Today on January 26th, 2011 we, Leaders of churches in the Land of Papua, along with Christian congregations, gather to declare our stance and position with regard to the state of government and its development policies pursued in the Land of Papua since annexation of Papua by the Unitary Republic of Indonesia, specifically with the introduction of the Law No. 21/2001 regarding the Special Autonomy for Papua.

As Churches, we are deeply concerned over the condition of our peoples, especially the indigenous Papuans, owners of this land, whose fate has been cornered to uncertainty amid development policies staged by the Indonesian Government in the Land of Papua. Such development policy is more characterized by physical structures/infrastructural development and to promote the interests of Indonesia in the Land of Papua.

The implementation of Special Autonomy for Papua has been inconsistent and inconsequent is a strong indication of insincerity of the Indonesian Government which led Papuans to view that OTSUS has FAILED. MRP, as a manifestation of the Special Autonomy with its members hastily selected and further exacerbated with the government’s ignorance of Ii point recommendations produced by the grand meeting of MRP (Papuan Peoples’ Assembly) itself, is therefore considered as an insult to the people of Papua, as people created in the image of God. The Churches also question the letter issued recently by the Minister of Home Affairs No, 188.341/1 l0/SJ regarding clarification pertaining to Special Regulation for Papua Province dated 13 January 2011 which further annihilate the right and existence of indigenous Papuans in their own motherland.

We see such situation as Kairos, a momentum for Churches to speak and express our stance and deep concerns in the form of the following Theological Declaration.

First, we are convinced that these processes repeat the same old process of annexation of Papua into Indonesia which is legally and culturally a flaw. The process of the Act of Free Choice (Pepera) in 1969 has been the root of problem on democracy and legality for the people of Papua. Ever since its integration into Indonesia, Papua has become a troubled territory under the authority of the Indonesian government.

Second, Papuans have undergone a ‘Silence history of suffering’ or memmoria passsionis leading to Genocide. The discourse of genocide has long been voiced by so many observers who are deeply concerned over the very existence of Papuans. The term genocide perhaps does not meet the criteria set forth by the UN, or other nations, or by Indonesia. But from our own view as victims, genocide is indeed taking place through the conditioning staged by Jakarta in the forms of ideology and development policies that are against the indigenous Papuans. Transmigration policy and unrelenting military operations are, in our view well-planned programs to eventually annihilate indigenous Papuans. Papuans are positioned as “the other” and as such warrant surveillance, control, and civilization. Papuans are not equal citizens of Indonesia. Some observers in Jakarta view this as an internal colonialism or disguised slavery against Papuans.

Third, we, churches of Papua acknowledge our own failures and sins for being silent for too long over demonic and destructive nature of the development policy and modernization on indigenous Papuans, which according to observers in Jakarta as internal colonialism and disguised slavery. Papuan churches have misarticulated the Scripture which states: “the government is the Lord’s representative on earth, worthy of respect.” Up until now, this has caused us incapable of playing our prophetic role.

Fourth, to respond to the challenges faced by Papuans, we, the churches are determined to return to our roots, to our Christian traditions, namely to the Scripture and church history. Thus, we view the sufferings of our Papuan people from the biblical perspective (Matthew 16:3b) “signs of times” and see it as theological and missiological challenges. This implies that the Lord is sending us, Papuan churches to His people who are traversing a dark history of suffering and oppression. It is therefore, as churches in Papua we want to hear to regularly raise questions and communicate with the Lord “what do you have in mind with regard to the behavior of those who indulge in disguised slavery against our people? Do you agree and applaud them?”

Fifth, consequently we want to view this critical position of churches in Papua in expressing the grievances of Papuans in the land of Papua is an integral part of our calling to spread the good News commanded by the Holy Scripture. The Scripture and church history are our basis for action. In this mission, the church is sent to shepherd the Lord’s people, keep the image of the Lord to be free from abuse (John 10:11; 21:12, 16, 19). As shepherds, we are obliged to listen to the voices of our sheep (congregation); in this light we raise our voice because “our life boat is drowning; the candle of our people is being put off in the name of development and territorial sovereignty.”

Sixth, with regard to development policy and current government administration, we hereby declare: (a) that the Indonesian government has FAILED to promote the welfare of indigenous Papuans especially since the Special Autonomy was passed. Therefore we urge the government to immediately halt the whole process of election of members of the MRP (Papuan People’s Assembly) taking place currently and respond to the 11 point recommendation made by the MRP grand meeting; (b) and as a solution, we urge the Indonesian government to open itself and hold a dialogue with indigenous Papuans to be mediated by a neutral third party; (c) we are appalled by the attitude exhibited by indigenous Papuan state officers who are ignorant of the rights of their own people.

Seventh, we urge our Papuan communities to stand up, to work on your own salvation, and express the truth before the present tyrant state authorities, who is on a rampage of internal colonialism, ethnic cleansing (genocide), and disguised slavery against your own Nation.

Eight, to our Papuan communities, in Indonesia, and anywhere else, do pray for us in solidarity to make us stand firm in embracing today’s challenges in Papua that are full of pain and tears.

End of this declaration.

Leaders of Churches in Papua

Elly D. Doirebo M.Si
Deputy Chairperson of Synod of Evangelical Christian Church of Papua

Rev. Dr. Benny Giay
Chairperson of Synod of Papuan Christian Church

Rev. Socrates Sofyan Yoman MA
Chairperson of Fellowship Papuan Baptist Churches


Socratez Sofyan Yoman reject the MRP now being set up

JUBI, 15 February 2011


The chairman of the United Baptist Churches in Papua, the Rev Socratez Sofyan Yoman, is of the opinion that the new MRP (Majelis Rakyat Papua -Papuan People’s Assembly) now being formed will only add a new dimension to the suffering of the Papuan people.

