AMP Yogyakarta holds silent protest commemorating Operation Trikora invasion of Papua.

Statue erected to celebrate the inclusion of W...
Statue of Yos Sudarso erected to celebrate the theft of West Papua into Indonesia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

December 21, 2012

from West Papua Media Stringers and AMP in Jogjakarta

Hundreds of Papuan students belonging to the Papuan Students Alliance (AMP) staged a silent protest on Wednesday (19/12) commemorating the 51st anniversary of Trikora, the campaign that enabled the military invasion of West Papua by Indonesian forces.

The mass action began with a long march from the Papuan student hostel ‘Kamasan 1’ to the centre of town in front of the Post Office, at 11.00, West Indonesian time [WIB].  The students carried and wore messages about their protest as local media followed events from the sidelines, despite heavy rain.

One of the protest co-ordinators, Phaul Hegemur, said that on 19 December 1961, then Indonesian president Soekarno proclaimed TRIKORA (Tri Komando Rakyat, or the Triple People’s Command) in the North Alun-Alun [town square], intended to stymie the formation of the independent state of West Papua that had been declared on 1 December 1961 whilst under Netherlands administration.

Following that, Soekarno as Commander of the forces for the ‘Liberation of West Irian’ [now Papua] issued Presidential Decree. 1 of 1962, which ordered the Mandala Commander, Major General Soeharto, to conduct a military operation to seize the territory of West Papua as a region of Indonesia, said Phaul.

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“So there followed several waves of Military Operations: among others by air, were Operation Banten Kedaton, Operation Garuda, Operation Serigala, Operation Kancil, Operation Naga, Operation Rajawali, Operation Lumbung, Operation Jatayu. Operations by sea included Operation Show of Force, Operation Cakra, and Operation Lumba-Lumba,” Hegemur said.

Hegemur explained that it was also the beginning of the phase of exploitation through Operation Jayawijaya and Special Operations [Opsus].  “Through this, West Papua was occupied, and it’s suspected that many many Papuans were massacred at that time.  And up to the present, the military-police forces are the most powerful state apparatus that Indonesia uses to crush the resistance of the Papuan people wanting full independence.”

Human Rights violations against the Papuan people continue to occur due to the brutality of the Indonesian military.

The silent protest made 7 demands:

  1. That the Indonesian government and its allies immediately recognize the Independence of West Papua on December 1, 1961,
  2. That we vehemently oppose the results of International Law (the New York Agreement and the Rome Agreement), and make the UN immediately responsible to reverse the unilateral surrendering of West Papua to the Republic of Indonesia, based on the people’s decision of 1969 [Pepera] which led to the United Nations General Assembly Resolution No. 2504 (XXIV) condemning Pepera as undemocratic and unrepresentative.
  3. That we strongly reject the demeaning offerings of the colonial Indonesian government (Special Autonomy, UP4B, National Dialogue, Peace Talks) through the limbs of PAPINDO in West Papua,
  4. That those who have seriously transgressed Human Rights be immediately brought to justice through the mechanism of the International Criminal Court based in The Hague, The Netherlands;  that both organic and non-organic military should be pulled out and the violence against the people of West Papua cease forthwith,
  5. On behalf of the West Papuan people from Sorong to Merauke, we firmly PROTEST the TRIKORA declaration that trashes the value of humanity ​​in Papua,
  6. We demand that West Papua be open to International Journalists and International Human Rights Workers,
  7.  Finally that a REFERENDUM of the Papuan people be held soon.

Tapol: Britain and Indonesia – Too close for comfort?

TAPOL Press release
President’s visit prompts fresh concerns about arms sales and training of anti-terror police

30 October 201

British-funded training of Indonesia’s anti-terror police, Special Detachment 88, should be reviewed in the light of serious concerns about the unit’s human rights record and its operations in Papua, says TAPOL ahead of a state visit to London by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono from 31 October to 2 November 2012.

In the run-up to the visit TAPOL, which promotes human rights, peace and democracy in Indonesia, is also appealing for an immediate ban on the sale to Indonesia of any military equipment that may be used for internal repression.

“While British businesses are no doubt eagerly anticipating the President’s visit, victims of human rights abuses will derive little comfort from the prospect of increased arms sales and ongoing training of Indonesian security forces,” says Paul Barber, Coordinator of TAPOL.

As the UK government prepares a state welcome for President Yudhoyono, rights groups from the UK and beyond are organizing an alternative welcome at a demonstration on behalf of the victims of human rights abuses outside Downing Street from 13:00 to 14:30 on Wednesday 31 October.

