that people in Papua or West Papua seek to challenge ‘political integration’  using their right to freedom of expression as guaranteed in Law 39/1999
on Basic Human Rights as well as universal human rights, they are accused of the crime of treason under the Indonesian Constitution.
      Such incidences occurred in Biak on 6 July 1999 when a group of Papuans unfurled the Morning Star Flag under the leadership of Filep Karma which resulted in his being subjected to acts of brutality by the TNI and Polri and which moreover resulted in dozens, even hundreds, of Papuans falling as victims, some of whom even lost their lives. All this resulted in Filep Karma and his colleagues facing the charge of treason.
(End of part on and  two of the translation.)
Translated by Carmel Budiardjo, founder of Tapol

LP3BH report on the trial of five students in Manokwari

Report from LP3BH, the Merauke-based legal aid institute, regarding the charges against five Papuan students who are currently on trial for subversion, makar:First of all, the charges  against the five students, Alex Duwiri, Yance Sekeyab, John Raweyai, Penehas Serongon and Jhon Wilson Wader are not that they unfurled the 14-star flag but that they took part in a long march by students from the State University of Papua – UNIPA – which started at the university campus in Amban, Manokwari on 14 December and went to the Information and Communications Service of the district of Manokwari in Sanggeng, Manokwari.

The five students were arrested  because their faces were identified in photographs taken by a member of the police force in Manokwari while they were taking part in a rally by about fifty students who were on a long march from Amban to show their support for the action to mark the 22nd anniversary of the Proclamation of the Independence of West Melanesia  on 14 December 2010.

Alex Duwiri was arrested somewhere near the the location of the action because his face had been identified in a photograph, while John Raweyai was arrested because he was the Master of Ceremonies of the action. John Wilson Wader was arrested while he was arranging the chairs that were being used during that ceremony, while Penehas Serongan and Yance Sekeyab were arrested outside the Women’s Institute which was about one kilometre from the rally as they were leaving the  event just before it had been broken up by the police. They had left slightly earlier because they wanted to get back to the university to attend a lecture there.

Then, what happened on 14 December 2010 was that Melkianus Bleskadit was taking part in an event to mark the 22nd anniversary of the Proclamation of the Republic of Melanesia that took place  near the premises of the Information and Communications Service  of the district of Manokwari in Sanggeng Manokwari.The event was attended by about one hundred Papuan civilians. Yance who was also there  had been asked to say a prayer and give a vote of thanks at the end of the ceremony.

Bleskadit got onto the platform to deliver his speech but all of a sudden, the crowd started yelling Papua, which they did three times, and Bleskadit pulled out a 14-star flag  and held it up in his hands, whereupon the Manokwari police who were present got onto the platform and arrested him.

Thirdly, the trial of Melkianus Bleskadit and Dance Yenu was held on the following day, Tuesday, 13 June at which  witnesses for the prosecution were heard, as well as some expert witnesses who had come from Makassar. One of the witnesses was an Indonesian language expert, another was an expert in criminal code and the third was an expert in governance law.

Fourthly, the five students are indeed facing the charge of makar based on Article 106 as well as Article 160 on incitement.

Finally, we have not heard anything about pressure being put on the media  regarding their coverage of this case in the Manokwari district court..

From Yan Christian Warinussy

This message was sent in response to a query received by LP3BP from Josef Benedict of Amnesty International.

Urgent need for Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Human Rights Court in Papua

Press Release from LP3BHLaw 21/2001 on Special Autonomy for Papua as amended by Law 35/2008 states the following in article 46, para (1): ‘In order to strengthen unity of the people in the province of Papua, a Truth and Reconciliation Commission should be set up while Article 46 reads as follows: ‘ Within the framework of strengthening unity and unanimity, a Trth and Reconciliation shall be set up.’

‘The task of the Commission (KKR) shall be (a) to reach a clarification of Papuan history to solidify unity and unanimity of the nation within the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia and (b) to draft measures towards reconciliation.’

In further elucidation of Article 46, it states the need for reconciliation which shall include the acknowledgement of errors, the need for apology, the offer of forgiveness, peace, the rule of law, amnesty, rehabilitation or other alternatives  necessary to upholding the sense of justice with the community in order to uphold unity and unanimity.

In the opinion of LP3BH-Manokwari, the Association for Research, Advocacy and Development of Legal Aid,  a Commission for Truth and Reconciliation is an integral  part of the implementation of special autonomy that should as a matter of urgency be implemented the Indonesian Government and the regional government in the Land of Papua, namely the governments of Papua and West Papua.

