The Ondoafi – local community leader – of Web which is located in Keerom district , Bernadus Welip, has spoken out about the presence of many military posts in his area as well as along the border (between West Papua and PNG) and said that it is as if there is a war going on.
‘There are a great many army posts in my region which amazes me. Does this mean that there is a war here?’
He said that the presence of the military has made the people there feel very uneasy indeed. The people here cannot move around freely from one kampung to another kampung, or from kampung to a hamlet. or from one hamlet to another.
‘We can no longer move around as we used to be able to and this makes people here feel very unsafe,’ he said.
He said that he hoped the government would withdraw the troops from there. ‘The best thing is for the military personnel to be withdrawn from here. The people will feel much freer if they do.’
P. Willy OSA, the pastor in the diocese, confirmed what the Ondoafi said. ‘I feel as if I am under threat because I stand up for my community,’ he said. P.Willy was ordained as a Catholic priest two years ago.
According to the priest, the presence of the troops is a matter of great anxiety for the people of his congregation.
‘When the priest is away, the people feel very unsafe. They feel like this because they are always being asked questions about all kinds of things.’
He went on to say that there are far too many military posts, which makes the people feel that they are not free.
‘There are military posts every three kilometres, as well as posts along the border. ‘What we have here are Kopasus, koramil and the police,’ he said
Bintang Papua, 23 March 2012Journalists are very important for Papua
Jayapura: Without journalists, nothing would be known by the general public about the aspirations of the Papuan people, said Ruben Magay chairman of Commission A of the DPRP, the Papua Provincial Legislative Assembly.
Referring to recent demonstrations organised by the KNPB – National Committee for West Papua – he warned that demos should avoid becoming ‘anarchistic’ and start throwing things at journalists.
‘Demonstrations to press for our aspirations are in accord with the laws in force in Indonesia but people should understand that they must refrain from abusing or attacking journalists, as this is in violation of the ethical code of the press. A recent demonstration was held to call for a referendum, but if people resort to anarchistic behaviour, this would result in the aspirations not being made known to in public. He urged the KNPB to remember that the demos they organise should always be orderly and peaceful.. ‘They should avoid trying to force their wishes on other people,’ said Magay, who in earlier days often took part in demonstrations himself.
He referred to Law 29/1998 on demonstrations in which it is stated that people wishing to proclaim their aspirations and their opinions to the general public were fully entitled to do so and should always conform with the regulations in force.
Unconfirmed reports are circulating that three foreigners have been arrested by Indonesian police in the west coast town of Fak-fak, West Papua, for taking photographs at a demonstration on MArch 19.
The rallies, which were held across West Papua and Indonesia, were calling on United Nations Secretary general Ban ki-Moon to advocate for West Papua and pressure Indonesia to end human rights abuses in West Papua. The UNSG was visiting Jakarta to speak at a Defence Policy expo and hold bilateral meetings with General Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, the President of Indonesia.
The three men, identified as two British and one Canadian citizens, were taken by police to be interrogated after they were observed by intelligence officers taking photographs at the rally on Monday.
According to local sources, local police have claimed that the arrested men did not have a permit to enter West Papua, are “part of a foreign interference”.
Foreigners must apply for a Surat Jalan (travel permit) to visit West Papua, and must report to a local police station or military post either daily or weekly. Foreign journalists and human rights observers are banned by Jakarta from entering the Indonesian colony. Due to this restriction, any non-Indonesian foreigner with a camera is subjected to surveillance.
Local police in Fak-Fak have not been available for comment.
Indonesia: Victims still waiting for truth and justice for past human rights violations
As the world marks the International Day for the Right to the Truth concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims, in Indonesia victims of serious human rights violations, including unlawful killings, rape and other crimes of sexual violence, enforced disappearance, torture and other ill-treatment continue to call for truth, justice and reparation for past crimes.
Amnesty International today urges the Indonesian Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs, who is leading a team to resolve past human rights violations, to answer these calls by making the establishment of a National Truth and Reconciliation Commission a key priority.
