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West Papuans Testify: Excerpt from “Merdeka and the Morning Star: Civil Resistance in West Papua”

West Papuans Testify

Book Excerpt from “Merdeka and the Morning Star: Civil Resistance in West Papua”

We have come to testify. There is much that we want the world to know.

We want you to travel with us to the remote places of Papua—Wamena, Paniai, the Jayawijaya Highlands, the Star Mountains, Mindiptana, Timika, Arso, Mamberamo, Biak, Merauke, Asmat and many other places. We want you to hear stories of suffering from the mouths of ordinary people. Our memories are clear and sharp.

‘In this river our father was murdered’

‘On that mountain slope there used to be villages. They were destroyed by the military’

‘On that open field, our old men were forced to burn their koteka [penis sheaths] because they were considered primitive’

‘In the past that mountain was ours, now people have destroyed our mother’

We want you to travel with us to the sites of the massacres. We want to testify about the killings and the beatings with rifles.

We want to testify about the people who were disappeared, those who were imprisoned and those who were tortured.

There have been many forms of torture – the burning, the stabbing of the genitals, the rape of women.

These are some of the injustices that we want the world to know.

On some days bombs have fallen like rain. We have been up against Hercules aircraft and helicopters and boats. They had overwhelming power.

And after the massacres or murders, the injustices always continue.

Rather than acknowledge the truth, they tell lies.

The perpetrators are promoted not punished, while the victims are dragged into court.

Some of us have spent years in prison. One of us was jailed for 15 years simply for raising our Morning Star flag.

Over years we have faced one injustice after another and then another.
There has been violation after violation since 1963. Entire villages have been destroyed. And Papuan people have been turned against other Papuans.

Injustices continue to this day. Today we face human rights violations, economic injustice, and every week thousands more migrants come in white ships and planes. We are becoming a minority in our land.

Those who resist face continuing discrimination. We are excluded from employment, education and health care. And for women, it has been worse.
They suffered the rapes and assaults and then even more. They were shamed by their own families and often marriages broke apart. These are forms of double injustice and women’s suffering that no one should ever have to face.

These are just some of the injustices that we are testifying to today.
We want the world to know about this.

We also want to testify to the effects of these injustices

Some of our bodies bear the scars.

And so do our souls. We will never forget the sound of the killings.
Some of us still feel the fear. For those who fled we don’t know if we will be safe when we return.

Other survivors have been left with physical disabilities and troubles in the mind.

The rapes brought shame – so much shame that some women did not seek medical help.

And sometimes survivors may feel guilty for being alive. The killings can make us doubt that we have a right to live.

There have been effects for children too. Fear came to the children who did not go to school for months.

When the foreigners have taken our land, cut down our forests and destroyed our rivers, this destruction affects us too. The loss of our sacred places has brought sickness to our people.

And sometimes we feel like we are slaves in our own land. Some of us have to struggle everyday just to feed our families and send our children to school.

But there is more that we want you to know.

We want you to know our testimonies of remembrance.

We are survivors and also witnesses. We have always remembered those who were killed. We will remember them until we die.

There are many ways that we do this.

We have cultural ways of joining in memory and in prayer. We place stones or wreaths of flowers. And there are traditional songs that we use to connect us with those who have died and with the ancestors. These are songs we can sing to those who have passed. We do this in a quiet place, a garden, a beach.

Or we remember through making statues of our loved ones, or photos, or lighting candles. We commune with our ancestors.

But we never forget them. They are with us. Those of us who are still alive have a responsibility to keep progressing the struggle. I have dreams of those who were killed in the jungle. They come to me in my dreams and they encourage me to keep going. I dreamt of them just last week. I listen to their voices.

If they knew that we were meeting together now, if they knew that we were gathering this testimony, they would be very happy. This would mean something to them.

They have gone over there to another world. We will always remember them.

We also want you to know the stories of our resistance, action and rescue

Our people have a long, long history of resistance. We Papuans have been resisting outsiders for centuries. Back to the 1850s, the Dutch who were seeking to protect their spice trade, faced more than 40 Papuan rebellions – both violent and nonviolent. Diverse tribes came together to resist. Angganeta Menufandu, a Konor (indigenous prophet) from Biak Island, led a mass defiance of government and mission bans on wor (ritual singing and dancing) and urged her followers not to pay taxes and to withhold labor. When the Japanese invaded, towards the end of World War Two, they were initially welcomed but, after acts of cruelty, the movement for a free and independent West Papua began again. The killings and massacres began in these times. And our resistance continued.

Our struggle for freedom continued after WWII when the US drove the Japanese out of West Papua at the cost of thousands of lives. And since
1963 we have resisted Indonesian government rule.

We remember our long history of resistance. This history raises us up.
We carry it on.

Many of us have formed organisations of action. We come together for survivors of human rights abuses, for women, for people all over Papua.
We form resistance groups. We are students, young people, older people, women, men, religious leaders and traditional leaders. We take action on behalf of those who are living and those who are no longer alive.

Some of us, who witnessed massacres, were involved in acts of rescue on the days when bullets were raining down, and when the sky was on the fire. After the Biak Massacre our family gave shelter to two men who were fleeing for their lives. My father gave them his clothes. He sat my sisters on their laps. We sat down quietly and we opened all the doors and all the windows. When the soldiers came in with all their weaponry, we stood there shaking. As they held their guns at us, and asked us if we were hiding anyone, we said no. We were all shaking, my father, my sisters, myself, but we survived, and the two men survived too. For four days they stayed with us. We had almost no food but my mother found a way to feed us. We are survivors, rescuers and resistors.