The formation of the KKR is very urgent. There are four issues that need to be dealt with: first, the marginalisation and effective discrimination against the indigenous Papua people as a result of economic developments; political conflicts; and the mass in-migration into Papua since the 1970s.Affirmative action needs to be taken in order to empower the indigenous Papuan people.

The second problem is the failure of development, especially in education, health and economic empowerment. This requires  new paradigms directed towards development that is focussed on improving public services so as to advance the welfare of indigenous Papuans living in the kampungs.

The third issue is the contradiction between the history and political identities of Papua and Indonesia. This problem can only be resolved by means of dialogue such such happened in Aceh.

The fourth issue is the responsibility for state violence committed against Indonesian citizens in Papua. This needs reconciliation between  a human rights court and the truth; to uphold the rule of law and justice for the victims, their families and all Indonesian citizens now living in Papua.

The way to resolve the third and fourth issues  means, according LP3BH, the formation of a truth and reconciliation commission and the setting up of a human rights court in Papua. This is very urgent and pressing and requires the support both of the Indonesian Government and and the governments of the provinces of Papua and West Papua and the various legislative assemblies (DPRP and DRP PB) Why is this so? Because the  historic contradictions and the political identities between Papua and Jakarta all too frequently become the trigger for social-political conflicts  in the Land of Papua. It frequently happens that  when Papuans take action to express their political aspirations in the form of peaceful demonstrations or events held to mark the anniversary of Papuan independence day on 1 December or the anniversary of  the independence of the West Melanesian Republic on 14 December, these incidents become politicised by the state and treaed as criminal acts by the security forces (POLRI) with the arrest of activists of peaceful demonstrators who are then accused of MAKAR or of disturbing the public order and treated as a criminal act in accordance with the criminal code (KUHP).

The security forces frequently use violence amounting to human rights abuses  towards victims either in the form of physical violence or violation of their rights as guaranteed in the KUHAP – the criminal procedural code.

On the other hand, ever since the Act of Free Choice (PEPERA), gross violations of human rights  have been committed by the military against Papuan civilians who are killed, tortured or forcibly disappeared.  Anything between 500 and 1,000 Papuan civilians have been murdered, tortured, forcibly disappeared, and subjected to other forms of violence by members f the military forces (TNI) in virtually all the towns and cities  such as Jayapura, Merauke, Fakfak, Sorong, Manokwari and Biak. In Biak, a number of Papuans who work in the civil service as teachers, nurses, as well as people working for private enterprises, as well as those who worked during the Dutch period  in Serui, Nabire and Biak have been arrested and imprisoned for more than two years at the TNI naval base in Biak.

In addition, properties have been unlawfully and forcibly seized from homes and shops belonging to Chinese inhabitants by members of the armed forces, it being alleged that  they are assets owned by the OPM, which is used as justification. The civilian community in the Land of Papua have themselves felt how  the Indonesian military security forces  entered people’s homes and seized people’s belongings such as transistor radios, tinned food and drinks from The Netherlands All these things were confiscated by the Indonesian military apparatus in 1969 and taken off to Java.

All this has left feelings of bitterness and hatred among the civilian population in the Land of Papua going back many years, which are still being felt today. This is what the Rev. Benny Giay calls Memoria Pasionis.

According to the LP3BH, these matters should have been settled many years ago in accordace with international standards and basic human rights principles.

The LP3BH therefore makes the following demands:

1.    The Indonesian Government should pay attention to the political need to immediately set up a Commission of Truth and Reconciliation in implementation of Law 21/2001, as well as set up a human rights court in Papua.

2.   The provincial governments in Papua and West Papua  should immediately introduce regulations with regard to  the creation of the KKR, its composition, location, and its mode of operation as well as its funding.

3. The DPRP and the DPR PB should take the initiative and play a key role in efforts to set up the KKR and the human rights court in Papua as the  way to solve the social-political conflicts which have continued to persist  from 1969 up to the present day., which should be continued into the future but which have until now been regarded as matters of no importance, and about which nothing has at yet been done to comply with universal legal standards  and basic human rights.

Manokwari, 27 May 2011

Yan Christian Warinussy, SH


JUBI, 10 February 2011


The legal aid organisation, LP3BH, has called on Papuans not to agree
to be nominated for a seat on the MRP (Papuan People’s Assembly) in the forthcoming elections. They should also reject the entire nominations process which is now being organised by two agencies, the Kesbangpol and the LMA.

