Tag Archives: Right of Self-determination

Arrests in Fak-Fak as demos support IPWP, reject UP4B

from West Papua Media and local sources

Confirmed reports have emerged from Fak-Fak, on the west coast of West Papua, that at least ten demonstrators were arrested by Indonesian police on March 1.

The demonstrations were being held to reject a new body – U4PB (or Program to Accelerate Development of Papua and West Papua) – appointed by Indonesia to re-implement the failed Special Autonomy package that was to give Papuans a greater share of their own wealth.  Regular protests from Papuan civil society have rejected this new body due to its refusal to consider Papuan demands, and  recognise the failure of the existing package.

Those arrested were identified as the following:

  1. Siswanto Tigtigweria
  2. Lukas Hegemur
  3. Quartus Ndoratndorat
  4. Modestus Komber
  5. Yeheskal Hegemur
  6. Nikson Hindom
  7. Pazco Hindom
  8. Samuel Rohrohmana
  9. Amos Wagab
  10. Renol Hegemur

The protest was also held to support the February 28 launch in Canberra, Australia, of a new regional chapter of the International Parliamentarians for West Papua.  This meeting attracted Members of Parliament from Vanuatu, New Zealand, and several parties in Australia, including MPs from the Australian Government.  Demonstrations in support of IPWP were held across ten centres in West Papua.

Neither Police or local human rights sources have been able to identity the exact nature of charges against the ten detainees.  However Indonesian police historically have laid Makar (Treason) charges against Papuans attending demonstrations in support of the right of self-determination.

West Papua Media was unsuccessful in seeking comment from Police.

This is a developing story.


Pacific cannot be truly free until West Papua is free, say activists

From our partners at Pacific Media Centre

West Papuan protesters demonstrate at Auckland University when UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon made a speech. Photo: Henry Yamo / PMC

Asia-Pacific Journalism, Pacific Media Centre

14 September, 2011

Henry Yamo

Free West Papua” … the Pacific isn’t free until West Papua is free. That is the four-decades-old West Papuan slogan that reverberated for a week as the Pacific islands countries gathered for the 42nd Pacific Islands Forum in New Zealand.

Ban Ki-moon waving to West Papuan protesters at Auckland University. Photo: Karen Abplanalp / PMC

Ban Ki-moon waving to West Papuan protesters at Auckland University. Photo: Karen Abplanalp / PMC

Dr John Ondawame from the West Papua People’s Representative Office in Vanuatu says: “Our call to the leaders of all Pacific countries is to support the West Papua peoples’ call for peace talks between the government of Indonesia and the people of West Papua.”

Pacific leaders must remember that the Pacific will never be free unless West Papua is free from the current oppression and atrocities that have lasted for more than 40 years caused by the Indonesian government, he says.

Dr Ondawame says their concerns are voiced particularly to their Melanesian neighbour countries to call on the government of Indonesia to take decisive decision on suggested peace talks and recommend a Forum fact-finding mission to West Papua.

“We are calling as Melanesian brothers and are very keen to meet with the Prime Minister of Vanuatu who has indicated to support our call,” he says.

“We also want to lobby with leaders from other Melanesian and Pacific countries to support Vanuatu when it raises the West Papua,” he said.

Fundamental right
The member for Te Tai Tokerau electorate and founding leader of the Mana Party in New Zealand, Hone Harawira, says he supports the cause of West Papuans because freedom is a fundamental right.

“As Pacific islanders we can only be totally free if West Papuans who are also from the Pacific are completely free from the current oppression,” says Harawira.

Jo Collins ... abuses will not go away. Photo: Henry  Yamo / PMC

Jo Collins … abuses will not go away. Photo: Henry Yamo / PMC

This was reinforced by the spokesperson for the Australian West Papua Association, Joe Collins, who says the Forum has to realise the abuses have been going on for many years and will not go away.

“People get shot or get burnt; tortures are carried out publicly on the streets so that it creates fear among the people.  The level of spying on West Papuans is very high, starting in villages and into towns and cities,” he says.

West Papua is one of the last conflict areas in the Pacific region. The international and Pacific governments should pay more attention to the level of torture and atrocities being experienced by the people.

Dr Ondawame says the freedom of West Papua is a Pacific issue that has received “embarrassingly  little” attention from Pacific countries while the United States and United Kingdom have made their position clear, calling for constructive and peaceful dialogue.

“At least Melanesian countries must act and we are pleased that Vanuatu is the only country that has come forward to firmly support the aspirations and independence of West Papua while our very close neighbour PNG has been silent and has been working closely with Indonesia,” he says.

Call for UN action
The United Nations cannot do much with human rights issues in West Papua unless Pacific Island countries unite and call for UN action.

Rex Rumakiek ... seeking peaceful solution. Photo: Henry Yamo / PMC

Rex Rumakiek … seeking peaceful solution. Photo: Henry Yamo / PMC

Secretary-General of the West Papua National Coalition for Liberation (WPCNL) Rex Rumakiek says: “West Papua has been part of the Pacific since the establishment of the South Pacific Commission and also as founding member of the Pacific Conference of Churches set up in 1956.