Right across Papua, and for so many years, we have continued to resist, to rescue and to raise the Morning Star. When we cannot fly our flag we have painted it on our bodies, stitched it into noken string bags. When one of us was imprisoned for 15 years for raising our flag, he was offered amnesty if he apologised, but he refused. ‘Why should I say sorry? I have done nothing wrong. It is the Indonesian state who has to say sorry. And not just to me but to all the Papuan people. They have to return our sovereignty.’

And even though it is risky for us there are many times we have come out on to the streets in our thousands, even in our tens of thousands, to demand freedom.

These are just some of our stories of resistance. There are stories of resistance all over Papua.

We want you to know that building unity is not easy – but we are doing it

The Indonesian government and corporations use many methods to divide us. To turn Papuans against Papuans. If some people raise their voice, the company will come – or the government will come – and say, ‘Hey come into the office, let’s talk.’ They then give that person money, or a scholarship, or a good job. These are some of the ways our opponent uses to break our resistance.

But we keep taking steps to come together. There is a long history to this. When the Amungme have a problem we build a traditional house. In this house – this Tongoi – people come, sit down and talk. We invite every leader and chief from every village. People come together in one mind. When people then go out of the Tongoi they are going to bring a change. These are traditional ways of calling up assistance. In our culture, no one can stand up by themselves. Everyone needs everyone.

So we keep taking steps to come together. We have now formed the United Liberation Movement for West Papua. Inside this United Movement are the National Federal Republic of West Papua (NFRWP), the West Papua National Coalition of Liberation (WPNCL), National Committee for West Papua (KNPB), National Parliament for West Papua (PNWP) and other non-affiliated groups. We are strengthening our struggle and as we do so more and more people join us. People in other Pacific nations are raising their voices.

Our resistance is like a mat or noken – many strands woven together to become one.

Our resistance is like a spear, sharp and dangerous.

Our resistance is like a drum that speaks with the voices of the ancestors.

We want you to know about Papuan skills in survival

Despite all the injustices we have faced, we are survivors and we have many skills. We are wise about when to speak, when to stay quiet, and when to sing our songs. Some of these songs were written in prison for the future of West Papua. Some of our singers have been arrested and murdered. But we continue to sing freedom.

We also have our dances. We wear our traditional dress, and dance traditional Papuan dances. Our Papuan culture helps us to love and care for one another. When we live inside our culture we are free.

We have prayer, faith in Jesus Christ, and God as our witness.

And we have each other. We are among friends and we want to acknowledge all those who have stood with us.

There are other Papuan survival skills too.

Like mothers’ skills of endurance. Mothers who sell fruit and vegetables to feed their families and send their children to school display their produce on hessian mats by the side of the road. Rain, hail, sun and dust they sit. They survive.

Some of us travelled by canoe with 43 others all the way to Australia to seek another life. Years later, some of us sailed back to West Papua with the Freedom Flotilla. The West Papuans, Aboriginal elders and other Australian supporters on board the Flotilla carried a message of peace and solidarity, and reignited ancient connections.

And we have skills in humour, in jokes and in laughter. Even in the hardest times, we pray, we sing, we dance, and somehow we find a way to laugh.

We want you to know about our hopes and our dreams

We carry a big hope together … a free West Papua. We have held onto this hope for many, many years.

As we lift up these injustices to the light, then all the other cases will also be lifted up.

And we carry a hope for justice – international justice, western justice, West Papuan justice, spiritual justice.

That is why we are testifying today.

We are sharing with you testimonies of injustice.

We are speaking about the effects of these injustices.

We are sharing testimonies of remembrance.

We are sharing stories of resistance, action and rescue.

We are sharing the ways we build unity.

We are sharing our Papuan survival skills.

And we are testifying to our hopes and to our dreams.

What we are testifying here has been an open secret. We have always known this, God has always known this, but now you will know it too.

This means that now you are also witnesses.

So these stories and our hopes will now also be carried by you.

Thank you.

..

Biodata: Jason MacLeod is an organiser, researcher and educator. He is the author of the just-published book ‘Merdeka and the Morning Star: civil resistance in West Papua’.
 This testimony was written in collaboration with Mama Tineke and Daniel Rayer, two West Papuan activists who survived the Biak Massacre, and David Denborough from the Dulwich Centre. It contains the voices of many of the people of West Papua Jason has collaborated with and is in part based on a similar testimony developed for the Biak Massacre Citizens Tribunal.

Indonesia’s Colonial Transmigration is intentional annihilation of Papua’s Indigenous peoples

THE INTENTIONAL ANNIHILATION OF THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLES OF PAPUA BY THE GOVERNMENT THROUGH THE TRANSMIGRATION APPROACH

Special analysis and investigation

By Santon Tekege

This piece was originally sent to be published for the International Day of Peace, September 21, however given its length, editing translation has taken several weeks.

papua vs indon population breakdown graph
Population growth charts of indigenous Papuans vs transmigrants under Indonesian occupation (Illustrative Graph: Awikaituma)

Introduction

I write these words with tears falling down my face. As an indigenous Papuan I feel like I have been expelled from my own land. It’s as if we have been removed far away from the land of Papua, like the land is being purged of all indigenous Papuans. My people have become observers of all the changes that we are being subjected to and of all the games and manoeuvres being played out by the Indonesian Government in Papua. I ask myself what I have done wrong, such that I as one of the owners of this land should have been pushed to the margins in this way. Marginalised and expelled from my own land.