The Commission should function according to international law and standards, including the Updated Set of principles for the protection and promotion of human rights through action to combat impunity. It should not substitute the responsibility of the criminal justice system in the country to investigate and – if sufficient admissible evidence exists – prosecute those responsible for grave human rights violations and crimes under international law. All victims should be guaranteed access to full reparation including restitution, compensation, rehabilitation, satisfaction and guarantees of non-repetition. In 2004, the Indonesian Parliament passed the Law on a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (No. 27/2004), which provided for the establishment of a national truth commission with powers to receive complaints, investigate grave human rights violations which occurred in the past and to make recommendations for compensation and/or rehabilitation for victims. In 2006 the Indonesian Constitutional Court struck down the law, after it ruled that an article which provided reparation for victims only after they agreed to an amnesty for the perpetrator was unconstitutional. Amnesty International welcomed this ruling, as amnesties, pardons or similar measures of impunity for the most serious crimes and human rights violations such as unlawful killings, rape and other crimes of sexual violence, enforced disappearance, torture and other ill-treatment are contrary to international law.
Almost six years later, attempts to pass a new law and enact a national truth commission have stalled. Although a new law has been drafted and is scheduled for discussion in Parliament in 2011-2014; to date there has been no progress, with Parliament failing to prioritize debate of the draft in the 2012 legislative programme. The continued failure to debate and pass a new law in Indonesia leaves many victims without an effective mechanism for truth and full and effective reparation.
In May 2011, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono established a multi-agency team to devise “the best format to resolve grave human rights violations that occurred in the past”. The team has so far visited victims of such violations in various part of the country, including Talangsari, Tanjong Priok and Kupang. However, it has been criticized by human rights organizations and victims’ groups for failing to develop a concrete strategy to ensure truth, justice and reparation for victims.
All victims of gross human rights violations, crimes against humanity and other crimes under international law have a right to truth. Principle 4 of the Updated Set of principles for the protection and promotion of human rights through action to combat impunity states that “[i]rrespective of any legal proceedings, victims and their families have the imprescriptible right to know the truth about the circumstances in which violations took place and, in the event of death or disappearance, the victims’ fate”.
For victims, this right involves knowing the whole truth about the violations they suffered, including the identity of the perpetrators and the causes, facts and circumstances in which such violations took place. For family members, particularly of those who were killed or disappeared, it involves establishing the fate and whereabouts of their loved ones. Whether individual or collective, the right to truth involves the public acknowledgement of victims’ suffering. Truth commissions are also an important step towards understanding the circumstances that led to past violations, learning from the past to ensure that such crimes will not be committed again, and ensuring that shared experiences are acknowledged and preserved.
In addition to a lack of action at the national level, local attempts to establish truth commissions to deal with specific cases also continue to face delays. In the provinces of Aceh and Papua, civil society organizations are pushing for the establishment of local truth commissions, which are provided for in autonomy laws governing those areas. In Aceh a draft bylaw (qanun) has been on the legislative programme since early 2011 but is yet to be debated in the Aceh regional parliament, while in Papua, to date there has been no progress.
Amnesty International calls on the provincial and central government to prioritize the establishment of local truth commissions to ensure truth, justice and full reparation for victims and their families.
Efforts to deliver truth for victims and their families must form part of a wider framework of accountability for past crimes. Amnesty International calls on the Indonesian authorities to ensure that perpetrators of serious human rights violations are brought to justice in independent courts and in proceedings which meet international standards of fairness. Victims and their families must be provided with full and effective reparation under international law.
Amnesty International further calls on the Indonesian government to ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance at the earliest opportunity, incorporate its provisions into domestic law and implement it in policy and practice.
from the West Papua Media Editorial team, and local sources across Papua
March 21, 2012
Rallies held across West Papua, Indonesia, and Australia have drawn tens of thousands of people on to the streets calling on UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon to do more to protect West Papuans to Indonesian state violence, and to allow them exercise their universal human rights to self-determination.
Despite significant threats of violence prior to the rallies by Indonesian security forces against peaceful unarmed protestors, the mass mobilisations across West Papua significantly outnumbered security forces and were peaceful. In some centres, the police only sent a handful of undercover intelligence agents to monitor the situation.
