Tag Archives: outrage

PARKOP LETTER TO PNG PM SOMARE: HALT TO POLICE OPERATION IN SANDAUN PROVINVCE.

Below is the full letter from PNG NCDC Governor Powes Parkop calling for Somare to immediately halt Operation Sunset Merona.  For bode fide media interview opportunities, and the copy of the original letter please contact West Papua Media at wpmedia_admin<at>riseup.net .

NATIONAL CAPITAL DISTRICT COMMISSION

Office of the Governor

Hon. Powes Parkop, MP

P.O. Box 7270, Boroko. NCD

CITY OF PORT MORESBY

 

 

Date        28th January 2011

Grand Chief Sir Michael T Somare GCL, GCMG, CF, CL, CH, KstJ

Prime Minister and Chairman of NEC,

Office of the Prime Minister,

Morauta House,

WAIGANI

National Capital District

 

Dear Prime Minister,

 

SUBJECT:    HALT TO POLICE OPERATION IN SANDAUN PROVINVCE.

 

I write to express my deepest concern and reservation against the on going Police Operation in the Sanduan or West Sepik Province otherwise known as Operation “Sunset Merona” .

Since the operation began, I have received many complaints from people in the Sanduan Province as to the conduct and focus of the operations. These Complaints have been received from ordinarily citizens in that Province but more particularly from West Papuan people who live in that Province either as refugees or traditional border crossers exercising their rights under the Border Agreement between the Independent State of Papua New Guinea and the Republic of Indonesia.

 

From the West Papuan people, I have received complaints of intimidations, harassment, houses being demolished and burnt, food gardens being destroyed and people being detained without being charged for a criminal or migration offence. Those arrested have included West Papuans who have comes to PNG as refuges and who have to fend for themselves due to lack of support from either the PNG Government or from the Office of the United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees.

 

From the evidence and reports I have received and the from the conduct of the operation it has become obvious that this operation is targeted against West Papuan people either as refugees or suspect activist of the West Papuan struggle for independence. In this respect, while I acknowledged that as an Independent State, we are obliged to prevent our borders from being using as a sanctuary for people planning and conducting violent acts against another State, we also risked allowing ourselves to become involved in a dispute that we formally recognized as being the domestic affairs of the Republic of Indonesia. Worst still we will allow ourselves to be used by the Republic of Indonesia to suppress and intimidate West Papuan people from pursuing their legitimate struggle for independence.

 

Based on these reports and evidence, I appeal to your highest Office to immediately stop the operations as it is becoming obvious that our Government and therefore police are being used by the  Indonesian Government to harass and suppress suspected West Papua activist campaigning for Independence of West Papua. This is morally and legally wrong.

 

While the Government may not support the struggle of West Papuans people to self determination and independence, we have no right to suppress them or deprive them from exercising that right. The right to self determination is universally recognized rights recognized under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and under many United Nations Conventions. This right to self determination includes the right to bear arms and used armed struggle as a means to attain self determination. Many colonized people have used arms struggle as a means of exercising or realizing their rights to self determination where the colonial powers have denied them an opportunity to exercise that right peacefully. West Papuan people as a colonized people, deprived of peacefully exercising their right to self determination have the right to bear arms and used all other means to enable them to realize their rights to self determination.

 

There is no evidence to date to show that the West Papuan people are using our territory to conduct armed attack against the Republic of Indonesia.  The evidence to date shows that all armed attack conducted by West Papuan people has been conducted within the territory of the Republic of Indonesia. If its is an offence to peacefully advocate and support the rights of the people of West Papua to self determination and Independence, than I should be arrested too as I have been a long time advocate of West Papuan rights to self determination and independence. And there are thousands of Papua New Guineans who also support and advocate for the rights of West Papuans to self determination and independence.

 

I therefore urge you as Prime Minister and a person revered as a leader of Melanesian People and Pacific People to stop our police and security forces from being used as a tool of suppression at the behest of the Indonesian Government. I urge you to recommend to the Commission for Police to put an end to this operation and to release all West Papuan people who have been detained and to compensate those who have their houses and food gardens destroyed.

