Tag Archives: nonviolent action

Breaking News: Mayora and Astra Offices Occupied in Merauke

From AwasMIFEE
August 12, 2013


Around 100 people from the SSUMAWOMA Malind Woyu Maklew Intellectual Forum are currently occupying PT Mayora and PT Astra’s company offices on Jalan Ternate, Merauke City.

The occupation started at 11.00 local time, involving youth and community members from the Malind Muli Woyu Maklew sub-ethnic group, from villages such as Wamal, Dokib, Wambi, Dodalim and Kimam.

Their demand is that the two companies stop their operations and drop their investment plans for sugar-cane plantations in Okaba, Ngguti, Tubang and Ilwayab. At the time of writing, two hours after the action started, the companies had yet to respond to the people’s demands. The action was being guarded by dozens of local police.

Recently it was reported that the companies had used Brimob military police and the accusation of separatism to force people in affected villages to accept an agreement with the company.

After villagers in Yowid village reported that they had been intimidated into signing PT Mayora’s document, the SSUMAWOMA forum recorded video testimony of the elders who had been forced to sign (which can be watched here: https://awasmifee.potager.org/?p=472 ).

Then yesterday ( Sunday 11/8) the SSUMAWOMA forum organised a meeting and press conference in the Payum beach area of Merauke city. As tabloidjubi.com reported the discussion, there was heated argument between the people attending, but in the end all present were agreed on the need to oppose the two companies.


Aside from the intimidation experienced in Yowid, the discussion focussed on some of the other impacts that villagers are already experiencing as companies engage in the first phase of their plans, to survey the land and open negotiations with indigenous landowners. From Tabloid Jubi’s report:

A well-known Marind intellectual, Leonardus Moyuend, explained how villagers in the area were already feeling the pressure and can no longer sleep well. They also cannot go about their everyday activities as before, knowing about the companies’ plans to start operations around their villages. “To be honest, when the companies move in, it totally destroys the arrangement between one village and its neighbours,” he explained.

The problem, Leonardus continued, was that each village would make different claims about the boundaries of their land. “We never ad clear information from the government about this major program. If there is really a desire for companies to operate here, then all concerned parties such as the District Legislative Council, indigenous leaders from each village and other stakeholders should sit down with the government and investors and start discussions again from the beginning”, he said.

Instead what has been happening, he said, is that companies move in to the different villages on the quiet and then tell some of the people there that they are going to invest. “This is a really bad method the companies are using. It is the reason we have a strong commitment to resist the various areas of work they are focussing on”, he said.

He added that village elders had already given a mandate to local intellectuals to speak out and make interventions to oppose investment activities in their villages “We will never stay passive in the face of the companies’ efforts” he stated.

Meanwhile, an indigenous leader from kampung Wambi, Wilhelmus Bole Kaize said that he had already held meetings together with local indigenous people around ten times. The outcome was always that the people of that village opposed investment. The reason was because it would destroy the natural environment the people had taken care of through the years.

According to him, the area around Kampung Wambi should be used for tourism and culture. The outlook could be promising. In that way, there would be no more possibilities for corporate investors to move in. “We are completely agreed to resist the investors,” he said.

Three years after the MIFEE megaproject was launched, opening up Merauke Regency to plantation companies, initiatives by local people to organise to resist the companies appear to be on the increase. While the SSUMAWOMA forum is mostly concerned with the western part of the MIFEE area, a week ago on August 3rd another meeting brought together villagers from all over the central area of Merauke Regency. In that area companies such as Medco, Rajawali and Wilmar are operating and land is also being taken over for agriculture by transmigrants. That meeting also demanded that the government withdraw the permits for companies that are destroying the forest.

Johanes Mahuze, from Tanah Tinggi explained the predicament: “Real Marind people live with the land and the forest and wildlife are kept safe. We sit, we stand and we live from the land. We carry out our traditional rituals from the land and the forest, and the animals provide our food. If the land, forest and animals are all gone and we no longer own them, then the Marind Anim people are wiped out and become Plastic Marind, having to buy what we need for our traditions from the shops. We don’t want to become Plastic Marind”.

We will try to provide information on the outcome of the occupation action when we receive it.

Sources: Jubi http://tabloidjubi.com/2013/08/11/investor-bawa-konflik-bagi-masyarakat-di-kampung-kampung/#

Pusaka pusaka.or.id/musyawarah-waendu-meminta-pemerintah-menghentikan-izin-pemberian-lahan-untuk-perusahaan/

Action report received via email.