 

The marginalisation of the indigenous Papuan population is happening not only as a result of the flood of non-Papuans arriving in the land week after week, but also is being contributed to by the low birth rates of indigenous Papuans at this time, whilst there is also an continuous increase in their death rate. The native peoples of the land of Papua are being annihilated intentionally by the Indonesian Government. Annihilated on the soil of their own ancestors.

Marginalisation of the Indigenous Papuan Community through Transmigration.

 The plan of the central Indonesian Government at this time to restart the transmigration program to Papua, is a matter of great concern. Not only for Papuans themselves, but it should also be of great concern for others as in every location where Papuans are being increasingly pushed out to the margins there is a growing risk of conflict at some future date.

As has been previously reported in the national Indonesian media, Marwan Jafar – recently appointed by President Widodo as the Minister for Villages, Transmigration and the Development of Undeveloped Regions – has stated that there would be a new program that would take residents from the overpopulated regions of Java to the still underpopulated region of Papua. Jafar stated that he would carry out a large scale socialisation of the area in stages, and that he’d work closely with the Indonesian military and police to ensure safety for the new transmigrants so they felt safe to make the shift to a transmigration area (see Antara 5 November 2014).

In response, Cypri Jehan Paju Dale, a researcher who since 2012 has been carrying out research into social issues in Papua, has stated that a new transmigration program would worsen the already occurring marginalisation of the indigenous Papuan population. Dale together with an activist Pastor John Djonga in 2011 wrote “The Papuan Paradox”.  He stated that at this time there is a real feeling of dread amongst Papuans. They are anxious as they can already see the reality that the numbers of non-Papuans is continuing to rapidly increase as Non-Papuans quickly become a growing majority of the population in Papua. Those anxieties already are very much present amongst Papuans, so to hear that the Government is going to relocate yet more transmigrants, causes people great concern indeed. They are well aware that this will make the already existing threat even more immediate and increase the level of injustices against indigenous Papuans.

By way of background, the transmigration program has been in operation in Indonesia since the 1950’s when today’s Indonesian was still partly under Dutch control. The program failed continuously throughout the Suharto era. He then went on to be removed as president in 1998. According to Dale’s research the extent of numbers of transmigrants that have been moved to Papua from other islands in the archipelago have changed the demographics of Papua such that in recent years the indigenous Papuan sector of the population has been reduced to below 50 percent of the total population.

As can be seen clearly on the map below, according to 2003 census data the relative proportions of indigenous Papuans and non-Papuans were at that time 52% and 48% respectively, from a total population of 1.9 million. By 2010 census data showed indigenous Papuans having reduced to 49% compared to non-Papuans 51%, from a total population of 2,833,381.

Demographic dispersal in Papua
Demographic dispersal in Papua

In some kabupaten (local administration areas) the numbers of non-Papuans are now much higher than the numbers of indigenous Papuans. In Keerom kabupaten for example according to the 2010 census, the total of indigenous persons in the population was only 40.64%. Similarly in the Merauke kabupaten it was only 37.34% indigenous, in Mimika 41.36% , Nabire 39.90%, Sorong 40.03%, Fakfak 41.78% and in Manokwari 49.45%. In the main towns of every kabupaten in both provinces – Papua and West Papua – the non-Papuans now exceed the numbers of indigenous Papuans (refer to the map above for detail).

According to the Writer not only has there been a change in demographics but also an imbalance in economics of the Papuan and non-Papuan sectors of the society. With non-Papuans having taken control of all the economic centres in the main towns and cities, whilst the larger majority of the indigenous population continues to be spread throughout the interior living with very minimal facilities. The benefits of development seen through the Special Autonomy program in Papua have been and continue to be enjoyed primarily by non-Papuans (despite continuous claims that it is indigenous Papuans who are benefiting). This is what Papuans refer to as development that has been ‘snatched by the transmigrants’.  There are very small number of Papuans who are enjoying those fruits of Special Autonomy, but they are a very small group only of the Papuan elite. By far the larger majority of indigenous Papuans are far from being able to access any benefits such as those that are being espoused to the wider public.

A key figure of the Amungme community in Timika kabupaten, Papua Mr Thomas Wanmang, has stated in an interview that his people have experienced many injustices as a result of the large influx of non-Papuans into their area. This includes those who have come through transmigration programs and others who have transmigrated independently of those formal programs. Wanmang claims that the transmigration process at this time is itself what is causing the increasingly serious lack of attention that is being shown by the government towards the indigenous sector of the Papuan population. “As Papuans we are being given nothing whatsoever. What’s happening is that those who have transmigrated here are being spoilt and treated like they are something special.” He stressed that the presence of the transmigrants is creating a sense of jealousy in Papuan circles. “As we as the owners of this land meanwhile can’t go forward.”

The Papuan Provincial Governor Lukas Enembe in an interview with Tabloid Jubi in Jayapura on 5 November 2014 firmly stated his rejection of the plan of Minister Marwan Jafar to reactivate the Transmigration Program.  According to Enembe further transmigration would result in the needs of the indigenous population being increasingly ignored and of them becoming an increasing minority in their own land.  In that interview Enembe admitted that the Papuan population had already become much smaller than the non-Papuan sector.  He went on to say that it wasn’t the Papuan provincial government that had agreed to the new transmigration program but rather the new government of Jokowi. “Indigenous Papuans are now small in number and the government is not able to treat them any better than this. So why would yet more people be tranmigrated from Java? For this reason there is as yet no plan in place (by the Papuan Provincial Government) to bring more transmigrants here.”

 

The need for serious attention to the situation.