‘Please don’t add to the people’s suffering. The Papuan people should be consistent in making no compromises with the members of the MRP now being appointed.’

He said that Special Autonomy (OTSUS) has been rejected by the people which means that the MRP, which is at the heart of OTSUS, will do nothing to protect the interests of the indigenous Papuan people (orang asli Papua) and its presence is not acceptable. He also said that the political elite should not try to utilise the present moment to promote their personal interests and cause further sufferings for the people.

He said that there is no legal justification or reason to continue with
the nomination of the new MRP because most of the churches are not
involved in the process, although some have allowed themselves to be

He called on the Papuan people to consistently refuse to get involved in the political process that is now under way. The people’s struggle must stay pure and press for something better.

‘We from the churches will stand by the voice of God’s congregation and continue to consistently reject OTSUS. ‘

Churches push for Jakarta-Papua dialogue

JUBI: 15 February 2011 

Speaking on behalf of the United Baptist Churches in Papua, the Rev. Socrates Sofyan Yoman   said since it is clear that OTSUS (Special Autonomy) in Papua is a failure, they will be pressing for a dialogue between the Papuan people and the central government, mediated by an international party.

‘A dialogue is the dignified way forward for the two sides,’ he said.

He said that the implementation of the OTSUS law had only resulted in oppression and discrimination  of the indigenous Papuan people while promoting the interests of the political elite in their efforts to press forward with their mission to strengthen the Indonesian state in the pursuance of its claim that Papua is an integral part of Indonesia.

‘We have repeatedly said that we reject OTSUS and will not compromise on this, unless the government is willing to enter into dialogue, mediated by a neutral body,’ he said.

‘We cannot sleep at night for thinking about the ever-worsening sufferings of  the Papuan people and we will continue to struggle for this with our last drop of blood.’

He said that he was currently visiting Jakarta to undertake diplomatic efforts in favour of dialogue.

‘We are pressing for dialogue as the way to solve the root of the Papuan problem and so as to ensure that the conflict with the Indonesian state does not continue endlessly, as well as for our mutual benefit,’ he said.

[A photograph alongside this item includes three Papuan leaders, Dr Beny Giay, Socratez Yoman and a third person who face we cannot identify.]

Socrates is not afraid; DPRP should summon military command and police chief

Bintang Papua, 11 August 2010

Sokrates is not afraid

DPRP should summon military command and police chief

Jayapura: Although faced with the threat of the use of force by the police, the chairman of the Central Board of the Baptist Churches in Papua, Reverend Socrates Sofyan Yoman, is not afraid.

On the contrary, he has accused the police of lack of fairness in their law enforcement in the Land of Papua. He said that complaints about the involvement of the police and the army have been made by many other people but he is the only person to have been summoned by them.

‘I am very concerned at the unfairness of the police and their lack of professionalism,’ said Socrates in a short statement to the press..

He said that many other people have criticised the security situation in the district of Puncak Jaya but none of them have been summoned by the police. ‘In my opinion, the forces of law enforcement are acting on behalf of sponsors keen to exert pressure on me as a church leader.’

He has repeatedly said that he is ready to face any consequences and will never run away should the police use force against him.

‘If they want to come and arrest me, I am waiting for them in my office or at home. I am not going anywhere because this is my homeland,’ he said.

It is worth recalling that Yoman rejected a decision by the Constitutional Court in April this year to prohibit the delivery of several of his books to the shops, and he said quite frankly on the Kick Andi programme on Metro TV that he totally rejected this ban. The Baptist Church believes that the security forces are imprisoning justice and democracy.

He said that the Papuan Baptist Church has called on the Indonesian parliament, the DPR, to summon the military commander of West Papua and the chief of police of Papua to explain why it is that the Puncak Jaya case which has been going on since 2004 has never ended, to reveal who is behind it and who is benefiting from a case that has caused so many casualties among the people.’


Bintang Papua, 11 August 2010

Sem Yaru not afraid of being punished

On Thursday 12 August, the court in the case against Semuel Yaru aka Sem Yar, Luther Wrai and Alex Mebri (on the wanted list) who are being tried for rebellion in conection with a peaceful demonstration and flying the Morning Star flag, is due to announce its verdict, according to a member of legal team, Gustaf Kawer.

He said that the defendant Sem Yaru has said on several occasions during the trial that he is ready to face the verdict and will comply with the court’s decision. ‘I have been confronted for years with the issue of ‘makar’ (rebellion). I am ready for whatever happens,’ he said.

Making it clear that he is not guilty, Sem Yaru said that he is not afraid of whatever happens, however harsh the sentence will be. ‘Why should I be afraid? This is a democracy and everything that I have done is in accordance with [the principles of ] democracy.’

On 16 November 2009, Sem Yaru, along with Luther Wrait and Alex Mebri mobilised the masses and produced a leaflet, as well as making other preparations for a demonstration in the forecourt of the office of the Majelis Rakyat Papua in Koraraja. On that occasion, Sem Yaru held aloft the Morning Star flag and tied it to a tree.

Thereupon he was arrested by the police and charged under Article 106 of the Criminal Code for rebellion and under Article 110 for incitement.

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