Interview With Bucthar Tabuni, Chairman of the West Papua National Parliament

(Apologies for the delay in posting due to significant funding shortfall and time over-commitments from WPM team)

(Translated by WPM Team for SuaraPapua.com)

Original article at SuaraPapua.com, March 23, 2013

Chairman of the West Papua National Parliament, Bucthar Tabuni, and Chairman of the West Papua National Committee, Victor F Yeimo (Photo: Private)

PAPUA, Jayapura – recently,  suarapapua.com journalist Oktovianus Pogau, had the opportunity to interview with Bucthar Tabuni, the Chairman of the West Papua National Parliament (,).  In this interview Tabuni speaks about the criminalization of peaceful struggle of West Papua National Committee (KNPB), by the Police force in Papua.

Follow the interview below.

 What is the security forces attitude towards KNPB?

I see that the security force fears even more if KNPB exist in the Land of Papua. This is because of the mass and the base of KNPB is firmly rooted.  Indeed, during my leadership, the strength that we have built with the people is serious. So, at this time the security forces were escorting us to matters that did not enter our minds, and tried to destroy the struggle for peace that was pushed by us.

I hope this does not become an obstacle for KNPB to further progress and develop into the
 future.  If there’s any issue, then it should be coordinated with PNWP as the political body of the Papuan people. And we are ready to be responsible to the people, as well as to the 
KNPB board itself.

How’s the leadership of the new chief of Police (Kapolda), Tito Karnavian?

For Kapolda Papua at present, I think we just stay in an intensive communication, however 
my only regret is related to imprisonment of KNPB activists in Wamena Jayapura, Biak and Timika, that is being dragged on without a clear legal process.

I officially conveyed to the Chief of Police, I will still guarantee security throughout Papua when orders (are made) to release political prisoners, abolish the lists of wanted-persons 
(DPOs) of KNPB activists, and open a space for democracy, but also demands that have not been

I hope, all of these (demands) can be fulfilled soon. If it has not been answered, I
 will make a mention of the demands to the public and the police chief, but I’m (still) 
waiting for a response to the demands.

What was Kapolda’s Response?

His response was good, but not optimal. For example, legal issues with some KNPB members being detained should be settled with the Police, but his officers eventually put (a formal) submission to the Attorney General, 
so the legal process at court is protracted, and we are very disappointed for now.

The Papua issue needs communication. If it’s ignored, it will cause
 disappointment, and the violence will never disappear. If there is to be anything at all, then it should be 
communicated. Pak Kapolda responded well, but not optimal. And until now I’m still waiting.

KNPB accused of masterminding violence in Papua?

Officials still have a biased stigma towards the KNPB, starting from being considered as actors of
 violence, all the way to being the perpetrators of violence in Papua. I argue that, during my leadership, the peaceful campaign of the struggle by peaceful demonstrations have always 
been promoted.

KNPB are people’s media, so it would be inappropriate if we called masterminds of violence.  
KNPB also never ordered the people of Papua, nor a member of KNPB 
throughout Papua, to struggle with violent means.

Even if there is (violence), that cannot be generalised or all associated together. In the society, there are good people, some are evil, there are few that listen to advice, and some that are not willing to hear the advice, and it’s a normal thing, and it happens everywhere, including 
in KNPB today.

Although Kapolda asked us not to do violence, one needs to know that 
lots of those acts are carried out by TPN/OPM (Tentara Pembebasan Nasional or National Liberation Army).  And this is outside of civil society, but if its in town I would 
guarantee safety. I do not have the right to intervene on TPN/OPM actions.
  My civic leadership is in the town.  TPN/OPM field of operation is different from my field.

What is the condition of KNPB activists detained in Wamena, Timika and other places?

They all regret, because the legal process that is underway has not been proven 
as a legal case. If they obtain or store sharp tools, then almost everyone 
in Papua, including immigrants, also obtain (these tools) such as knives and other sharp instruments.

The cases of KNPB members in Wamena is seen (to be premeditated) that the authorities already have 
strategies to arrest them. Why do officers go check sharp instruments only at
 KNPB activists home, while many immigrants who also own and store those things 
that are mentioned?

The question is, those things are there, but what are they used for, who is harmed, how many victims? –  there are no legal facts. This is why I asked that Kapolda must release 
them, but he hasn’t reacted to my demands.