 

Further, Prime Minister, I urge you not to deport any West Papuan suspected of being involved in the independence struggle to the Republic of Indonesia. I draw in this respect the recent conviction of three members of the members of the Indonesian Military as a result of torturing of West Papuans. While there three men were convicted for a minor offence, the incident for which they charge was fully exposed in a video posted on the internet which was seen by the entirely international community. This incident confirms that while Indonesia is moving towards democratization, its armed forces are still involved in vicious acts of violence and torture against so called separatist. There is  no guarantee that any one deported to the Republic of Indonesia will safe or not subjected to torture or other forms of violence.

 

 

 

 

 

Due to public interest in this matter, I will be releasing copy of my letter to the public, including the media.

 

 

I look forward to you earliest reply.

 

 

Yours Sincerely

 

 

 

HON. POWES PARKOP LLB LLM MP

Governor and Member for NCD Provincial.

 

Australia must make a stand for West Papua

Article in the Sydney Morning Herald

As YouTube evidence of Indonesian soldiers burning the genitals of the West Papuan Tunaliwor Kiwo received its 50,000th viewer, the Indonesian military (TNI) was exposed holding a cynical mock trial to try to cover up systemic violence.

Julia Gillard was red-faced. When in Indonesia with Barack Obama last month, she had praised President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s quick response and the coming trial. Soldiers from another, lesser ”abuse case” were then paraded and given soft sentences, while Kiwo’s torturers remain on active duty.

Despite the Australian embassy in Jakarta telling Indonesian officials of Australia’s “unhappiness with the military’s investigation”, the blatant contempt shown for Gillard and her officials creates little confidence.

Gillard bit her tongue again this week. ”The President of Indonesia,” she said, ”has made it absolutely clear he wants to see any wrongdoers brought to justice on this matter.”


Where’s the solidarity that lifted East Timor out of the geopolitical rubbish bin and into the minds of mainstream Aussies? In 1999 East Timor held a United Nations referendum, due in part to international and Australian pressure, and the Indonesian military tortured, raped and scorched its way back to Java.

In that year in West Papua I discovered the best kept secret in the Asia-Pacific region. Hiking among the highland farms of the Dani people, I heard stories of dispossession, detention, torture and murder. Yale University suggests that since the Indonesian military invaded in 1962-63, it has killed 400,000 West Papuans yet few Australians know anything about these killing fields.

I had lived and travelled on and off in Indonesia for 15 years but never heard even a whisper from West Papua. I departed shocked by the locals’ stories and with a growing suspicion that we were being lied to. The Australian government has always known what’s happening there but has chosen placation over human dignity and moral leadership.

Back in Australia, it was as if this province of 2.6 million had been erased. Why the silence? Where are the churches, students and humanitarian groups who fought for East Timor? Where are the unions who boycotted the Dutch in Indonesia and the regime in South Africa? Where are the conservatives who beat their chests after John Howard ”saved East Timor”?

History offers a clue. When General Suharto took power in Indonesia in 1965-66, he opened the floodgates to Western resource companies. Every Australian government since Menzies kowtowed to this murderous bully, partially to ward off the feared disintegration of this 18,000-island republic, but mainly to gain access to Indonesia’s vast natural resources.

The first Western company to do business with Suharto was the Freeport goldmine in West Papua. Partly owned by Australia’s Rio Tinto, it is the largest gold and copper mine in the world and Indonesia’s biggest taxpayer. Yet West Papuans live in poverty, experiencing the worst health, education and development levels in Indonesia.

Freeport’s $4 billion profit last year didn’t come easily. Dr Damien Kingsbury of Deakin University says the local Amungme people ”have been kicked out, they’ve been given a token payment and if they’ve protested, they’ve been shot”.

None of this would have been possible without Freeport’s paid protection from the TNI, which gets two-thirds of its military budget from its own private businesses. This conflict of interest is at the heart of the military’s ongoing human rights abuses. How can it serve the country while serving itself? West Papua has necessarily become a resource cash cow, a military fiefdom 3000 kilometres from Jakarta, full of tribally divided, uneducated farmers, sitting atop a new El Dorado.

Despite journalists still being banned, West Papua is no longer the secret it was in 1999. Gillard should not be placated by Indonesia’s mock trial of torturers nor train them, in the form of Kopassus. We should work with Jakarta to reform the military and open up West Papua to international scrutiny. It’s time for Australia to step up for our tortured and murdered neighbours to the north.

Charlie Hill-Smith is the writer-director of Strange Birds in Paradise – A West Papuan Story, which is nominated for four AFI Awards including best documentary.