Tag Archives: new guinea

Time to change Australia’s involvement in West Papua offensive

PRESS RELEASE: ACT FOR PEACE

Act For Peace
http://www.actforpeace.org.au/Be_Informed/Latest_News/Time_to_change_Australia_s_involvement_in_West_Papua_offens.aspx?cat=West%20Papua

23/12/2011 11:03:39 AM

Reports are emerging this week that the helicopters from which 17 West Papuans were recently shot are those of an Australian-owned mining company, Paniai Gold. Further, this ongoing Indonesian offensive involves counter-terrorism unit Detachment 88, which has been trained by Australia.

This Indonesian joint military-police offensive reportedly also burned down the villages of Toko, Badawo, Dogouto, Obayoweta, Dey, and Wamanik, with 20,000 people now displaced. Images reported in Australian and international media show more troops being deployed to West Papua.

Act for Peace is calling on the Australian Government to urgently request that the Indonesian authorities cease any attacks impacting civilians, and that Indonesia and Paniai Gold account for their alleged actions relating to the civilian deaths and forced displacement.

Media is strictly controlled in the region, making the need to pursue a full account more important. The large-scale offensive is in retaliation to the killing of two Indonesian police by Papuan guerrillas in Paniai.

Prior to this operation, in October six unarmed protesters were reportedly killed and many more injured at the Third Papuan People’s Congress.

Act for Peace, the international aid agency of the National Council of Churches in Australia, is also concerned at the targeting of church leaders and communities and the occupation of church buildings, in particular the Kingmi Theological College in Paniai, harassment of Kingmi Church of Papua Moderator the Rev. Benny Giay, and the attack on staff, students and destruction of property at the Catholic Church’s Fajar Timur Theological College in Abepura by the Indonesian police and military on October 19.

We also call on the international community to ensure the Indonesian authorities allow church and Congress leaders in West Papua freedom of expression of their views and rights without fear of persecution.

Act for Peace has supported programs in West Papua including training young community leaders, raising awareness of and helping to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS and growing small businesses to help strengthen the West Papuan economy.

West Papua is the western half of the island of New Guinea, with an indigenous Melanesian population. December 1, 2011 marks the 50th anniversary of the declaration of West Papuan independence from Holland. It was forcibly taken over by Indonesia a year later.

Reports show more than 100,000 Papuans are estimated to have died from military operations since Indonesia took control. State-sponsored migration from other parts of Indonesia has now left the indigenous Melanesians a minority in West Papua.

It is time Australia, as a good international citizen concerned about the protection of civilians, did more to ensure the safety of our neighbours.

Alistair Gee
Executive Director, Act for Peace

SIGHTS AND SOUNDS FROM THE FREEPORT DISPUTE

by Lococonut

via our partners at EngageMedia.org

A snippet of footage and chatters around the Freeport strike in West Papua. The Freeport workers’ union says it is a matter of simple “revenue transparency”, the international trade union says the dispute “has nothing to do with” West Papua politics, and a worker recorded in his video testimony that the walk-out was something “important” and worth keeping.

 05:36
video information
produced by Lococonut
produced Nov 04, 2011
FULL DESCRIPTION

The Geneva-based International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers’ Unions (ICEM), its Australian affiliated group Australia’s Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) and the Freeport Indonesia Workers’ Union, SP KEP SPSI, met in Jakarta from October 30 to November 2, 2011.

In this video, SP KEP SPSI was represented by Airan Koibur, ICEM was represented by Information and Campaign OfficerDick Blin, and Wayne McAndrew spoke for the CFMEU.

DAP chairman calls for the withdrawal of police and army from around Freeport

JUBI, 13 October 2011In connection with the shooting dead of Petrus Ayamiseba  who worked at the catering department for workers at Freeport, the Dewan Adat Papua  has declared that  it is essential to withdraw army and police troops from area around the Freeport mine.

Speaking on behalf of DAP, Dewan Adat Papua, Forkorus Yaboisembut said that the chief of the Indonesian police, the chief of police in Papua and the commnder of the XVII Cenderawasih Command should withdraw all their troopa who are currently deployed in the vicinity of the mine. He said that it was important for the police and the security forces to stop exerting pressure on the company. They should also be ordered to stop exerting pressure on the workers.

‘The security forces should stop interfering in any way with the company,’ he said. ‘The two sides involved in a dispute must find a solution together. If they are subjected to pressure, the dispute will never be solved,’ he said.

He also said that the Indonesian govrnment should urge the company to provide a clarification about its  revenues. ‘If the government can convince the company to review the wages that they  pay to the workers, the dispute can be speedily resolved,’ he said.

Meanwhile, the lawyer, Yan Christian Warinussy said that the shooting of Petrus Ayamiseba was a gross violation of human rights, and he hoped that the Papua branch of the National Human Rights Commission would speedily hold a meeting with  the chief of police in Papua, Police Inspector-General  Bigman Lukkaman Tobing to press for this shooting incident to be resolved in the human rights court. He said that if this does not happen,  the police will claim that this was nothing more than a criminal act.

He want on to say that the shooting to death was a breach of Law 39/1998 regarding safeguarding actions undertaken by the people.