The detainees until now regret, because without fair (or truthful) evidence and legal facts, they still undergo jail terms.  A question from me, why didn’t the police force arrest knife-sellers or sharp instruments in the market?  Of course this is weird.

How’s the assistance from Counsel (legal assistance)?

I thank the council for their assistance in assisting the KNPB activists in various prisons in Papua, but there is no assistance given to the case that happened in Wamena.

I see that the counsel hesitates in giving their assistance; we are able to facilitate with fund and provide them with accommodation. However, it is acceptable if they are busy. I plead for the judge and the prosecutor to work in conjunction together and help me with all the decisions to hopefully free all of them.

According to the charges that were made, there are many political aspects in comparison with those of law. Hence, various approaches have to be done in order to silence the struggle of West Papuans, and that include punishing detainees. Police and Army forces (Polri & TNI) will always find gaps and use that to perform ongoing injustices to the struggle in Papua. Therefore, an exceptional consideration is needed.

KNPB is regarded as Highlanders?

I’m shocked when I heard that statement. KNPB originates from Papua and we have Regional Parliaments called Parlemen Rakyat Daerah (PRD) in Biak, Manokwari, Wamena and Merauke, and they are all representative of West Papua.

I believe that this opinion is from people that don’t understand what consolidation is. I can also say that that opinion comes from people that don’t do field work but just voicing their thoughts. We have been working together (around Papua) for six years.

Don’t look just at KNPB, but the important thing is to see the agenda we have been working on. Supposing that the agenda makes sense and  is rational, why don’t we gain the support from others? We are just normal human beings but if this agenda can grant West Papua an Independence, it has to be supported, especially by those who mock KNPB.

Message for KNPB Activists?

Suppose you are keeping sharp weapons in your homes, it’s wise to throw them away or to avoid or keep away from them. Let alone the outsiders to have them. It has been several days since the silence of KNPB, it doesn’t mean that KNPB withdraws and is scared of the coloniser.

The current situation is uncertain so that we choose to be silent and to be patient. Let’s stay calm and plan for our new strategy to rise again. Do not worry about the tactics sets by the enemy, we have to think and plan for other approaches.

Message for the People of West Papua?

Independence is not something that we can achieve in an instant. West Papuans, don’t get bored, don’t be lazy and don’t give up the fight. There is no struggle that does not bear an outcome, everything does. We just have to wait for right time.

Hence, I call out to every West Papuan to work together, to be committed in what we are doing to keep up the fight in order for West Papuan to be free from Indonesian Colonialism. By doing so, not only we keep the fighting spirit alive but we also honour all the sacrifices of the late Arnold Ap, Thomas Wainggai, Kelly Kwalik, Mako Tabuni, Victor Kogoya, Hubertus Mabel, and all West Papua Independence activists that were killed by the Indonesian Military.

(translated and edited by WPM)

Testimony of Markus Yenu of his arrest and interrogation

Manokwari, 7th March 2013

Markus Yenu was arrested at the side of the road in from of Daniel Sakwatorey’s house (former political prisoner in Papua, 2008) at Sanggeng Manokwari West Papua. The arrest was by Manokwari’s Criminal Police Unit at 11.32am West Papua time, on the order of Manokwari’s Criminal Police AKP. KRISTIAN SAWAKI. The Manokwari Criminal Police officers were driving a black Inova with the number plate DS.9977.

According to Markus Yenu’s evidence (he’s the Executive Governor of the West Papua National Authority District 2 Manokwari) after he was arrested and taken to the police station at Manokwari, he was immediately taken to an interrogation room and asked to give information about a peaceful demonstration on the 17th January 2013 during which the morning star flag was flown. There were various sized flags flown, and also biased political speeches from several leaders from the Free Papua movement who were inciting people to overthrow the legitimate government.

Markus Yenu also gave evidence that when he was in the interrogation room at the Manokwari Police Station he was visited by Kombes (Pol) Yakobus Marzuki former chief of police in 2008 and now Director of Papuan Police Intelligence. Marzuki told Yenu:

  • Comprehensive data from the Police indicated Markus Yenu was involved with provoking the acts of arson and destruction that three police officers faced on the 5th December 2012 following the shooting of Thimotius Ap.
  • In the near future police plan to meet with Kesbangpol to get rid of all organisations that don’t support the Ideology of a United Republic of Indonesia (NKRI)
  • Eight people are already dead, but police and TNI will be pursuing and removing any subversive groups both in the forest and the city.
  • Whereas for Markus Yenu there was an order from police headquarters to disable him.

