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Amnesty: Indonesia – Victims still waiting for truth and justice for past human rights violations

Amnesty International

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL
PUBLIC STATEMENTIndex: ASA 21/012/2012
24 March 2012

Indonesia: Victims still waiting for truth and justice for past human rights violations

As the world marks the International Day for the Right to the Truth concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims, in Indonesia victims of serious human rights violations, including unlawful killings, rape and other crimes of sexual violence, enforced disappearance, torture and other ill-treatment continue to call for truth, justice and reparation for past crimes.

Amnesty International today urges the Indonesian Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs, who is leading a team to resolve past human rights violations, to answer these calls by making the establishment of a National Truth and Reconciliation Commission a key priority.

The Commission should function according to international law and standards, including the Updated Set of principles for the protection and promotion of human rights through action to combat impunity. It should not substitute the responsibility of the criminal justice system in the country to investigate and – if sufficient admissible evidence exists – prosecute those responsible for grave human rights violations and crimes under international law. All victims should be guaranteed access to full reparation including restitution, compensation, rehabilitation, satisfaction and guarantees of non-repetition.      In 2004, the Indonesian Parliament passed the Law on a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (No. 27/2004), which provided for the establishment of a national truth commission with powers to receive complaints, investigate grave human rights violations which occurred in the past and to make recommendations for compensation and/or rehabilitation for victims. In 2006 the Indonesian Constitutional Court struck down the law, after it ruled that an article which provided reparation for victims only after they agreed to an amnesty for the perpetrator was unconstitutional. Amnesty International welcomed this ruling, as amnesties, pardons or similar measures of impunity for the most serious crimes and human rights violations such as unlawful killings, rape and other crimes of sexual violence, enforced disappearance, torture and other ill-treatment are contrary to international law.

Almost six years later, attempts to pass a new law and enact a national truth commission have stalled. Although a new law has been drafted and is scheduled for discussion in Parliament in 2011-2014; to date there has been no progress, with Parliament failing to prioritize debate of the draft in the 2012 legislative programme. The continued failure to debate and pass a new law in Indonesia leaves many victims without an effective mechanism for truth and full and effective reparation.

In May 2011, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono established a multi-agency team to devise “the best format to resolve grave human rights violations that occurred in the past”. The team has so far visited victims of such violations in various part of the country, including Talangsari, Tanjong Priok and Kupang. However, it has been criticized by human rights organizations and victims’ groups for failing to develop a concrete strategy to ensure truth, justice and reparation for victims.

All victims of gross human rights violations, crimes against humanity and other crimes under international law have a right to truth. Principle 4 of the Updated Set of principles for the protection and promotion of human rights through action to combat impunity states that “[i]rrespective of any legal proceedings, victims and their families have the imprescriptible right to know the truth about the circumstances in which violations took place and, in the event of death or disappearance, the victims’ fate”.

For victims, this right involves knowing the whole truth about the violations they suffered, including the identity of the perpetrators and the causes, facts and circumstances in which such violations took place. For family members, particularly of those who were killed or disappeared, it involves establishing the fate and whereabouts of their loved ones. Whether individual or collective, the right to truth involves the public acknowledgement of victims’ suffering. Truth commissions are also an important step towards understanding the circumstances that led to past violations, learning from the past to ensure that such crimes will not be committed again, and ensuring that shared experiences are acknowledged and preserved.

In addition to a lack of action at the national level, local attempts to establish truth commissions to deal with specific cases also continue to face delays. In the provinces of Aceh and Papua, civil society organizations are pushing for the establishment of local truth commissions, which are provided for in autonomy laws governing those areas. In Aceh a draft bylaw (qanun) has been on the legislative programme since early 2011 but is yet to be debated in the Aceh regional parliament, while in Papua, to date there has been no progress.

Amnesty International calls on the provincial and central government to prioritize the establishment of local truth commissions to ensure truth, justice and full reparation for victims and their families.

Efforts to deliver truth for victims and their families must form part of a wider framework of accountability for past crimes. Amnesty International calls on the Indonesian authorities to ensure that perpetrators of serious human rights violations are brought to justice in independent courts and in proceedings which meet international standards of fairness. Victims and their families must be provided with full and effective reparation under international law.

Amnesty International further calls on the Indonesian government to ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance at the earliest opportunity, incorporate its provisions into domestic law and implement it in policy and practice.

