Opinion: Breaking down the wall separating Papua & Jakarta


By : Rufinus Madai

 written March 12, 2014

The conflict in Papua points to there being two parties competing for the role to be seen to be ‘dealing with’ those regarded as the opposition, the Papuan Freedom Movement. These two parties being the Indonesian Armed Forces versus those which have become known in Papua as ‘OTK’ being ‘unidentified person/s’.  But in any case the end result is the same, the death of innocent indigenous Papuans. It is the indigenous Papuan community that suffers the constant loss of loved ones, the extreme stress, worry and fear that results from the continual violence committed by these two parties. When we hear of calls for an end to the violence yet again from the civilian sector in particular regions of Papua we know that behind that there has been yet again victims as a result of violence by certain parties. Is Papua going to always live in this situation of violence and conflict such that the people feel forced to struggle to find peace?

Of course the indigenous Papuan community dearly hopes that peace will come about in the land but to the present time the voice of Papuans calling for change has been being increasingly silenced. Nevertheless the  community continues calling for peace without ceasing and will continue to do so until the day if Indonesian Government succeeds in ensuring their voice is no more. Papuans long for peace but they know that those evil and cruel actions that are being carried out constantly by those holding the power in Indonesia must be stopped.  Actions that ruin the entire lives of others, that create great loss and destroy  the harmony and togetherness between those living in the same land. The Papuan community desires that peace between people which will eventually create an atmosphere of brother and sisterhood in the land, so that there may be harmony between different religions, cultures, tribes, races and social groups in the one land.

 To that end a number of groups and components within the Papuan community have been calling for dialogue between Jakarta and Papua. The call has come from the primary religious groups in Papua, from the Papuan Peace Network (Jaringan Damai Papua or JPD)  from NGO’s, human rights organisations in Papua and others that focus on humanist values. These groups remain committed to bringing an end to the inhumane acts that are being committed against human beings in Papua by the Indonesian military, police, ‘unidentified persons’ (OTK) and paramilitary groups (GPK).  If that dialogue is to be successful both parties must convey their hopes and concerns in an open manner with the mutual goal of bringing to an end to the conflict in Papua. For as long as those concerned do not unite in a mutually open way to discuss the problems, there will continue to mutual undermining of each other, continually each will see the other as enemy and the Indonesian Armed Forces and the TPN/OPM will continue to kill each other.

Of course those who are the primary victims in the middle of this conflict are the little people. The Indonesian Armed Forces as well as some elements of the TPN/OPM not only sacrifice the community in their  armed conflict but also continuously have the effect of hindering development in Papua. If we consider the situation of the Papuan community at this time, most still live in poverty, are oppressed, are being treated cruelly by the Indonesian Armed Forces, arrested and many are being killed whether by overt or covert means. Furthermore the community is feeling the Central Government’s Special Autonomy package has been forced on them. Indeed Special Autonomy  has been implemented in the community but it has totally failed to bring about any positive changes at the level of the people. The Indonesian Government has never recognised the specialness of the Papuan community and so has never made adjustments accordingly so that their plans might meet the hopes of the Papuan community. How can local leaders possibly develop Papua under Special Autonomy with such conditions?

We must look at the primary causes of why there are so many tragic incidents in Papua, so many atrocities committed, so many ‘developments’ that are not in accordance with the hopes of all citizens in Papua.  And we certainly don’t need to look far for the answers as they are very black and white. At the root of the problem is that Indonesia’s idea is to develop Papua with a security approach and in the sole interests of the Republic of Indonesia.  In bringing that about they are creating conflict in Papua such that the indigenous civilian population is forced to live in a situation where there is no peace. Where the victims are many indigenous Papuans and even nature itself of Papua is being destroyed.

Indonesia is well aware of the extent of the problems in Papua . If Indonesia truly regards the indigenous community of Papua as part of the  Republic of Indonesia, then they must stop allowing them to suffer continuously. The number of lives that have been lost in even the regions of Kab, Nabire, Paniai, Deiyai, Dogiyai and Puncak Jaya in this month of Ramadan are by no means small in number. The extent of grief over people lost in Papua itself creates a moral demand on Jakarta to open itself to dialogue with Papua. The longer the time before dialogue occurs the harder it will be for Jakarta to be received by the Papuan community. For how can the indigenous Papuan community possibly truly feel that the Indonesian Government are their leaders whilst this situation is allowed to continue? Where is Jakarta’s morality if they show no heart to help and have no sense of solidarity with those who grieve over so much loss? The situation is now most extreme in Papua and yet still to date the conflict in Papua has not been discussed in a way that is just, peaceful, democratic and dignified.