According to Yenu, the Director of Papuan Police Intelligence said many other things indicating a threat to human rights and democracy activists in Papua.

Yenu said that, ‘After me, the police will arrest another six people who have been identified as suspects

1). Frans Kapisa,

2). Billy Auparay,

3). Ottow Rumaseb,

4). Jakobus Wanggai,

5). Eliazer Awom, and

6). Zeth Wambrauw


Source: WPNA Manokwari


Police question Papuan leader over peaceful demo ‘treason’

Written up Pacific Scoop from Social Media Reports by West Papua Media

March 6, 2013

Markus Yenu, Manokwari Governor of the West Papua National Authority (National Federated Republic of West Papua), was forced to appear at Manokwari Police Sector HQ  today (March 6) for questioning over makar (treason) charges relating to the organising of a peaceful mass demonstration almost two months ago.

The executive governor of the West Papua National Authority area 2, Markus Yenu, and the chairman of Solidaritas Pemuda Melanesia Papua Barat, Abraham Wainasiri,  lead a peaceful rally at Manokari on January 17. Image: WPM
The executive governor of the West Papua National Authority area 2, Markus Yenu, and the chairman of Solidaritas Pemuda Melanesia Papua Barat, Abraham Wainasiri, lead a peaceful rally at Manokwari on January 17. Image: WPM

Yenu has not yet been released, and no further information has yet been received about his status – whether he will be charged or released.

West Papua Media has contacted police in Manokwari without reply and the Papua Police Criminal Investigation chief in Jayapura – who claims to know nothing about Yenu’s whereabouts.

On January 17, a crowd of peaceful protesters calling for a referendum on the future of Indonesian-ruled West Papua assembled at a rally point in Manokwari.

The crowd – including students and workers – moved towards the Banyan Tree at UNIPA Manokwari together with the protest coordinator, Alex Nekemen, and speakers, among them Silas Ayemi, the area secretary of Bintuni WPNA),; Abraham Waynarisy (SH chairman Solidaritas Pemuda Melanesia Papua Barat SPMPB) and the pro-independence group KNPB.

Political speeches were made accompanied by slogans of “Papua Merdeka” (“Free Papua”) along the way.

The crowd marched around the city of Manokwari towards an open field.

In front of the office of the State Attorney of the Republic of Indonesia, Markus Yenu openly questioned bout the detainees after a an incident on December 14 – Melkianus Bleskadit, Rev. Dance Yenu and 5 students from UNIPA Manokwari who have been held by police for almost four months without charge.

Earlier story by West Papua Media


Response to Call to Apply Indonesia’s Anti-Terrorism Law in West Papua

by Ed McWilliams

February 2, 2013

Edmund McWilliams is a retired U.S. Foreign Service Officer who served as the Political Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta 1996-1999. He received the American Foreign Service Association’s Christian Herter Award for creative dissent by a senior foreign service official. He is a member of the West Papua Advocacy Team and a consultant with the East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN).
In a December 5, 2012 lecture at Stanford University’s International Policy Studies program ( revised January 22, 2013), the respected Southeast Asia analyst Sidney Jones discussed the Indonesian government’s unwillingness, thus far, to categorize the Papuan “ethno-nationalists/separatists” as “terrorists.” Jones identifies these Papuan “ethno-nationalists” and “separatists” as the armed Papuan opposition, Operasi Papua Merdeka (OPM) and what she describes as “an extremist faction of KNPB, the West Papua National Committee, a militant pro-independence organization.” Jones cites various incidents of violence in West Papua that she claims were committed by these “ethno-nationalists and separatists.”

The authors of violence in the Indonesian archipelago, especially violence with complex motives, are never so clear cut as her lecture implies. This is especially true of West Papua where police-military rivalries over access to resources and sources of extortion monies is well known.

Her analysis focuses on the different approaches employed against the West Papuan “ethno-nationalists/separatists” and against Islamic militants (“jihadists”) by prosecutors and the security forces (police, military and Detachment 88). Jones contends that “the discrepancy between the way the two groups are treated by the legal system is untenable.” She considers two alternatives: One would be to employ anti-terrorism law in West Papua, and the other would entail moving away from the use of anti-terror law against “jihadists.” She argues extensively against the latter approach of “pulling back from the use of the anti-terror law.”