Link: http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/ASA21/012/2012/en


West Papua — Violence against indigenous women

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AHRC-FAT-021-2011
May 20, 2011

An article from Fien Jarangga & Galuh Wandita, Cultural Survival – Spring 2011 forwarded by the Asian Human Rights Commission

INDONESIA: West Papua — Violence against indigenous women

Fien Jarangga coordinates the Papuan Women’s Human Rights Network, a newly formed network of Indigenous human rights workers from Papua, Indonesia.
Galuh Wandita is a senior associate at the International Center for Transitional Justice.

Papuan women have been suffering terrible violence both outside and inside their homes for the past 40 years, and for most of that time, they’ve suffered in silence. But now a group of women has launched their own truth commission to give support to the victims and to pressure the government to change its behavior.

Papua (the western half of the island of New Guinea) has long been in a state of upheaval. When Indonesia declared independence from the Netherlands in 1945 and achieved international recognition in 1949, Papua remained under Dutch rule. Indonesia contested this situation, and in 1962 the territory’s administration was transferred to the United Nations. Part of that agreement called for an “act of free choice”—a territory-wide vote in which citizens could choose independence or becoming part of Indonesia. The vote was supposed to be universal, but in practice an Indonesian general choose 1,025 men to act as representatives of the whole population, and those representatives voted unanimously for the territory to be absorbed by Indonesia. Some Papuans claim that the process was flawed because it did not follow the one-person-one-vote model and was conducted in a context of on-going military operations, and there has been a low-level resistance movement operating in Papua ever since.

The Indonesian military and police forces, ostensibly acting against these rebels, has committed a wide range of human rights abuses, including murder, rape, torture, and kidnapping, often in secret and rarely with any consequences.

That behavior came to particular public attention in October 2010, with the circulation of a YouTube video showing three Indonesian soldiers torturing two Papuan men. The soldiers were tried by a military court, which sentenced them to less than a year in prison for “not following orders” (the Indonesian military code does not recognize torture as a punishable offense).

Indonesian military presence remains strong in Papua, and the number of Indonesian settlers from other islands is quickly outgrowing the number of indigenous Papuans. Papua was granted “special autonomy” status in 2001, with legislation to establish a human rights court and a truth and reconciliation commission “to clarify the history” of Papua. To date, none of these provisions for justice have been established, while atrocities committed against the Indigenous Peoples continue.

So, more than a year ago, a group of Indigenous Papuan women gathered to talk about the violence that we have experienced. We wanted to look back to the past, because we knew that there needs to be a reckoning, a way to listen to Indigenous women who experienced violence since the time of conflict started more than 40 years ago. We wanted to write down, for the first time, women’ s stories of rape and abuse that took place during military campaigns in Papua. We also wanted to listen to stories of Indigenous women beaten by their husbands, because we know that the violence in our private lives is also connected to the violence that took place during times of political conflict.

In May 2009, 19 Indigenous women and 3 men from 11 organizations across Papua met for 4 days to discuss how we could we begin to collect some of these stories. With support from the National Women’s Commission and assistance from the International Center for Transitional Justice, we developed some forms and came up with a plan to find these women, convince them to tell their story, and write those stories down. Working for more than a year, we were able to collect stories from 261 Indigenous women survivors of violence.

The team worked for more than six months interviewing victims and witnesses, as well as conducting group interviews while making maps and timelines together, to jog each other’s memories. Interviews were analyzed and discussed together by the team, and a report and recommendations were drafted and discussed in workshops held in Jayapura. This participatory approach was used to ensure transfer of knowledge and skills to Indigenous Papuan women involved in this effort.

These are some of the stories we collected:

1967, military operations were conducted in the town of Biak and began to move to the villages. In 1969 went home to Swaipak, Biak staying there during the Sadar operations. The Yospan became a threat to parents, because they had to let their young daughters ; in fact, some parents pressured their daughters to go to the Yospan rather than be targeted with physical violence or threatened… In the middle of the night the people were woken up… the young girls were made to dance Yospan then have sexual relations. The troops said to the parents and husbands, ‘You must understand.’

During a dance party organized by the troops in Jayapura district, around 1989, a fight broke out between some community members. Some soldiers intervened:

The soldiers brought my sister in law and told her to swallow a battery, until she was coughing. They wouldn’t allow us to bring her to the hospital . . . . The next day, they brought me and to their post . . . . They opened our clothes, and told us to stand in water for hours . . . . Then they made us sleep on the beach for about one hour. We were given no food; we were very hungry. Then they forced to rape me. After that they made us walk to the post naked; at the post a picture was taken of us.