The best way to build a bridge between Papuan and Jakarta is to carry out dialogue with a neutral third party. Let us all lobby so that this dialogue becomes a reality in the interests of Papua becoming a land of peace.

The Writer is a post-graduate level theological student at the Catholic Seminary in Abepura, Papua.  

The Opinions stated in this article are those of the author’s, and are not necessarily shared by West Papua Media, they are published to reflect the diversity of opinion within Papuan civil society and to stimulate discussion between internal components and international solidarity networks

General Assembly of Pacific Churches supports self-determination for West Papua

Tabloid Jubi
14 March 2013
The Tenth General Assembly of the Churches of the Pacific which was held in Honiara, the Solomon Islands from 3 – 10 March adopted a programme of activities to document the human rights violations occurring in West Papua  and in support  of West Papua’s right to independence.The General Assembly adopted  a programme of documenting and effectively advocating justice and respect for the basic rights of West Papua, in partnership together with its ecumenical colleagues, civil society and governments in the region.The press release issued by the General Assembly said: ‘This will mean that West Papua becomes a strong focus and part of the programme of the General Assembly of Pacific Churches for the right to self determination for non-self governing  territories and for nations and people that want independence.’

The delegations attending the meeting declared that they acknowledge the basic human rights of all peoples and in particular the right to self-determination of all indigenous people who are oppressed and colonised throughout the world, in accordance with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The press release also called for the right to self-determination of the Maohi Nui People (Tahiti). The delegates said that the issue of decolonisation has for many years been the focus of the General Assembly of Pacific Churches. They announced their full support for Tahiti to be restored to the UN decolonisation list.

[Translated by TAPOL]


“Victor, we are ready to wreak havoc and clash with all of you” : Reflections by an unrepentant leader

by Victor Yeimo

Witness: Participant Analysis

December 3, 2012

Police Captain Kiki Kurnia: “We’re Ready To Clash.”

“Victor, we are ready to wreak havoc and clash with all of you.”

Those are the words spat out by police captain Kiki Kurnia, who yesterday (December 1) led hundreds of fully-armed police officers to put a stop to the Long March of students and the people. I was very sad to hear these words so righteously issued by the police, who present themselves as being on the side of safety. Do the police want safety, or do they not?Yeimo-ditangkap

When I was the leader of the Long March headed for Expo Waena on December 1 in Sentani, police backed by the Indonesian military had already closed off access to the people of West Papua who would pray. Since the late afternoon (30/11), Theys H. Eluay field, which is the field of (great significance and sacredness to) the West Papuan national struggle, had been controlled by the military and by the national police, although all the civil society organizations had long since said that their prayers and celebrations would take place there.

On November 19, police entered a prayer room in Aula STAKIN in Sentani and tried to stop me as I was giving a reception after prayers, and then yesterday on December 1 the people wanted to worship and eat at the Theys H. Eluay field but were prohibited, blockaded and arrested by the full force of the military. The question is, why did the military and the police force deliberately take control of the field and then shamelessly hold a traditional stone cooking event (a Indonesian-appropriated Papuan Custom) with a handful of residents who were offered money?

If the police are tasked with security, why exactly is that security so insecure when facing inhabitants who are conducting prayers peacefully? Is the Theys H. Eluay field, owned by the traditional people of West Papua, only permitted for use by the Indonesian military and the police force? If the law is just, why wasn’t police captain Kiki Kurnia charged with incitement to violence? As he himself clearly  (attempted) incited the mass action I led to commit violence on the streets in front of Dian Harapan Hospital yesterday.

If the police prohibit students from campaigning to put a stop to AIDS on West Papua’s Independence Day, why must it be prohibited? Do the police not want HIV/AIDS awareness campaigns to take place? Isn’t his proof that the police are ensuring and championing ethnic cleansing in West Papua? Why do the police prevent worship on West Papua’s Independence Day? Why do the police see more political and economic motivations than the goodwill and intentions of the people who want to interpret December 1, 2012 as World AIDS Day, the opening of Christmas festivities and the Independence Day of West Papua?