While Indonesia has made substantial progress in its transition from dictatorship to democracy since the downfall of former President Suharto in May 1998, serious human rights concerns remain.

“The news that the President is to receive a prestigious honour from the Queen is a gross affront to those who have suffered violations at the hands of successive Indonesian governments,” said Barber [1].

Special Detachment 88, known as ‘Densus 88’ was formed after the Bali bombings in 2002 to combat terrorism, but is reportedly being deployed to tackle other issues, such as alleged separatism in Indonesia’s conflict-affected provinces. Local civil society monitors say Densus 88 is being used to crack down on the Papuan independence movement, and the unit has been implicated in the assassination of its leaders, such as Mako Tabuni who was shot dead in June this year.

The unit is trained at the Jakarta Centre for Law Enforcement Cooperation, JCLEC, which received a minimum of £400,000 in funding from Britain in the financial year 2011/12, as well as training provided by British officers. These include the UK’s South East Asia Counter Terrorism & Extremism Liaison Officer Detective Superintendent Phil Tucker; former Metropolitan Police Commander Bob Milton, and David Gray, an officer from the Counter Terrorism Command at New Scotland Yard who sits on JCLEC’s Board of Supervisors and has been teaching on the course since August 2009.

In July this year, leading Indonesian human rights NGO, KontraS, published research which stated that Densus 88 operations commonly involved arbitrary arrest and detention, torture, physical abuse and injury causing death [2].

Indonesia has been identified by the UK as a priority market for defence sales, with Prime Minister David Cameron boosting the export effort when he visited Jakarta with arms company executives in April 2012. The value of approved arms export licences has risen dramatically under the coalition government. The use of British equipment such as Hawk jets, armoured personnel carriers and water cannon for internal repression has been widely documented over the years and was acknowledged by the British Government in the 1990s. UK Tactica vehicles have been used to crush protest on the streets of Jakarta as recently as March this year, and are used by Indonesia’s notorious paramilitary police unit Brimob.

During the President’s visit, groups including TAPOL, Down to Earth, Survival International, Progressio and Christian Solidarity Worldwide will be highlighting these and other key issues, including Human Rights in Papua; The Need for Dialogue in Papua; Freedom of Expression; Rights, Livelihoods and Climate Justice; Religious Intolerance; and Timor-Leste and Impunity.

Information on these issues is set out in a briefing available here.


Contact: Paul Barber on 01420 80153 / 07747 301 739 or Esther Cann on 07503 400 308.


1. President Yudhoyono will reportedly be awarded the Knights Grand Cross of the Order of Bath by the Queen during his visit.

2. KontraS report on Densus 88 available from TAPOL on request

ELSHAM finds evidence of 749 acts of violence in Papua


15 August 2012
Jayapura: ELSHAM, – the Institute for the Study and Advocacy of Human Rights in Papua – found evidence of 749 acts of violence that befell the people living in Papua. Most of these acts of violence occurred during arbitrary arrests and detentions.This is reported in the recently launched book, Masa Lalu dan Tak Lalu – The Past and Never Past – which was published by ELSHAM and the International Centre for Transitional Justice.

During its investigations, the researchers examined 108 testimonies about human rights violations . They spoke to 76 people in Biak, 12 people in Manokwari, ten people in Paniai and ten people in Sorong. The period covered was from the mid 1960s (prior to the Act of Free Choice in 1969) up to the period of ‘reformasi’ (following the downfall of Suharto).

Their researchers spent three months out in the field, studying testimonies and obtained information about 749 cases.

Of the 749 cases, 312 were violations against males and 56 violations against women. The details were obtained from101 victims who were  interviewed. One hundred and one victims  had suffered violations together with a group of people or with more than one person. The types of violence were arbitrary arrests and detentions, 234 cases,  military operations against the civilian population including operations to forcibly evict people 181 cases, and torture and ill-treatment, 97 cases.

There were also 86 cases of deaths as the result of extreme torture,  threats 53 cases, assaults 28 cases, the seizure or destruction of  people’s belongings, gardens or livestock  22 cases, orders to report 26 cases, attacks and searches of people’s homes 4 cases, lack of access to food or medication 4 cases, forcible removals, preventing people from finding work 4 cases, forcible removals 3 cases, lack of access to food or medications, denial of access to families 2 cases, trials without lawyers,  2 cases, preventing people from travelling  2 cases. Finally, there was prevention of access to education. A total in all of 749 cases.

Other points included in the report  were that during the first period, from 1960 till 1969, several witnesses spoke of this period being marked by armed clashes  between the Indonesian army and troops of the OPM  (Papuan Freedom Organisaation)  which were frequently followed up by military attacks aimed directly at  the civilian population and arbitrary arrests and acts of torture, and the arrest of  people regarded as being against integration with Indonesia.