“And so it is timely for our Pacific brothers to adhere to our concerns when the opportunity arose. We are here to seek that support.”

Rumakiek says the people of West Papua will continue to take up the call until a peaceful solution to the problems is found, ending the shameful atrocities encountered.

Meanwhile, activist Paula Makabory says their struggle is not a fight against the Indonesian government but also against imperialism and neo-colonialism.  It is about being Melanesian within Indonesia.

“Shouting West Papua or free West Papua or even displaying the West Papua flag in West Papua has landed people in jail for 15-20 years or have been beaten very badly that some eventually succumb to their injuries.”

She says even though Indonesia has rectified civil and political rights under the UN treaty, West Papuans are constantly under military surveillance and humiliated every now and then.

Their united call is for the Forum to support their call for a peaceful dialogue with the Indonesian government and to grant West Papuan representatives observer status at their annual conferences.

The West Papuans believe that the Forum cannot say it promotes regional stability, while overlooking and neglecting the deadliest issue that has dragged on for over four decades.

Henry Yamo is a postgraduate journalist on the Asia-Pacific Journalism course at AUT University’s School of Communication Studies.

More coverage on the West Papua issue at the Pacific Islands Forum

KNPB Press Release: Papuan people don’t need welfare, they want a Referendum

The People of PAPUA DO NOT NEED WELFARE Measures, But a REFERENDUM Needs to Take Place Immediately!

West Papua National Committee [KNPB] –
Press Release London, August 25, 2011.

After the mass mobilization of the people of Papua on 2nd August 2011, and the conference of the International Lawyers on West Papua (ILWP) in Oxford England, conflicts and various cases of violence continue to occur in Papua. The events attracted reactions from various parties as they gave their boisterous opinions, statements, and speculative solutions, which do not touch the essence of the conflict in West Papua. The Government of the Republic of Indonesia and various other parties still consider that the conflict in Papua is a consequence of an accumulation of problems rooted in poverty and underdevelopment, as well as the mere result of the failure of special autonomy.

In that perspective, the Government of the Republic of Indonesia feels compelled to issue a variety of policies and development programs in Papua. On the one hand, there are also groups claiming to act on behalf of the people of Papua and that take advantage of the people’s movement to negotiate a solution for a peace dialogue in the Republic of Indonesia, while at the same time, the Government is advised to unfold a Presidential Unit to Accelerate the Development of Papua and West Papua (the so-called “UP4B”).

Whereas, in fact, the people of West Papua clearly and openly demand the respect of their right to self-determination through a referendum. In the heart of every Papuan, there is the burning and irresistible desire to determine their own fate, a principle by which they strongly wish to run their own affairs and to stand as an independent country, free from any occupation. That inner voice resounds in every statement, every speech, every pamphlet and banner, every single time thousands of Papuans come together in mass actions mediated by the West Papua National Committee (KNPB), every single time demonstrations continue to unfold in Papua.

We see and hear in every speech that they, the people of Papua, have never demanded welfare and development through the policies of the special autonomy, nor did they call for UP4B or any other unit or plan, as a guarantee of life within the framework of the Unitary Republic of Indonesia. They do not complain because they are hungry or poor, as they live on their own land which is extremely wealthy, and which continues to be exploited by colonialists and capitalists. The one thing they want is the restoration and respect of their political right, a right that was seized by the forced integration in Indonesia in 1962 and the implementation of the 1969 so-called Act of Free Choice. The people of Papua form a legal entity under international law and by virtue of this they have the right to freely determine their own political future, through the mechanism of a fair and democratic referendum.

Because of the above reasons, we assert that the Government of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) has been mistaken in its understanding of the political upheaval in West Papua that continues to smolder. Speculative assumptions should not be used as a solution in the making of policy. Because in the end, policies that are disproportional will worsen the image of the SBY Government: the trillions of money which continue to be poured into Papua for the realization of Special Autonomy projects, the UP4B, as well as the financing of the army (TNI) and the police, will only add to the already poor record of corruption and persistent human rights violations.

Out of all these policies, the people of Papua will not accept a policy which would be the result of a compromise. The Papuan people will continue with rebellion. And all the way through, the Papuan conflict will never be suppressed by manipulation policies presented under the label of accelerated development.

We convey to the government of Indonesia that they should immediately stop all these policies and immediately show the political will to open up democratic space for the people of West Papua through a referendum, because under international law, the 1969 Act of Free Choice was flawed.

Victor F. Yeimo
International Spokesperson for KNPB


Victor F. Yeimo,
International Spokesperson for the West Papua National Committee [ KNPB ]
“Tidak ada kemenangan revolusioner tanpa teori revolusioner”

ALDB: On 17 August, Freedom for Papua?


Since the beginning of August 2011, Papuan people have been confronted
by a series of violent actions, which have occurred one after the other.
On some occasions, activities in the community have stopped altogether
then its back to normal, with people going to their offices, to the
market, to school and to places of worship. There is hardly anywhere
that can be said to be safe. No one seems to be sure that Jayapura is safe.