I lead my people safely and with restraint. I have personally guaranteed that I will be arrested or shot if there is a criminal act committed by people, but why in the safe Long March were we forcibly dispersed and captured like animals? Actually, who was it that committed the crime? Was it the people, or the police?

The police did not only incite the violence that happened, but yesterday (1/12) the police, through (Adjunct Senior Commissioner) Alfred Papare, publicly lied. Myself and the masses did not throw rocks at the police, however it was covered by several media sources that the police chief said we did so. In an era of openness such as this, why is there a need for mutual deceit when everybody saw yesterday that the police had no reason to blockade, arrest and attack people with tear gas? After I “escaped” from Abepura Sub-District Command, I had not received a call from the Jayapura Chief of Police, the aforementioned Alfred Papare, as stated by Wakapolda Papua, Paulus Waterpau, to Tabloid Jubi.

Better for the Police to become the Social Services

The idea of Papua’s Chief of Police, Tito Karnavian, to give out groceries and distribute help the mountain people of Papua in Jayapura and the Jayapura municipality makes me wonder a little. Has the police chief already switched functions from a chief of police who must preserve security, only to become the head of the Department of Social Services who must give social support to the people? Is this country unhealthy? Money for providing support to the people is redirected into the Police Department and the Police Department takes over the functions of the Department of Social Services.

For me, the efforts of the police department to muffle and destroy the basis of the Papua Independence conflict are obviously speculative, as well as inappropriate. Go ahead, if the police department and the Republic of Indonesia believe that our ideology can be bought off with money. Tens to hundreds of millions have been redirected to the Asrama Rusnawa Uncen, since becoming the basis for conflict, and the police are very hopeful that students will regard them as righteous people, as kind people. Well, again, it is better that the Police Institution in Jayapura be renamed as the Department of Social Security or the Department of Education, so that matters concerning the improvement of the Asrama Rusnawa Uncen and student welfare can just be taken over by the police.

Does Indonesia believe that money can silence the aspiration and ideology of independence for the people of West Papua? I am convinced the people of Papua that are given money and material aid from the police are only making use of them, because within the individual West Papuan person there is a flesh-and-blood desire for Papuan Independence, however difficult it is. So, go ahead, half-dead police and a waste of money to the people of Papua. Go ahead and pan the sympathy and dreams of the people who have hated the occupation of this land. Almost half a century practicing the policies of the Republic of Indonesia, and all models of development cannot turn the people of West Papua into people of Indonesia. Papua will rise and awaken by itself alone.

Idea of Separatists and Terrorists is a project of the TNI and Police 

There are no separatists and terrorists in West Papua; only those who demand the right to self-determination as legally protected under international law. The idea of separatists and terrorists is created by the state to disgrace the legal struggle of the West Papuan people, and created by the Indonesian military and the police with a view to expanding their territory, and their wealth. For the sake of money alone, the circumvention of the state apparatus and the deception of the state apparatus, alias “bullshitting a lot” (direct translation).

My organization, the National Committee of West Papua (KNPB), struggles in peace and does not want to create chaos that will strengthen the funds of the military and the police force. Consequently, the national police force does not like peaceful action, because in a situation that is safe and peaceful, the military and the police force will be poverty-stricken. Many security institutions in Indonesia have hundreds of troops that must be paid by the state. Moreover in Papua, there are now many civilian militias formed by the state; thousands have been recruited, and must be paid. All are created with the objective of “stripping bare” the security responsibility from the Indonesian government in West Papua that fall under the name of “eradicating separatists and terrorists.”

Forgive me; my group and I will not accept food from the military or the police, so there is no need to criminalise or drop that bomb on the National Committee of West Papua to stigmatise us, so that the project money can be maintained. These ways have become commonplace, and we are bored of them. The people are smart, and getting smarter: they have already been taught these ruses by the colonialists. Ways such as this will finally tarnish the image of the Republic of Indonesia in West Papua. So it is best not to try to painstakingly search for such an image. Oh, and yesterday in Guyana, Member of Parliament told Benny Wenda: “Oppression alone will burn the spirit of the independence struggle.”