Speaking on behalf of the LP3BH, its executive director, Yan Christian
Warinussy urged Papuans to reject any offers to be nominated for the
MRP. He said that by accepting nominations, Papuans would be indicating that they support the election of a new MRP. If Papuans refuse to be nominated, this will thwart the efforts of the government to continue with the election process.

He said that by adopting such a position, Papuans will be showing that they do not support the efforts currently under way throughout West
Papua to elect members of a new MRP in all parts of the territory.

On 26 January 2011, thousands of Papuans from a variety of communities and churches took part in a demonstration calling on the Papuan provincial council, the DPRP, to halt the election of members of the MRP. The demonstrators called on the DPRP, the central government and the provincial government to respond to the eleven recommendations adopted on 9 June 2010 by the grand assembly of Papuan communities and the MRP.

[These recommendations included the call for a referendum to be held in West Papua, for the Special Autonomy Law 21/2001 to be handed back to the government and for a dialogue between the Papuan people and the Indonesian government. The first MRP was set up in 2006 in accordance with the provisions of this law. Since late last year, there have been many demonstrations in West Papua calling for the ‘return’ of the special autonomy law to the government.]

Lawyer, five students and others arrested in Manokwari

Above Photos: Assault & Arrest of Melki Bleskadit, Rev. Daniel and 6 youth Human Rights and Democracy Papuan Student Activists.
Names: Jems Aisoki, Yakonias Imbiri, Wilson Wader (Secretary of Youth Solidarity for Melanesian West Papua), Edi Kogoya, and two Youth Activist Students whose identity is not yet known. (trans)

In both cases, the reports have been abridged in translation by TAPOL

According to a report received this morning (14 December) from LP3BH,
the legal aid and investigation institute based in Manokwari, a member
of their lawyers team has been arrested by the police while he was
involved in monitoring a flag-raising incident on Tuesday, 14 December.

As reported by Yan Christian Warrinussy, executive director of the
LP3BH, the flag-raising is  an event held every year on 14 December to
mark the  anniversary of the independence proclamation by the West
Melanesian Council 22 years ago [in 1988] by Dr Thomas Wanggai [who died
shortly thereafter]

This year's anniversary flag-raising took place outside the office of
the Manokwari district office, under the leadership of Melkianus
Bleskadit, who was subsequently arrested by the police, acting on the
orders of police chief Agustinus Supriyanto . The Rev. Dance Yenu and
five others, all students were arrested, apparently for unfurling a flag.

A member of the institute's  human rights defenders team, Simon Risyard
Banundi, was arrested while monitoring the event, as part of the LP3BH's
human rights activities. Banundi is also a member of the Indonesian
organisation of lawyers, PERADIN which is the oldest lawyers
organisation in Indonesia.

The institute says that his arrest is in clear violation of article 17
of the criminal procedural code, Law 39/1999 on Human Rights, and Law
18/2003 on Lawyers and the International Convention on Human Rights
Defenders as well as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

In a subsequently message, Warinussy  described the action by the
police  as being 'very arrogant', and  pointed out that Banundi, who has
been working as a member of the staff of the LP3BH for a year, has
frequently issued statements that are very critical  of the activities
of the police as well as the army, in response to their efforts to
reform both the police and the army, and critical in particular the
police special force, Brimob in Manokwari who are often seen drinking
alcohol with local people while bearing weapons that belong to Brimob.
On several occasions, they  are heard firing these weapons into the air.

Since his arrest this morning and up until 8pm, Simon Banundi has not
yet been interrogated because he is refusing to answer any questions as
he has no lawyer to accompany him. Nor have the police given any reason
for Simon's arrest.

In the opinion of PERADIN, his arrest is unlawful because he was in the
course of performing his duties a human rights defender

The flag-raising event is also reported in today's Bintang Papua though
they have not yet reported the arrest of Simon Banundi. The paper did
however report that the security forces had mustered a large number of
personnel, saying that they 'would not tolerate any unfurling of the
flag'. No fewer that 999 personnel were deployed in anticipate of the

The paper reports that the deployment of special forces has been under
way for four days 'in order to ensure that the general public can
proceed with their activities without hindrance' according to the
police in the capital city of Jayapura , as well as along the border
with PNG, in order 'to guard vital places such as the governor's office,
the DPRP's headquarters and other places.