But we also heard stories of violence in the home:

Fighting in families in my neighborhood usually happens after our husbands consume alcohol . . .CT (a local brand) . . . . When we wives are beaten to almost half dead by our drunken husbands, the crazed husbands don’t get arrested or taken away. Maybe this is also because other than some people who sell CT, there are also policemen who sell and consume (alcohol). So how will the police take care of security?

And how Indigenous women are susceptible to HIV/AIDS:

I was married when I was 14 years old. When I was in elementary school, in fifth grade, I was forced by my family to enter a traditional marriage with a chief who already had three wives. I tried to resist; I wanted to go to school like my other friends. But the chief kept pressuring my family, so I had no choice . . . . After a year, the chief brought a new wife from the town and told us this is the fifth wife. Since the fifth wife arrived, our family started getting sick . with my husband, who died, then wife number five, then three, then second, and first. They all died in one year… After being examined (at the hospital), I was infected by HIV/AIDS. This is a new illness for us. We were told to take ARV medication regularly.

Finally, on April 19, 2010 we produced a 90-page report called “Enough Already” on violence against women that took place during 1963-2009. We presented this report to the Papuan Indigenous People’s Council, an official body established by the Special Autonomy law for Papua to protect Indigenous People’s rights, and to the National Women’s Commission. The Special Autonomy law was passed in 2001, and it includes the establishment of a truth commission and a court to try human rights violations. But until now, none of these has been established. Many other parts of the Special Autonomy law have also not been implemented.

Main Findings and Recommendations
Our report documents more than 135 cases of state violence against women and 113 cases of violence in the family, using as our guide the definitions in the UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women. As mentioned above, we purposefully looked at both state and domestic violence to reflect what we have experienced in our lives. Indigenous women experience violence in the context of the political conflict in Papua, where we are displaced during military action, often becoming victims of rape, abuse, and other human rights violations. At the same time, Indigenous women are reporting high rates of domestic violence perpetrated by their husbands or partners, while receiving little protection from police or state agencies. Ironically, the influx of funds as part of the special autonomy package granted to Papua since 2001 seems to have increased the level of alcohol consumption, unprotected sex, and incidents of domestic violence. Similarly, special autonomy has not become a deterrent to human rights violations. Cases of rape by the military have continued to take place after reformation (1998) and special autonomy (2001). In fact, we found cases where women victims of human rights violations later become victims of domestic violence due to the stigma they experience as victims.

The crimes by the military and police that we documented included killings and disappearances (8 cases), attempted killings and shootings (5), illegal detention (18), assault (21), torture (9), sexual torture (6), rape (52), attempted rape (2), sexual slavery (5), sexual exploitation (9), forced contraception or abortion (4), and displacement (24). And those were just among the women who gave testimony.

Looking at the stories we collected, we made some findings regarding the conditions that perpetuate and contribute to violence against Indigenous women in Papua:

1. The central government maintains a security approach that overuses violence, with impunity for perpetrators of human rights violations, including gender-based violations.
2. There is discrimination against women in the Papuan Indigenous culture which leads to a tolerance towards violence against women.
3. The continued conflict (over natural resources, the political situation, and local-to-national-level struggle for power) has created a context that leads to an increase in incidents of violence against women, both in the public and private realms.
4. There is a lack of response and political will from the government to find a peaceful solution to the conflict in general, and specifically to the problem of violence against women.
5. Indigenous Papuan women experience layers of trauma and disempowerment without access to any interventions, causing a cycle of victimization.

We made recommendations to the Indonesian central government, calling for accountability, including acknowledgment of the truth regarding human rights violations; establishment of a truth commission and human rights court for Papua, as required under the Special Autonomy law; and the political commitment to enter into a peaceful dialogue with Papuan stakeholders.

Reform recommendations, including vetting and trials for those who committed crimes, were made to Indonesia’s armed forces. We also made recommendations to the Papuan local government, legislative body, and the Papuan Indigenous People’s Council to take concrete steps to eradicate violence against women, including developing a comprehensive approach to prevent and respond to domestic violence, and a local mechanism based on law for the rehabilitation of victims.