Warinussy also said that  the company should halt all their provocative actions. ‘The company and the workers should sit down together to discuss the rights of the workers.’

Warinussy said that he was currently in Timika and was carrying out his own investigations and he said that he would be having a meeting with the chief of police in Mimika and with the company. The results would be conveyed to the chairman of the  Papuan branch of the National Human Rights Commission. Matius Murib.

Petrus Ayamiseba who was 36 years old died when he was struck by a burning rod of tin belonging to the police while he was taking part in a demonstration at the Gorong-Gorong Terminal.

During the incident, another person was also killed, namely  Jamil, a member of Brimob.

Three hundred Freeport workers ordered home

Bintang  Papua, 14 October 2011Freeport orders 300 workers to ‘go home’

Timika: Reports that workers at Freeport have intimidated and threatened  other workers for refusing to take part in demonstrations and not wanting to go on strike have led to around three hundred Freeport workers being order to go home [dirumahkan’], according to the management of Freeport-Indonesia. Sixty of the three hundred  are staff-level employees joined the strike that commenced on 15 September.

The president-director and CEO of Freeport, Armando Mahler in Timika said on Thursday that the decision to order them home  was taken because they  were involved in intimidating workers who remained at work  and did not join the strike. ‘At the time, many of of the workers felt afraid and threatened. They fled from their barracks and went into hiding. The families of some of the workers who continued to work were also warned that their homes would be burnt down,’  said Armando.

He went on to say that after the strike is over and operations at the Freeport return to normal, the management intends to conduct an investigation to determine what mistakes each of the workers who were ordered home  had made.

Additionally, the director-executive, vice-president  and chief office administrator of the Freeport, Sinta Sirait, said that the decision to order home hundreds of workers meant that the third summons [see below] issued to non-staff employees who had joined the strike was in accordance with the Joint Working Agreement which had been agreed with the workers trade union, the SPSI.

Sinta called on all sides to respect the terms of the agreement that had been reached and not treat it as nothing more than a lip service. ‘We urge the workers not to think that being ordered home and then returning to work is only about establishing good industrial relations with the company.’

Another  manager of the company, John Rumainum said that in a spirit of goodwill, the company had called on the workers to return to work. The first summons was issued on 26 September,  followed by the second summons issued on 29 September and the third summons issued on 4 October.

He went on to say: ‘Those workers who returned to work before the third summons will be exempt from any sanctions But those who returned to work after the third summons, would be treated in accordance with the regulations…

He then said that all the sanctions issued by the company  would be reviewed, once the workers had returned to work.

[Translated and slightly abridged by TAPOL]

[COMMENT: This report reveals the attitude of the company towards hundreds of its employees who were clearly seeking to improve their working conditions during a strike that has been marked by  persistent threats from the company that runs one of the foremost and most profitable mines in the world. TAPOL]

Kontras condemns police shooting of Freeport workers

Kontras, the Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence has condemned the shooting of Freeport workers who were seeking negotiations with the management of the company. Since the commencement of the strike on 15 September there has been no sign that the management is seeking to provide the space for dialogue which could accommodate the interests of the two sides.

During an action on 10 October, the workers protested against the company for recruiting new workers to replace those now on strike. We have received information that some eight thousand workers  were involved in this action. They marched from the secretariat of the SBSI, the trade union, to the culverts, a distance of about 500 metres along a road that was six metres wide. A short distance away, hundreds of policemen were standing on guard.

The police tried to disperse the workers action as they were seeking to meet the management of the company.. Having failed to meet the management, the workers burned some vehicles believed to belong to the company. The police then opened fire on the workers: Petrus Ayamiseba  who works in catering at the company  was shot in the waist and died. Six others were wounded, Leo Wandagau, Alius Komba, Melkius Rumbiak, Yunus Nguliduan, Philiton Kogoya and Ahmad. Some of the policemen were also injured.

We regard the shooting and violence as an act of intervention and intimidation against industrial relations as guaranteed in Law13/2003 on Labour Affairs. The government, in this case the Department of Labour and Transmigration, should be playing a role to guarantee the basic rights of the workers as stipulated in that law, in particular with regard to legal procedures in article 137.

Furthermore, it is clearly stated that no one shall interfere with strike actions undertaken by the workers. (article 143) and workers on strike may not be replaced by other workers in any form whatsoever (article 144).

The presence and acts of violence by hundreds of police have damaged the efforts of the workers  to seek negotiations with the namagement. The police have clearly sided with Freeport  by undertaking  patrols and protection of the company and have been receiving monthly contributions (see letter from head of operations no b/918/IV/2011). The function of the police should  be to protect the people,

The shooting and acts of violence have also violated a number of regulations. Internally, the police should implement the regulations of the police  Furthermore the police have also violated a number of other laws such as the Human Rights Law of 1999 and Law 12/2005 on Ratification of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Kontras therefore calls on the police:

1. To conduct a thorough investigation into the shooting and acts of violence that occurred on 10 October,

2. To pursue legal procedures  that are impartial, credible, accountable and transparent with regard  to the shooting and acts of violence.

3. Should take steps to ensure that the police maintain their independence in all industrial relations disputes so as to ensure that they do not trigger acts of violence and other breaches of the law.

Jakarta, 10 October 2011

[Translated by TAPOL]