During the second period, from 1969 to 1998,  the focus was on destroying the remnants of the OPM, who were still involved in guerilla actions in the forests, People living in the towns as well as in the villages  were kept under tight guard and were required to obtain permits from the army if they wanted to travel anywhere. Peoeple who had once been arrested  were often re-arrested  for no apparent reason.

In the third perid following ‘reformasi’ after the fall of Suharto, there were many pressures for changes to be made in the situation in Papua. However, civil actions by  students and political groups of people calling for independence  were dealt with by acts of violence.

[Translated by TAPOL]


Papuan Political Prisoners Released in FakFak

by Andreas Harsono

Simon Tuturop has finished his prison sentence in Fakfak. From outside the jail Tuturop said “Having been in prison for years doesn't mean that I will be quiet, instead prison was a place for study and self-reflection about how to build a struggle together with other brothers and sisters. Unity is the key” (Photo @Elsham Advocacy Team & Foker Fakfak)

Five political prisoners, imprisoned for raising the Morning Star flag on 19 July 2008 in front of the Fakfak Act of Free Choice building, were freed today. They were condemned to four years in prison by the Fakfak court and have now been released having served three years, five months and three days of their sentence.

Simon Tuturop, Tadeus Weripang, Benediktus Tuturop, Tomas Nimbitkendik and Teles Piahar were collected from the prison by Freddy Warpopor, the Fakfak Area Coordinator of Foker NGO Papua, and other friends by two minibuses and several motorbikes, according to a Foker NGO press release.

The group left the prison at 09:30. They went to the house of Eligius Warpopor, a community leader in Gewerpe Village, where they were greeted by the people of Gerwerpe. Simon Tuturop made a speech thanking the people of Gewerpe Village, as well as the Papuan Customary Institute (Lembaga Adat Papua), Elsham Papua, Foker NGO, LP3BH Manokwari, Amnesty International and the ICRC. He said that they had helped to greatly reduce their suffering in prison.

Simon Tuturop being welcomed by the people of Gerwerbe Village. Photo @Elsham Advocacy Team & Foker Fakfak

Simon Tuturop, originally from Fakfak, is a leading figure of the non-violent movement for Papua liberation. In 1982 he joined in a proclamation of West Papuan independence in Jayapura. He was sentenced to twelve years in Kalisosok prison, Surabaya. In 1998, as President Suharto fell, Tuturop and other political prisoners across the whole of Indonesia were set free. He then went to work in Aceh, to help with social projects for Achenese people who had become refugees of Indonesia’s war with the Free Aceh Movement (GAM)

On 19 July 2008, Tuturop led a flag-raising of the Morning Star flag where 44 people were arrested by Indonesian police. Five were found guilty by the Indonesian court in Fakfak and convicted of treason under articles 106 and 110 of the Indonesian criminal code. Elsham Papua, LP3BH Manokwari and Foker NGO Papua regard them as innocent prisoners of conscience who did not committed any violent acts. To express a desire for independence is part of the freedom to express political aspirations. It is not a criminal act. These three organisations continued to advocate for them and defend them.

Tadeus Waripang returns to his home in Kampung Wayati. Photo @ Elsham Advocacy Team & Foker Fakfak

The group then continued their journey to Wayati Village to bring Tadeus Weripang back home. The people of Wayati Village and the village chief were already waiting for Tadeus Weripang’s arrival.

Warpopor said, “It was a great welcome, despite the tumultous atmosphere. Some people shed tears.” Village chief Plerius Kondawe gave his thanks to the three organisations.

The villagers asked Freddy Warpopor to explain about President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono‘s meeting with Papuan church leaders. Warpopor encouraged the villagers to pay attention to any developments which may arise. He said that President Yudhoyono “was already open to dialogue with the Papuan people.”

“Let’s all support this process, so that we can determine the right format that Papuans will later use in the dialogue, and another important thing is that this struggle is a non-violent struggle. Let’s unite to save the country and this land of Papua,”said Warporpor.

Posted by Andreas Harsono

Translated by Tapol

Maire Leadbeater reflects on West Papua’s ‘Arab Spring’

November 1, 2011
Indonesian forcesIndonesian security forces staking out the Third Papuan People’s Congress in Jayapura earlier this month. Photo: West Papua Media

Pacific Scoop:
Opinion – By Maire Leadbeater

It was not in the headlines, but our neighbourhood has had its own ‘Arab Spring’. The Melanesian people of Indonesian-controlled West Papua, have shown the same determination to pursue non-violent struggle as their counterparts in Egypt and Syria.