 The invasion of Papua by peoples from other regions of the Indonesian archipelago has increasingly become a mechanism of colonialism, a way of taking control of a region through a policy of systematically populating the area with a new people. A human invasion into Papua which has been accompanied by a ‘securitisation’ of the region by the State which is so very excessive. A securitisation which includes the practice of torture and which controls and oppresses the Papuan people by every political means possible.

An awareness of the potentially negative effects of further transmigration on the indigenous Papuan population were obviously evident to Minister Marwan Jafar as reflected by his statement that the Ministers would work together with the Indonesian military and police to make Papua safe for transmigrants. This is even worse than the colonialism experienced by Papuans during the period when the Dutch held the colonial power in the archipelago. The numbers of the Dutch were largely limited to those on the islands of Nusantara. Whereas at this time Papuans have become a minority in all the major towns and cities throughout Papua.

Many at this time are saying that Indonesian has been extremely effective in colonising Papua. They have ‘achieved’ that by applying policies and practices that have involved major risks. Risks of future problems that are hard to even imagine at this time. It is for this reason that some parties have been lobbying President Jokowi to place a moratorium on transmigration to Papua. However it is very clear that Indonesia needs a continuing mechanism for the ongoing organised invasion of Papua such that the Papuan people become increasingly marginalised and become as if foreigners in their own native land. “There must be constant pressure created by policies towards indigenous Papuans and in particular in the areas of economics, education and health” Jafar explained.

 

The critical importance of dialogue at this time between Papua and the central government has been stressed by humanitarian organisations, churches, lecturers and university aged students. For so long dialogue has been called for. “Within the forum of dialogue all problems can be spoken of openly, be put on the table for resolution” Pastor John Djonga stated. Proper Dialogue, did not impose any limitations on the framework under discussion, for example final full independence (Merdeka harga mati) or non-negotiable final acceptance of remaining with NKRI.

“At the same time as stressing the importance of bringing an end to the problems of history which are indeed complex (WPM: Demand of “Rectification of History”), dialogue is also considered as one way which can bring about an appropriate solution to the many urgent problems that people are observing each day with their own eyes. Problems including marginalisation of Papuans, being made a minority in their own land, and injustices related to the transfer of a population to the land of Papua” he continued.

Pastor John Djonga has also urged the government to carry out an overall evaluation of the results of the practice of transmigration until this time. He points out one particular effect of the transmigration which has been the lack of regard of the Indonesian government for the ways of the indigenous Papuan community. He writes of the practice of the government which has been to take land from Papuans for giving to transmigrants. He explains that in Papuan culture the land is held communally, whereas the government persists in just approaching a very few people nominated by the tribal head, with the money given for the land is then split between those few only. He stresses “whereas in reality that land is the property of the entire community concerned. This creates the seed of division in a community that until that time was strong and united.”

Pastor Djonga himself acknowledges that it’s impossible to close ones eyes to the imbalance that now exists between the indigenous Papuans and the transmigrants. He points out that the newcomers arrive with high levels of motivation to improve their standard of living and willingness to work hard to do so. What’s more they come already having certain skills, whereas Papuans have an attitude of going along just as normal and they continue with their usual traditional way of life. With the consequence that the gap between the races is progressively widening.”  However he says, the situation as it is in this regard cannot be blamed totally on the work ethic of the Papuans, as “for a long time now Papuans have not been receiving any serious attention from the government.” According to Pastor Djonga the government must not force further transmigration on the Papuan community. “Don’t let it get to the point that the government plants further seeds of problems. The transmigrants will also then be responsible for the consequences.”

 

Similar views have been expressed by Gunawan Iggeruhi, a 30 year old human rights activist in Papua, who said “it is better that the government listens first to the voices of Papuans before they go ahead and make policies that are totally rejected by the people of Papua.”

According to Iggeruhi, until this time Papuans have appeared on the surface to respond to the arrival of the countless transmigrants like it was nothing extraordinary, “however the reality is that Papuans inside are carrying constant wounds in their hearts over the massive transmigration.

“Wounds that have not been allowed to heal due to the incessant actions of the government against the Papuan people; actions which have become increasingly serious”. Iggeruhi continued, “to stop those wounds continuing to deepen the transmigration needs to stop and truly allow the real life of indigenous Papuans to be planted in this land so that they do not forever feel like they are treated as second class citizens.”

It is now visibly apparent that the proportion of indigenous Papuans is progressively decreasing each month in Papua. This is contributed to by the low birth rates together with the increasing death rates amongst Papuans. This is in comparison to the birth rates of Non-Papuans in the land which are rapidly increasing whilst the death rates of Non-Papuans are at a real minimum. These realities need to be considered together with other factors and in particular that the number of migrants coming to Papua continue to grow and that all towns, cities and in fact every corner of Papua have now been taken over by Non-Papuans. As a result the indigenous Papuan population is now on a path heading towards extinction. It has been estimated that if the current trends continue that indigenous Papuans may be no longer by the year 2040.