Why not kill me, or imprison me? Why was I released? Oh, it is certainly not because I cheated. I will see this for what it truly is. There are demonstrations in the streets. Now that I have planted the seeds of resistance here and the invaders sow these seeds with their own actions. I must thank the colonialists for continuously teaching us to aspire to true humanity by means of rebellion.

Victor Yeimo wrote this article immediately upon his release from police custody on Monday December 3. 

Translated by West Papua Media volunteer translators

Children pray for release of Forkorus and his co-defendants

Forkorus Yaboisembut outside court. Photo: West Papua Media
JUBI, 9 May 2012Dozens of children  from the KINGMI Church in Waena held joint prayers on Wednesday this week, praying for the release of Forkorus Yaboisembut and his four colleagues.  They were intending to hold the joint prayers in the grounds of their school in Abepura but because the building was undergoing restoration, the prayers were said at the church.

JUBI journalist said that the children were very enthusiastic about the event  and had made posters about the many social and political issues in Papua.that have overwhelmed the Papuan people.

Adolof Tenouye, who led the prayers said  that they were all very concerned about the numerous problems in Papua, such as human rights violations, as well as economic and cultural problems.They said prayers for the restoration of their country in the hope that it could emerge from its present problems

One of the banners which they unfurled said: ‘We love my father, the President of West Papua.’ As is known, Forkorus Yaboisembut is the president of the Federal Republic of West Papua which was proclaimed on 19 October 2011, at the end of the Papuan People’s Congress. Forkorus and his co-defendants were found guilty of treason and were convicted to three years each.

The other four men are: Edison Waromi, Selpius Bobii, Dominikus Sorabat and Agust Makbrawen who are all in custody in Abepura Prison.

Video Report: Thousands in Jayapura demonstrate in support of “New Guinea Council: First Steps” conference in Netherlands

Benny Wenda at the IPWP launch Русский: Бенни ...
Benny Wenda at the IPWP launch

from West Papua Media sources

Demonstrations were held in Jayapura on April 5 in support of a groundbreaking conference held in The Hague, The Netherlands, to examine  pathways to the reinstatement of the New Guinea Council or Nieuw-Guinea Raad, the original Parliament of West Papua from 1961 until Indonesia’s invasion.

Jayapura was again brought to a standstill by the demonstration organised by the West Papua National Committee (KNPB), where several thousand people gathered hear speeches and to voice their solidarity with the “Nieuw-Guinea Raad: the First Steps” Conference.

Indonesian security forces were in attendance in large numbers at the rally, but no act of violence or provocation were reported by rally organisers.

In The Hague, speakers at the conference organised by the International Parliamentarians for West Papua (IPWP) and held at the Dutch Parliament, included exiled UK-based independence figure Benny Wenda, Dutch Parliamentarians including Harry van Bommel, Cees van der Staaij, and Wim Kortenoeven.  International Lawyers for West Papua (IPWP) Co-ordinator and international human rights lawyer Jennifer Robinson also spoke, demanding The Netherlands honour its “sacred trust” of its promise of independence for the West Papuan people, and assist West Papuan to fulfil their human right to self-determination.

The New Guinea Council (Nieuw-Guinea Raad) was established on April 5 1961 whilst under Dutch administration as the concept of a more democratic mode of administration started to develop, as a body that was to be the basis for a independent West Papuan parliament.  According to the International Parliamentarians for West Papua, “The establishment of regional councils came from the requirement that the Charter of the United Nations imposed on the Netherlands: that the interests of the inhabitants of Dutch New Guinea had to be paramount.”
“The Netherlands was to respect the right to self-rule and had to take the political aspirations of the indigenous people into account. They were also meant to support the Papuan people with the gradual development of their own political institutions.  There are documents. We are not speaking of vague promises, but we are speaking of real firm commitments for the independence of the West Papuan people,” explained a spokesperson for IPWP.

“Unfortunately by signing the New York Agreement (1962) the Dutch governments abandoned the West Papuan people,” the spokesperson said.

Footage from the demonstrations in Papua:

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Presentations at the conference in The Netherlands:

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