A 5000-strong Third Papuan People’s Congress took place over three days in a Jayapura field ringed with menacing armoured riot control vehicles and heavily armed police and soldiers. It was led by Forkorus Yaboisembut, chair of the Papuan Customary Council, who is highlighted on the Indonesian military’s leaked watch list of dangerous “separatists”.

As the Congress came to an end on October 19, Forkorus read a Declaration of Independence first penned in 1961, prior to the Indonesian take-over of the territory.

He then announced that he had been elected to be the “President” of the “Democratic Republic of West Papua”.

As the gathering began to disperse, the military began firing from their assault weapons and launched themselves on the crowd, arresting and beating some 300 people. Forkorus was forcibly arrested along with his “Prime Minister” Edison Waromi and they and three others now face charges of treason.

Dozens were injured, many with gunshot wounds, and up to six people were killed. The first death to be confirmed was that of a law student Daniel Kadepa who was shot in the head as he tried to flee.

Many terrified delegates tried to seek refuge in the nearby Catholic Seminary. Fr Neles Tebay, a prominent advocate for peaceful dialogue, has supplied a detailed account of the violent disruption and brutality displayed as the soldiers invaded the sacrosanct mission complex.

Terrified students
Terrified students were tear-gassed and threatened at gunpoint while one Franciscan brother was taken into custody despite the serious injuries he sustained in the attack.

A menacing security force presence is also ongoing in the remote Timika region, location of Freeport McMoRan mine, where an American multinational makes vast profits from the largest recoverable reserves of gold and copper in the world. About 8000 workers have been on strike since September seeking to lift their wages from the current hourly rate of around NZ $1.80 to $3.60 to parity with the wages paid to Freeport’s workers in other parts of the world.

Petrus Ayamiseba, one of the striking workers, was shot dead by the Indonesian police on October 10, provoking Papuan outrage and an unprecedented level of international union solidarity for the Freeport workers. Since then at least three others have been killed in the area by unknown assailants.

Rather than conciliation, the mine management has resorted to hiring contract workers as scabs.

Freeport McMoRan has had a dream run for more than 40 years. The first contract negotiated with President Suharto gave the mining company virtually free rein as well as generous tax concessions. This was in 1967 when Indonesia did not even have formal control over the territory.

In 1969, Indonesia pulled off a self-determination fraud by conducting a so called “Act of Free Choice” ( known as the “Act of No Choice” to the indigenous Papuans). Just over a thousand Papuan men took part out of a population at the time of nearly one million.

The Freeport mine has always been synonymous with violence and grave human rights abuses, as well as environmental destruction and the abuse of customary land rights. Amungme and Kamoro tribal people have had little recourse but to watch as the mine took over their lands and “decapitated” their sacred mountain.

Gunned down
In the last few years, especially since some Western mine employees were gunned down on the mine access road, the company has come under international scrutiny. However, the Jakarta government is in no hurry to interrupt the flow of taxes, dividends and royalties from Freeport, its biggest taxpayer.

There is an ongoing controversy around the way in which Freeport pays out millions of dollars so that Indonesian military and police forces can provide its security. Direct payments to individual police officers were supposed to have stopped, but the National Police Chief Timur Pradopo revealed in October that these payments of “lunch money” continue.

The security forces have a direct stake in a level of ongoing insecurity, a factor many believe underlies much of the violence in the area.

Following recent events, Indonesia has sent in yet more police and tried to justify the scandalous actions of its security forces as necessary to deal with “separatism”.

Why has New Zealand made no public statement condemning this latest crackdown? Our Government Superannuation fund and other Crown Financial Institutes invest in Freeport McMoRan.

Both government and the Superannuation Fund Board have so far resisted all calls to follow the ethical example of the Norwegian Government Pension Fund which divested from Freeport in 2006.

The New Zealand Minister of Defence recently talked about increasing our defence ties with Indonesia by extending the training we currently offer to Indonesian officers and hosting some “higher level” visits of Indonesian personnel. We also have an NZAID training programme for the mainly migrant West Papua police.

We promote “community policing”, a non-confrontational model that is about as far from current Papuan police practice as it is possible to imagine.

The buzz word is “engagement” – if we talk nicely, the military and police will learn not to open fire on unarmed civilians and Freeport will improve its human rights and environmental standards. Instead we should go with the tide of history, and start listening to West Papuan leaders who want us to support their call for peaceful dialogue

Maire Leadbeater is spokesperson for the Indonesia Human Rights Committee. This article was first published on the New Zealand Herald Online.

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