Jones contends that pressure for use of the anti-terror law against “ethno-nationalists/separatists” is growing among Islamic observers. In particular, she cites Harits Abu Ulya, director of the Community of Ideological Islamic Analysts (CIIA): “If the government is consistent, then it should acknowledge that attacks motivated by ethno-nationalism and separatism be considered terrorism because they are carried out by an organization with a political vision that uses terrorism to influence the security environment and challenge(s) the sovereignty of the state. Why aren’t we seeing forces being sent en masse to cleanse Papua of separatism?”

Jones’ argument warrants a more detailed critique than space here allows, but even a brief review reveals a number of problems.

Jones summarily credits recent violent acts in West Papua to the “ethno-nationalists and separatists.” This is surprising insofar as Jones is a highly regarded observer of the Indonesian political scene with a deep human rights background. She knows, or should know, that the authors of violence in the Indonesian archipelago — especially violence with complex motives — are never so clear cut as her lecture implies. This is especially true of West Papua where police-military rivalries over access to resources and sources of extortion monies is well known. Jones should know also that military, police and intelligence agencies, have long played the role of provocateur, orchestrating acts of violence which advance agendas that are invariably obscure.

Jones cites what she claims is recent “ethno-nationalist” pressure on the giant Freeport McMoRan mining operation. She ignores the reality that such pressure in the past has frequently been orchestrated by the military, specifically the Indonesian Special Forces (Kopassus). To be fair, Jones alludes to this complexity but largely dismisses it. Her analysis similarly ignores the reality that the Indonesian state has long blocked international monitoring of such security force skullduggery and manipulation of the security environment in West Papua by restricting travel by international journalists, human rights researchers and others to and within the region.

Jones also fails to acknowledge the reality, widely noted in international and local human rights circles, that the Indonesian government has long sought to smear peaceful dissent in West Papua as “separatist.” Jakarta, through the aegis of a corrupt court system and often criminal state security forces, has repeatedly employed the “separatist” label to arrest and prosecute or detain peaceful political dissenters, such as those who display the Papuan morning star flag. Courts regularly resort to charges of treason that date to the Dutch colonial era and widely used by the Suharto dictatorship to intimidate dissidents. Jones’ call for Indonesia to define “separatism” as “terrorism” would deepen Jakarta’s targeting of peaceful dissent and the intimidation of Papuans generally. Use of the anti-terror law would enable the police to detain “separatist” suspects, including those engaging in peaceful protest, for a week rather than 48 hours. The law also empowers the police to employ electronic surveillance. Ongoing efforts would strengthen the anti-terror law to give the police even broader powers to limit the freedom of speech and assembly.

The argument to employ the “terrorist” label against “ethno-nationalist and separatist” groups and individuals in West Papua could have direct legal implications for international solidarity movements.

Jones claim that the West Papua Nationalist Committee (KNPB) is a “extremist,” is without substantiation. Criminal activity by some alleged members of the KNPB is generally not well corroborated and usually reflects efforts by the State to undermine the organization. The KNPB, and many other Papuan organizations and individuals are indeed ever more strongly pressing for Papuan rights, importantly including the long-denied Papuan right to self determination. But these efforts are largely nonviolent.

In recent years, this struggle has found growing support within the international community. Employing the “terrorist” label against “ethno-nationalist and separatist” groups and individuals in West Papua could have direct legal implications for international solidarity movements. In the U.S., groups or individuals who advocate on behalf of groups designated by the U.S. government as “terrorists” are subject to criminal prosecution. Given the close relations among governments, including those of the U.S. and Australia and Indonesia’s security forces, Indonesian government labeling dissidents in West Papua as “terrorist” could have dire implications for the solidarity network. How long would it be before the U.S. and other governments themselves begin to label various Papuan groups and individuals as ‘”terrorist.” U.S. and other international groups acting in solidarity with Papuans seeking to attain their rights could be criminally targeted and charged.

In sum, the Jones analysis is hobbled by the very term “terrorism” which is so poorly defined international law and procedure as to threaten and intimidate even those groups and individuals engaged in peaceful dissent.

In a final note, Sidney Jones, who was the Asia Director for Human Rights Watch from 1989 to 2002, should at a minimum explicitly reject the call by Harits Abu Ulya that she cites in her lecture for the Indonesian government “to cleanse Papua of separatism.” Such rhetoric gives license to the kind of atrocities already visited on the people of the Indonesian archipelago, including Timor-Leste, for far too long.


Posted here: http://www.etan.org/news/2013/01response.htm