Tag Archives: SBY

Presidential palace still fails to understand the situation in Papua

General SBY - Military approach will not solve Papua's problems

Bintang Papua, 19 February, 2012Manokwari: The holding of constructive dialogue or communications between Jakarta and Papua as mentioned by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) is regarded in some circles as being part of the solution to the problems occurring in Papua.In the opinion of Mervin Komber, a Papuan member of the DPR, the Indonesian Parliament, such a dialogue should take its cue from the road map for Papua, and lead to better living conditions for the  Papuan people. According to Komber, in order to achieve this, the agenda for such a dialogue should reflect the actual conditions currently confronted by the  Papuan  people.

With regard to the leaders who should be invited to participate in such a dialogue, they should be  people with the ability to deal with all aspects of the situation, including governance, parliament, customary groups, spiritual leaders as well as including people from the ranks for ordinary Papuans who enjoy the confidence of their respective groups.

‘All of us  who are in favour of dialogue must seek to achieve something positive for Papua,’ he said in Manokwari recently.

While he supports dialogue, Komber is critical of recent steps taken by SBY in his attempts to work out the best format  for the dialogue. In his opinion, the President’s decision to ask Papuan religious leaders  for their opinion  about the format and the agenda for this dialogue was a mistake. Komber believes that the religious leaders will themselves be  part of the dialogue, which means that the President should not have discussions with them about the format of the dialogue. But the President should summon provincial and local leadeers such as members of the DPRD, the DPD and academia to get their views on the format.

Moreover, if  only some elements are asked to discuss the format, he fears that this could result in misunderstandings as a result of the various inputs received by SBY. ‘If there are disagreements between some of these leaders, the people around SBY might end up passing on erroneous information about the situation in Papua,’  said Komber  who is a former activist from the Catholic students organisation, PMKRI.

The same might also occur with regard to the final objective of the dialogue, according to Felix Wanggai, a special staff member [not clear what staff this refers to] who looks forward to seeing Papua become a zone of peace. In his opinion, this may mean that the  people at the presidential palace do not properly understand  what it is that the Papuan people want. ‘The dialogue we have in mind is only intended to accelerate development in Papue,’ he said.

Jakarta has still not take any decision about when this dialogue or constructive communication should take place. According to Komber, the Jakarta-Papua dialogue is very urgent indeed and SBY should not postpone it. He went on to say that the dialogue is closely related to the implementation of special autonomy, OTSUS which was enacted eleven years ago. This means, in his opinion, that this dialogue should take place some time before the end of 2012.

‘I very much hope  that it will take place during the course of this year because OTSUS will remain in force for only another ten years, whereas the dialogue should occur while OTSUS remains in force.’

Finally he said that as far as he is concerned, the venue of the dialogue is not  a problem . The crucial thing is that the dialogue should be inspired by the determination to achieve a long term solution for Papua. ‘The dialogue could be held in ways that accord with Papuan traditions, such as those used by customary groups, sitting in their honai, or other such places,’  this young legislator said in conclusion.

[Translated by TAPOL]

Open Letter to President of Indonesia on Papuan Political Prisoners

*c/o PO Box 21873
Brooklyn, NY 11202 USA

August 16, 2010

Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
Republic of Indonesia
Istana Merdeka
Jakarta Pusat 10110 Indonesia
Via Fax, E-mail

Dear President Yudhoyono:

As Indonesia’s National Day on 17 August approaches, we the undersigned non-governmental organizations engaged in the defense of human rights in Indonesia are deeply concerned that dozens of Papuans are incarcerated in prisons in Papua and West Papua simply for having been involved in non-violent demonstrations or expressions of opinion.

In most cases, these prisoners have been sentenced under Criminal Code Articles 106 and 110 regarding “rebellion.” These articles are a legacy from the Dutch colonial era and are in violation of the Indonesian Constitution, Articles 28(e) and 28(f) which respectively afford “the right to the freedom of association and expression of opinion,” and “the right to communicate and obtain information for the development of his/her personal life and his/her social environment, and shall have the right to seek, acquire, possess, keep, process and convey information by using all available channels.”

Moreover, Articles 106 and 110 are inconsistent with your country’s
international obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights (ICCPR) which Indonesia ratified in 2006. While the
ICCPR (article 19) notes that these rights are subject to certain
restrictions “for the protection of national security and of public
order or public health or morals,” the 1995 Johannesburg Principles on
National Security, Freedom of Expression, and Access to Information
identify clear standards for application of national security
restrictions. These Principles provide that persons should not be
restrained for expressing their opinions. Governments should only take
action against such expression of views on the grounds of national
security if they can demonstrate that they would incite acts of imminent violence. The prosecution of the aforementioned Papuan political prisoners has offered no evidence of any such threat of imminent violence in association with their physical or verbal actions.

While we strongly believe that none of these prisoners should have been prosecuted in the first place, we are also deeply concerned about the disproportionately harsh sentences imposed on these political prisoners given their non-violent acts. One prisoner arrested in 2004 and charged under these articles is serving a 15-year sentence while others have been given sentences of three or four years. Moreover, there have been alarming reports of maltreatment of the prisoners by prison warders and the lack of essential medical facilities. In one case, a prisoner with a serious prostate disorder had to wait eight months before being allowed to travel to Jakarta for essential treatment recommended by the local doctor. Severe Beatings of prisoners and detainees are frequently and credibly reported.

We the undersigned have on a number of occasions welcomed the democratic progress in Indonesian since the fall of the Suharto dictatorship, inspired by the Indonesian people. We recognize that this progress had been achieved despite frequent threats by the as yet unreformed Indonesian security forces.

In view of the tradition to mark Indonesia’s National Day on 17 August
by announcing the release of prisoners and bearing in mind the
restriction on essential freedoms such as those contained in Articles
106 and 110 of the Criminal Code we respectfully call on you to mark
this year’s celebrations by:

* releasing all Papuan political prisoners, including those already
convicted and those waiting trial;

* securing the deletion of Articles 106 and 110 of the Criminal Code;

* ordering an immediate investigation into conditions in the prisons
where the prisoners are being held and ensure the punishment of all
prison personnel held responsible for maltreatment.

We look forward to your response.


Aliansi Nasional Timor Leste Ba Tribunal Internasional (ANTI)/
Timor-Leste National Alliance for an International Tribunal
Australia West Papua Association Adelaide
Australia West Papua Association Brisbane
Australia West Papua Association Melbourne
Australia West Papua Association Newcastle
Australia West Papua Association Sydney
East Timor and Indonesia /Action/ Network (ETAN) (U.S.)
Foundation Akar (The Netherlands)
Foundation Manusia Papua (The Netherlands)
Foundation of Papuan Women (The Netherlands)
Foundation Pro Papua (The Netherlands)
Free West Papua Campaign UK
Freunde der Naturvölker e.V./FdN (fPcN) (Germany)
Human Rights Watch
KontraS (Indonesia)
Land is Life (U.S.)
La?o Hamutuk (Timor-Leste)
Perkumpulan HAK (HAK Association) (Timor Leste)
Tapol (Britain)
West Papua Advocacy Team (U.S.)
West Papua Network Germany