 

The claim that indigenous Papuans will be ‘wiped out’ by the year 2040

 What has the life of indigenous Papuans been like since they became a part of the Republic of Indonesia, and how has that reflected in changing population statistics from prior eras to now? Results of research by Dr. Jim Elmslie & Dr. Camellia Webb Gannon from the University of Sydney’s Peace & Conflict Studies in Australia are very telling. Two years following the 1969 Act of Free Choice in 1971, indigenous Papuans comprised 96% of the population (887,000 out of the total 923,000 population). Whilst the Non-Papuan total at that time was stated as 36,000 (4% of the population). Within 53 years of Papua being part of Indonesia the total of Non-Papuans has reached 53% at 1.956 million, whilst the indigenous Papuan population has decreased to 1.7 million being 47% of the total population.

papua vs indon population breakdown graph

The data published by Dr Elmslie & Dr Webb-Gannon from Australia has since been re-analysed by a Mr Ir. Yan Awikaitumaa Ukago, M.M in Papua (10 August 2015), who used a method involving the use of non-linear segregation graphics mathematics (refer diagram above). According to Ukago “The growth of the indigenous Papuan population (shown by the red line in the diagram) tended to stagnate over a period of a decade and declined following 2005. Meaning that from 1971 until 2004 the numbers of Indigenous Papuans in Papua were still dominant (shown by the red area). However following that year the numbers of Non-Papuans (shown by the yellow area) became dominant. Reading from the diagram, the red line is the graphic representation of the growth rate of indigenous Papuans, whereas the yellow refers to the growth rate of the Non-Papuan sector of the population. It appears that the total of Non-Papuans at the start in 1971 was very few. However the population of that sector increased until in 2004 it was equal with that of Papuans (when the Papuan sector numbered 1.65 million (50%) and the Non-Papuan sector also numbered 1.65 million (50%). From 2005 onwards the growth rate of Indigenous Papuans tended to fall whilst that of Non-Papuans sharply rose and even more so in the era of Special Autonomy in Papua.”

Based on his segregation analysis (shown by the dotted lines in the diagram above), it is estimated that by the year 2025 the population of indigenous Papuans will have fallen to 1.5 million persons (36%) whilst the Non-Papuan population will have risen to 2.7 million persons (64% of the total population). Furthermore, under such conditions where there is no protection of the race, it is expected that the indigenous Papuans will become extinct by the year 2040. This means that “by 2040 the population in Papua will have reached 6 million but it will not be indigenous Papuans who will own the land” Ukago stated.

The decline in the population of indigenous Papuans was acknowledged by the previous Governor of the Papuan Province, Barnabas Suebu S.H, in his written address at the official appointment of the Merauke Bupati on 8 January 2011. According to then Governor Suebu “Indigenous Papuans are going to continue to decline in number as a consequence particularly of the migration of Non-Papuans, which is in turn the result of the growth of the (Indonesian) population which is the highest in the world (at 5.7%) per annum …. Accordingly the division into new kabupatens must not result in causing indigenous Papuans to become separated from and even forcibly removed from their ancestors’ lands.”

According to a population census carried out in 2010 in the West Papuan Province the number of indigenous Papuans in that province was 760,000, amounting to 51.67% of the total population in the province. That is, the populations of Papuan and non-Papuan in the western province were reported as being roughly equal. The head of the BPS (Badan Pusat Statistik or Indonesia’s Central Statistics Body, which carried out the census) Tanda Siriat stated that BPS applied six criteria in collecting data to determine who was categorised as ‘indigenous Papuans’.

  1. Any person with both the mother and father were indigenous Papuans.
  2. Any person with a father who was indigenous Papuan but the mother of non-Papuan descent.
  3. Any person with a mother who was indigenous Papuan but the father of non-Papuan descent.
  4. Any person who was non-ethnic Papuan but through Papuan traditional customary law and as acknowledged by the Papuan community was regarded as an indigenous Papuan.
  5. Any person who was non-ethnic Papuan but who had been adopted or was acknowledged through family name as having been adopted into the indigenous Papuan community.
  6. Any person who had been living continuously in Papua for more than 25 years.

Jim Elmslie’s “Slow Motion Genocide in Land of Papua”

 Jim Elmslie in his book, “West Papuan Demographic Transition and the 2010 Indonesian Census: “Slow Motion Genocide” or not?” (University of Sydney, Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies) states that as at 1971 the indigenous Papuan population was 887,000. Then by 2000 it had risen to 1,505,405, a growth on average of 1.84% per year. Whereas he reports the total of Non-Papuans in 1971 was 36,000 which he claims rose to 708,425 by the year 2000, with an average yearly growth rate of 10.82%.

So that by mid-2010 according to Elmslie, the total of indigenous Papuans had reached 1,730.336 (47.89% of the population) whilst Non-Papuans had that same year reached 1,882,517 (52.10%). By the end of 2010 the respective populations had reached: Indigenous Papuans 1,760,557 (48.73%) and Non-Papuans, 1,852,297 (51.27%), giving the figure he states for the total population in 2010 of 3,612,854 (100%).

Elmslie estimates that by 2020 with these current trends that the overall combined population of Papua will have reached 7,287,463, comprising a forecast total of indigenous Papuans 2,112,681 (28.99% ) and Non-Papuans 5,174,782 (71.01%), indicating a slower population growth rate of indigenous Papuans than of Non-Papuans. In his analysis of the reasons for the difference Elmslie points out that apart from the impact of social factors and human rights violations, the primary cause is the transmigration of population from outside of Papua which is excessive.

The Head of the BPS in the Papuan Province Ir. J.A. Djarot Soetanto, MM has criticised Elmslie’s analysis of the situation when he claims the problem is intentional acts of genocide or the annihilation of indigenous Papuans. According to Soetanto that is untrue. He made a very different conclusion stating that the census data for Papua for the year 2010 pointed to a total combined population of 2,833,381 of which indigenous Papuans were still the majority with 76% as compared to Non-Papuans of only 24%.