We handed over the report in a simple ceremony at the Papuan Indigenous People’s Council building in Abepura, where council officials, members of our team, commissioners and staff from the Women’s Commission, representatives of victims interviewed for the report, and other civil society members gathered to witness the handing over of the report. The chair of the council’s Working Group on Religion set the tone of the event when he led the opening prayer by articulating the need for acknowledgment. “We pray for those who have been tortured; we pray that God gives us strength and hope that there will be improvement in our lives. We also pray for those who committed this violence, so that they see themselves for what they have done.” The head of the council praised members of the documentation team as representing “the women of Papua who have won this first battle.” He acknowledged that one of the most difficult challenges is changing their own culture “so that cultural violence can be addressed and acknowledged.” He underlined the need for the elimination of violence, “even when our people say that this is normal.” “We now have to start the second battle,” he said.

A musical group and local choir sang songs that brought tears to all of us attending the ceremony, expressing the deep emotions in the struggle against oppression and racism of the Papuan people. Excerpts from some of the lyrics:

Black is my skin, curly is my hair, I am Papua…
Even when the sky falls down, we are Papua

Small Bits of Truth: Follow-up Activities
The work that we did is an example of how Indigenous groups are beginning to use human rights tools to recover and acknowledge the truth about past violations. In a context of impunity, where the debate about the need for a truth commission may or may not lead to the establishment of one, we are trying to make our voices heard. So far, what Indigenous women have experienced has not been acknowledged by the government. So we are at least acknowledging this ourselves.

Since we finished the report, we have formed a network for further work. We plan to work on how to help the women victims’ take positive steps to healing, while also pressuring the government to recognize their stories, and commit to stopping the violence.

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.

Leaked files show that Kopassus, Indonesia’s Special Forces, targets Papuan Church leaders and Civilians

Jakarta, November 9, 2010.
Secret documents have leaked from inside Kopassus, Indonesia’s red berets, which say that Indonesia’s US-backed security forces engage in “murder [and] abduction” and show that Kopassus targets churches in West Papua and defines civilian dissidents as the “enemy.”

The documents include a Kopassus enemies list headed by Papua’s top Baptist minister and describe a covert network of surveillance, infiltration and disruption of Papuan institutions.

Kopassus is the most notorious unit of  Indonesia’s armed forces, TNI,  which along with POLRI, the  national police, have killed civilians by the hundreds of thousands.

The leaked cache of secret Kopassus documents includes operational,  intelligence and field reports as well as personnel records which list the names and details of Kopassus “agents.”
The documents are classified “SECRET” (“RAHASIA”) and include extensive background reports on  Kopassus  civilian targets  — reports that are apparently of uneven accuracy.

The authenticity of the documents has been verified by Kopassus personnel who have seen them and by external evidence regarding the authors and the internal characteristics of the documents.

Click on the links below to download reports (these are in PDF format)
The Kopassus “enemies” list — the “leaders” of the “separatist political movement” includes fifteen civic leaders.  In the order listed by Kopassus they are:
— Reverend Socrates Sofyan Yoman, chair of the Papua Baptist Synod
— Markus Haluk head of the Association of Indonesian Middle Mountains Students (AMPTI) and an outspoken critic of the security forces and the US mining giant Freeport McMoRan
— Buchtar Tabuni, an activist who, after appearing on the Kopassus list, was sentenced to three years prison for speech and for waving Papuan flags and was beaten bloody by three soldiers, a guard, and a policeman because he had a cell phone
— Aloysius Renwarin, a lawyer who heads a local human rights foundation
— Dr. Willy Mandowen, Mediator of PDP, the Papua Presidium Council, a broad group including local business people, former politcal prisoners, women’s and youth organizations, and Papuan traditional leaders.   His most prominent predecessor, Theys Eluay, had his throat slit by Kopassus in 2001.
— Yance Kayame, a committee chair in the Papuan provincial legislature
— Lodewyk Betawi
— Drs. Don Agustinus Lamaech Flassy of the Papua Presidium Council staff
— Drs. Agustinus Alue Alua, head of the MRP, the Papuan People’s Council, which formally represents Papuan traditional leaders and was convened and recognized by the Jakarta government
— Thaha Al Hamid, Secretary General of the Papua Presidium Council
— Sayid Fadal Al Hamid, head of the Papua Muslim Youth
— Drs. Frans Kapisa, head of Papua National Student Solidarity
— Leonard Jery Imbiri, public secretary of DAP, the Papuan Customary Council, which organizes an annual plenary of indigenous groups, has staged Papua’s largest peaceful demonstrations, and has seen its offices targeted for clandestine arson attacks
— Reverend Dr. Beny Giay, minister of the Protestant evangelical KINGMI Tent of Scripture church of Papua
— Selfius Bobby, student at the Fajar Timur School of Philosophy and Theology (LAPORAN TRIWULAN p. 6)