Since 1 August, nothing has been normal. Shots were fired at vehicles on
11 and 15 August in Abe Pantai. On 16 August at crack of dawn, flags
were flown and there were attacks against civilians in BTN Tanah Hitam
Soon afterwards, people were chased while there were armed clashes from
5.30am till 11am. There was panic and children were sent home from
school. No one could guarantee that these acts of violence would end
some time soon.

Police and army have been seen driving in patrol vehicles on the
streets, while soldiers have been seen in cars or walking in the street
with rifles at the ready. Apart from all this, unknown people have been
mobilised in public places, not in great numbers but such things have
never happened before.

Armed violence in Papua has been occurring not only in places like
Puncak Jaya or around the Freeport mine but also in Jayapura, especially
in Abepura, Tanah Hitam, Nafri and its surroundings.Violence has even
come close to our homes. One colleague said: ‘Be careful when leaving
home because you could become a victim because these sporadic actions
are being targeted against anyone in order to spread fear.’

People are afraid that these acts of violence are aimed at creating the
conditions for a major incident that is about to occur. The thing to be
avoided at all costs is for these acts of provocation to lead to a
horizontal conflict.

The location of the incidents and the close sequence of the events has
spread fear among people, with strange ideas spreading because those
responsible are still roaming freely even though operations have been

‘It’s all a question of politics,’ said a driver in Arso13 who had a bad
personal experience because of the event on 1 August in Nafri. He had
passed through Nafri one hour earlier on his way to market and was also
taking his sick brother to Jayapura for treatment. Another trader said:
‘Why is it so difficult to catch the perpetrators when the incidents
occurred near a garden or in a residential area?’

These two people may not be able to analyse these events but what they
are saying is representative of the thoughts of people who simply do not
understand why ordinary people can be the target of acts of violence.
When they speak like this, it means that they want the government to
deal with the problems being faced by their fellow citizens. These
people are not just a statistic; they are an important component for
creating peace in Papua. They are calling on the government to do
something serious to protect its citizens.

During investigations by a joint team set up by the army and the police
consisting of about 300 people, the police identified nineteen people
who will be charged for the Nafri incident on 1 August, based on a
document that was discovered when they were hunting a group in the Nafri
mountains which is alleged to be the place where members of the TNP/OPM
led by Danny Kogoya are active. He is also alleged to have been
responsible for the Nafri incident in November 2010. Those who were
responsible must have been very clever indeed because those incidents
occurred in a very public place and within a very short period.

Whatever is being done to solve these cases of violence in Papua is a
great mystery. Even in the case of incidents that occurred in an open
place like Nafri, the perpetrators have not yet been caught .Things are
much more problematic in places like Tingginambut in Puncak Jaya. All
this is a great challenge to the capability of the police. In other
parts of the country, they have been praised for their ability to combat
terrorism with support from various international agencies. But what is
happening in Papua is a paradox..

Can we be sure about the way the police are handling these acts of
violence here in Papua? Are they themselves confident of their ability
to deal with these acts of violence? They need maximum support to ensure
that the results of their investigations will lead to formal proceedings
in a court of law.

17 August is the 66th anniversary of Indonesian independence. The
red-and-white flag will be flying everywhere to mark the day of
independence, but in our hearts there is nothing but fear. It is the
responsibility of the civil government to deal with all these acts of
violence in Papua instead of busying themselves all the time with the
election of the governor. Without realising it, their authority is
simply reduced to concerns about their political interests while
reproducing provocations that lead to acts of violence.

Numerous problems in Papua since OTSUS was enacted

JUBI. 15 May 2011Since the enactment of OTSUS, the special autonomy law for Papua, a pile of problems have hit Papua. There has been no decline in the number of problems; on the contrary, they have steadily increased.Many buildings have been constructed that are of no benefit to the indigenous population. Take for instance the construction of commercial premises and the fate of Papuan businesspeople. ‘These buildings are for other people,’ said Olga Helena Hamadi, Director of the Commission for Disappearances and the Victims of violence, KontraS, on Saturday.

As for the demands for permanent business premises for Papuan businessmen, they are still struggling for this to happen. Their future is still very much in the air. The kind of premises they have been calling for have not been built by the government. The premises that have been built do not last long even though they have been calling for this since 2004., she said.

OTSUS makes provision for a Commission of Truth and Reconciliation to be set up but all that has happened since OTSUS has been the creation of a National Human Rights Commission which means that human rights violations, acts of violence and shootings are only dealt with by the Komnas HAM. The result is that many cases have got stuck, some of which got no farther than a court hearing. There has been no follow-up.

Furthermore, there has been no proper accounting for OTSUS funds. No procedures are in place to control the use of these funds. There is no accountability because no procedures have been put in place.

She said that all these things point to the failure of OTSUS, which has failed because no procedures have been put in place.

She said that she was making these clarifications because  of a previous news report  that OTSUS had not failed.. ‘We dont agree that OTSUS has not been a failure, because since the enactment of OSUS, a number of problems have emerged.’

Translated by TAPOL