It is the opinion of Yan Ukago that if indigenous Papuans were asked which of these two interpretations they believed was correct, that he has no doubt they would agree with the reports of the BPS census in each respective province, the conclusions of Jim Elmslie and the Papuan Governor’s statement as stated above. There’s a number of reasons for this. Firstly that Papuans are now so far removed from trusting the government in Papua which has tended to act in the interests of the central Indonesian government until now. Secondly the death rates of Papuans from babies through to adult ages has continued to rise and that is obvious to people from everyday observation. Thirdly every week Papuans see large number of Non-Papuans arriving from other parts of Indonesia by ocean going boats and planes. And then of course the fact that the history of the integration of Papua into Indonesia is regarded by Papuans as most unjust. Furthermore as Papuans’ human rights have been ignored until now such that they never feel free to live as human beings even on their own ancestors land.

It is the Writer’s observation that the butchery that has occurred against the Papuan community has actually become an intentional agenda of Indonesian government tradition. Those implementing that agenda have had two approaches. The first is overt. This has been carried out through military regional operations, shootings, creating so called local conflict, intentional creation of situations of violence, a range of stigmatism against indigenous Papuans including their alleged stupidity, the use of homebrew alcohol {WPM Eds: strong, often tainted or poisoned alcohol distributed by intelligence and military operatives believed by many Papuans to be a tool of genocide}.

The second is the covert approach of killing, which Papuans refer to as ‘slow motion genocide’. This continues to take place by way of kidnappings, killings, poisoning through food and drink, the intentional introduction of HIV/AIDS into Papua through prostitution, injection needles and tattoos, and HIV infection through {bad sexual health practices through the use of} alcohol. And so the list goes on. The overall impact of both approaches being the dramatic and continual decline of the indigenous Papuan population.

 

Conclusion

Many calls from the Papuan community are heard constantly as to the steps required to solve the problems of Papua. These are the offers of dialogue between Jakarta and Papua, a referendum and the third, independence for Papua. To dilute the lack of acceptance of the status quo, there have been efforts from the provincial governments and the Central Government to improve the quality of life of Indigenous Papuans.

 

The Indonesian Government would do well at this time to invite an international census team to independently carry out a census through the entire region of Papua, to verify whether the BPS or alternatively the KPU (General Election Commission) version is reflective of reality. Accurate data from an international source such as this could be just what they need to counter Elmslie’s data and analyses, as this matter has become really a thorn in the side for Indonesia. Elmslie’s data published by Sydney University is perceived as a threat to Indonesia’s sovereignty over Papua. (WPM Editorial note: The Writer is not implying Elmslie’s data is incorrect, rather making the case that the only way for Indonesian to counter this data is through the conduct of a free and unimpeded census by an international team.)

If Indonesia’s butchery is allowed to continue then sooner or later the Land of Papua will be surely have to be released from the Republic of Indonesia as a direct result of the treatment of the indigenous peoples of Papua already being classified as ‘slow motion genocide’. A genocide that has been allowed to happen through the application of a range of approaches by Indonesia that have killed and violated the human rights of the people of the land. As has been seen time and time again in the killings by the Indonesian Armed Forces that have become known locally as ‘Paniai Berdarah’ (‘berdarah’ referring to a flowing of blood), ‘Biak Berdarah’, ‘Wamena Berdarah.’ ‘Timika Berdarah’ and others. These conditions paint a picture of a land that exists at the threshold of extinction.

 

This means of course that a part of the Melanesian race is drowning in the bosom of Motherland (Indonesian state). If what is happening in Papua is a ‘slow motion genocide’, then surely we will see support come for Papua to be set free, not only from the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) and Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), but also surely in time from the members of ASEAN and other nations. The Indonesian Government will undoubtedly view that support when it comes as if those nations want to see the land of Papua released by Indonesia to independence; however their efforts are really intended to try and save indigenous Papuans from extinction.

“I dedicate this writing on the International Day of Peace.”

Timika, Papua. 21 September 2015

Brother Santon Tekege is a Pastoral Support Worker in the Diocese of Timika, Papua.  He chooses to publish under his own name, however his safety is monitored 24 hours a day by an international protection network.  (please give at West Papua Media to support our monitoring efforts for writers and journalists at risk in West Papua.)

Leading Indonesian NGO Condemns the continued use of Treason Charges against Papuans

by ALDP (Alliance  for Democracy in Papua)

Opinion/Statement

September  6, 2013

68 YEARS SINCE INDONESIA BECAME INDEPENDENT, TREASON [MAKAR] IS STILL BEING USED AGAINST PAPUANS.

The  Indonesian people recently celebrated the 68th anniversary of their independence on 17 August 2013.   What lessons can we draw from this anniversary in order to resolve problems faced by our people who experience so many problems in various parts of the country,  especially in regions where there is conflict such as Aceh and Papua?

Especially with regard to Papua, it is not acceptable for the articles about treason  to be used any more.   This is because for a country that is now based on democratic principles, it clearly violates these principles.  Furthermore, the law on treason which is still included in Indonesia’s Criminal Code is no longer used in the country where it originated [The Netherlands].  The continued use of these articles will only widen the gap between Papua and Indonesia and lead to acts of violence because of  feelings of revenge about history, or may cause friction between different groups of people.

These articles on treason are always held ready for use against activists or anyone who demands justice and the right to express their views in public, in accordance  with the right to freedom of expression.

The treason articles were first included in the Criminal Code in the 19th century. The Dutch Minister of Justice adamantly refused a move to include an article on treason which could be applicable to anyone.  He said:  ‘These articles should be enacted to meet the needs of a colonial territory and should not be applicable to  European countries.’

The articles on treason were adopted by the Dutch colonial government and were based on Article 124 of the British Indian Penal Code.  In 1915. The Indian Supreme Court and the East Punjab High Court declared that they were invalid because they contradicted the Indian Constitution which upheld the principle of freedom of expression.  In The Netherlands, these articles were regarded as being undemocratic.   However, the Dutch East Indies government made use of the articles in their colonial territories.

In this day and age, several decades after Indonesia declared its independence, these articles should no longer be applicable to citizens of the country, including Papuans, bearing in mind that Papua is not a colony of Indonesia. {Eds – This statement does not reflect WPM’s position}

In judicial terms, treason is a unilateral act against the authorities, for the purpose of ensuring that part of its territory falls into enemy hands or should be ceded in order to become part of another state.

The crime of treason  is regulated under Articles 104 to 129 of the Criminal Code – KUHP.  Treason is also classified as a crime against the president and vice-president [the head of state and/or the head of a rival state], against the legitimate government or against government agencies, being involved in espionage on behalf of the enemy, resistance to government officials, rebellion and other activities that are directed against state interests.  Treason is also committed against the government (the head of state and his/her deputy) for the main purpose being to render an individual incapable of governing, to annihilate the country’s independence, to overthrow the government, to change the system of governance by unlawful means, to undermine state sovereignty by  separating part of the country on behalf of another country, or to create an independent state.

The crimes of spreading hatred or incitement are dealt with in Articles  154, 155 and 156 of the Criminal Code. These articles state that ‘public statements which express feelings of hostility or are offensive to the government’ are regarded as crimes as well as public statements which support such sentiments. These articles are punishable for up seven years.

During the era of the late President Soeharto, these articles were frequently used to restrict freedom of expression. They were also used against political opponents, critics, students and human rights defenders in order to silence them. The people in power used these articles like rubber, something which can be pulled in any direction as a way of restricting the right to freedom of expression.

Nowadays, in {after} the era of ‘reformasi’, the articles are frequently used to bring charges against pro-democracy activists.  In Papua. They are used in every way possible against pro-democracy activists on occasions when it has not been possible to charge them for involvement in treasonous activities.

In a report published by Human Rights Watch (HRW) in 2007, ‘Protest and the Punishment of Political Prisoners in Papua’ , Indonesia was mentioned as one of the countries where exceptions and restrictions apply that are in conflict with the basic principle of freedom of opinion. HRW drew attention to the many cases of people being arrested and imprisoned simply because they took part in peaceful protest or for peacefully raising flags. This is in violation of international law on basic human rights.  Indonesian courts frequently apply the law on ‘spreading hatred’ or ‘incitement’  towards people who are exercising their right to freedom of expression. These clauses also violate the spirit of the Indonesian Constitution which was adopted when the country became independent in 1945.

There is a tendency in Papua for a court, having been unable to prove that treason was committed, to use the crime of incitement. The articles about treason  were used when Indonesia was a Dutch colony to charge individuals or groups of people with rebellion. But these days, ‘the articles on treason are used against the civilian population when they publicly express their aspirations,’ said Harry Maturbongs, the former co-ordinator of KontraS.

A lawyer in Papua, Gustaf Kawer, said that the tendency of courts and prosecutors to use the charge of incitement when they are unable to prove that treason has been committed, is a sign that the court is apprehensive and wants to avoid the possibility of people who have been charged making counter-charges against the state, where the case against them had not be proven.

It is often the case that pro-peace Papuan activists who are brought before the courts are charged on several counts for a variety of misdemeanours.  In the trial of Buchtar Tabuni in 2010, he was charged under five articles.  Article 106 and Article 110, as well as Article 160, Article 212 and Article 218, for treason, for incitement and for disobeying an order by an official.  Another group of people were sentenced and convicted for treason. Forkorus Yaboisembut and his colleagues were arrested by the police for organising the Third Papuan People’s Congress on 19 October, 2011.  [After formally declaring the establishment of an independent Federated State of Papua] ‘President’ Forkorus, along with his Prime Minister Edison G. Waromi, were arrested with others who were involved in organising the Congress, Dominikus Surabut, Agus M. Sananay Kraar and Selfius Bobii. They were charged by a team of prosecutors headed by Yulius D.

Even today In 2013, the treason article continues to be used. A group of men were recently charged. They are Klemens Kodimko (71 years old), Obeth Kamesrar (68 years old), Antonius Saruf (62 years old), Obaja Kamesrar (52 years old), Yordan Magablo (42 years old), Hengki Mangamis (39 years ) and Isak Klebin (52 years old) . They were charged at the first hearing of their trial in a court in Sorong on Monday, 19 August 2013.

A spokesman for the police in Papua, I Gede Sumerta Jaya, said that the men were charged with treason because they are leaders of the OPM (Organisasi Papua Merdeka) or of radical groups that are active planning or speaking out in favour of resistance to the legitimate government.

Earlier this year, on 30 April, hundreds of people gathered at a posko  [a small construction] which they had  just set up. They sang together as they gathered there on 30 April to make preparations to celebrate 1 May on the following day.  While they were singing, shooting was heard aimed in the direction of the posko. The shots came from some people aboard an avanza vehicle with darkened windows, accompanied by a police patrol vehicle.

[Translated by TAPOL]

Paniai sweeps intensify misery under Indonesian control as security forces ban music and torture priest

by West Papua Media

March 6, 2013

Local residents in Paniai regency are bracing for more repression in sweep operations by Indonesian security forces after two separate incidents across the Paniai have intensified ongoing crackdowns on West Papuan independence sentiment, torturing a  local priest and even banning the possession of traditional music.

The latest crackdown, imposed in Paniai after guerrillas from Paniai commander Jhon Yogi’s Paniai unit of the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPN-PB) were involved in armed engagements with the Indonesian army (TNI) and Police throughout February .

Reliable human rights sources in Paniai have reported to West Papua Media that an influx of joint TNI and police have “arrived with total war equipment” to bolster sweeps and raids across Paniai against civilians accused of holding pro-independence sentiments.

“In order to confront the TPN PB and on orders from President SBY, a brigade of TNI / Police have arrived with total war equipment. There were drops of TNI/POLRI in Paniai on 3 March 2013. The brigade arrived by 7 ‘Inova’ vehicles via the coast road,” the source told West Papua Media.

Helicopters belonging to illegal gold miners in Degouwo were again being used by Indonesian troops to support the operation, similar to the massive offensive against Paniai people during 2011 and early 2012, according to both human rights and church sources.

“A yellow and white helicopter owned by an illegal business in Degouwo at 13.00 WPB (west Papua time) made two drops of personnel and logistical war equipment. The first drop was to the Enarotali airport in Paniai district, and the second helicopter drop of the brigade forces together with war equipment was at Obano also, in the west of Paniai district,” the human rights source told West Papua Media.

Independent sources are also reporting that Indonesian colonial occupation forces are putting massive pressure on local civilians, with routine violations of civilian’s dignity, and arbitrary strip searches, that have created opportunities for brutality and torture on local people.

The notorious battalion 753 from Nabire has erected scores of “state of emergency tents” every 5-10 kilometres along the main road between Nabire and Paniai, according to witnesses. “TNI are carrying out very strict checking of everything. The TNI from unit 753 are undoing the clothes of every passenger in the area to check them including females. Advocacy and monitoring is requested,” said the human rights worker.

Military Destruction of traditional culture amounting to cultural genocide
Papuan independent media outlet Tabloid Jubi  has reported remarkable accounts of the extraordinary measures Indonesian police commandos from Paniai police headquarters are taking to destroy traditional Papuan culture by banning music.

Father Saul Wanimbo, the Director of the Commission for Justice and Peace (SKP) in Timika diocese, told Tabloid Jubi that during police sweeps, local people are being forced to hand over their mobile phones.  They analyse the memory cards on the mobile phones to find songs in Papuan language, and if the memory card is found to contain either one or many Papuan folk songs, police will smash the memory card with stones, according to Fr Wanimbo.

“The police are sweeping HP (Handphone) memory cards of Enaro society (people) for the last two months,” Wanimbo told Jubi, citing his own experiences and stories directly from Enaro residents from 1-20 Febrruary 2013.  Wanimbo said that Paniai people have been so demoralised that they just accept the oppressive actions of the occupation forces.

Wanimbo said that the actions by Police were killing three values:  “There is destruction of cultural values, murder of the people’s creativity, and character assassination.”

“The situation is conditioned in such a way so that people cannot resist. How can the people fight if the area has a variety of (security force) members lurking there,” Fr Wanimbo told Jubi.  The police acts were morally and legally wrong, police could not arbitrarily violate people’s privacy for no apparent reason, and such actions must be done with a warrant, he said.

“Paniai Police must explain the meaning of this sweeps. Or the Papua Police chief must stop the actions of the Kapolresnya (local police command) men in Enaro. This is serious. We can say it’s the beginning of the genocide, ” he said.

Priest tortured by police who then demand bribe for his release

Meanwhile, again in the Paniai regional centre of Enarotoli, local human rights workers have documented a serious case of torture of a local priest.  According to human rights workers attached to the Kingmi church, at 8.30 in the morning on March 2, Reverend Yunus Gobai (55 years) was arrested, threatened and tortured by local and Brimob commando police at the Enarotali (Kapolresnya) police compound in Paniai district.

According to the report received and confirmed by West Papua Media, as a result of beating Gobai’s nose was bleeding, his upper and lower lips were split and  bleeding, and he sustained abrasions on his hands, swelling on his forehead and cuts on his head, after which he he was put in a cell at the Police Sector command (Polsek) in Enarotali.

Family members went to request his release from the Police station, but the Paniai police demanded a bribe or ransom money to free him, according to the report.  Family members reported they were forced to gather money in order to pay the police, and a Paniai member of the DPRD directly handed over to police one million rupiah (about US$103) at Polsek Paniai.  Reverend Gobai was then released at 1030am local time, and taken straight home to his village by his family, according to the report.

Rev Gobai is the former pastor and head of the council of the community of KINGMI Maranatha Nabire. According to his family, after Rev Gobai became pastor of the community he suffered from (an undefined) mental disturbance together with epilepsy.  Gobai’s family reported that he would regularly be seen “shouting for no reason or running around shouting”.

Reverend Gobai was arrested after exhibiting these symptoms outside the police station in Enarotoli, causing his arrest, but police did not treat the issue as an illness and used unwarranted torture and inhumane treatment on the pastor, according to the report.

(WPM Editor’s Comment: Whilst the KINGMI report uses unclear terminology describing the pastor’s behaviour as “mental illness”, often random outbursts of unintelligible shouting and psychotic visions are perfectly normal and accepted behaviour of Christian pentecostal pastors, Muslim imans, Hindu holy people, and almost all other religious leaders and clerics across human history.  To arrest and torture someone for this behaviour is to ignore the experience of humanity.)

Paniai is no stranger to unrestrained Indonesian security force violence and torture against local people, primarily made up of members of the Mee tribe.  Previous offensives in the  Paniai since December 2011 have displaced tens of thousands of civilians, and burnt down hundreds of villages.  Paniai was the scene of widespread military operations between 1963-1969, 1977-1978, and again in 1981-1982. During this period U.S. supplied Bronco aircraft were used to bomb villages while helicopters strafed Papuans with machine gun fire.

West Papua Media