In Jayapura, over 5000 demonstrators marched from Taman Imbi and joined with a long march of several thousand people. Security forces blocked access to the centre of Jayapura with heavy weaponry, but the rallies avoided provocation. Jayapura was reported to be a ghost town as the rallies paralysed normal business and movement.
Speakers in Jayapura demanded that the UN Secretary-General listen to the people of West Papua and tabled seven key demand on the UN. Buchtar Tabuni, from the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) told the crowd that the UN must take responsibility for its role in the sham 1969 Act of Free Choice handover of West Papua to Indonesia, actions that violated international law.
“Ban Ki-Moon and SBY have to know the wishes of the sovereign independence of Papua on the land itself. KNPB will mediate the West Papuan people so they can determine their political choices through a mechanism that is democratic, peaceful, dignified and final in accordance with the principles and standards of international law”, said Tabuni.
Herman Wainggai, a West Papuan the West Papuan independence advocate based in the United States explained at the solidarity rally in Melbourne, Australia, “Our troubles began in New York in 1962, and I hope they will end there soon. We ask the United Nations to host talks between the Indonesian Republic and the Federated Republic of West Papua, just as the UN did between the Indonesians and the Dutch”
Ban Ki-Moon was visiting Indonesia to participate in The Jakarta International Defence Dialogue, hosted by the Indonesian Ministry of Defence on 21 March 2012, a move widely seen by human rights observers as giving legitimacy to Indonesian militarist objectives over West Papua and beyond.
West Papuan activists called on Mr Ban to use the opportunity to press Indonesia on human rights in Papua and its consistent denial of basic freedoms and rights to West Papuan people, including rights to life and of freedom of expression, and freedom from arbitrary detention.
“We would like Mr Ban Ki-moon to attend to our defence while he’s in Jakarta” said Herman Wainggai,
“So, it would be appropriate for the Secretary-General to negotiate the release of all political prisoners in Indonesia while he is visiting the new ‘Peacekeeping’ Centre in West Java,” said Wainggai.
Widespread Mass Actions
The rallies across Papua drew tens of thousands of people in total in Wamena, Biak, Serui, Yapen, Sorong, Nabire, Jayapura and Fak-Fak. Security forces engaged in their standard procedures of intimidation and disruption at all rallies, but protesters maintained non-violence discipline at each area.
On Yapen island, close to 6000 people in total held two long marches to support the demands of the day, all under threat of arrest. Local police had refused to issue a permit for the rallies to go ahead, claiming the rallies would upset the security and integrity of Indonesia. After a week of pamphleteering and socialising the rallies, police had no choice but to allow the rally to go ahead. The rally began in the village of Mantembu, where former political prisoner Yawen Wayeni was brutally disembowelled and filmed by Brimob police in a video leaked on Youtube in 2010.
Mantembu, Yapen Island
The same Brimob unit on Monday attempted to block the long march from leaving Mantembu, using over 50 police to block the narrow road, and attempted to seize all Morning Star flags. Negotiations ensued, led by Reverend Jhon Pairire and FRWP Doberay Governor David Abon, who got agreement from police for the rally to continue to Serui city. Police continued to intimidate Papuans all day, but Morning Star flags still appeared throughout the day despite Police.
Serui, Yapen Island
Manokwari saw more than 7000 people from across Papuan society and resistance raise the Morning Star flag and conduct long marches all over town after prayer, eventually settling down to listen to orations from a wide range of speakers. Speakers called for the freeing of all political prisoners in Papua in Indonesian prisons, including the President and the Prime Minister of the Federal Republic of West Papua. Brimob officers tried to seize the Morning Star flags early unsuccessfully, but soon stood aback training their weapons on the crowd, who studiously ignored the provocative intimidation according to stringers for West Papua Media.
In Sorong, our stringers reported that almost 1000 people took to the streets in a festive atmosphere. Organisers claimed that few security forces turned up other than about ten plain clothes intelligence agents. “It is clear that this drastically changed the atmosphere, it must be because of international pressure,” said our stringer by SMS.
On the West Coast in Fak-Fak, almost 1000 people took part in prayers and listened to speeches in the main market square, with little interference by security forces present.
In Jayapura, stringers for West Papua Media reported a wide range of colourful, festive and dramatic demonstrations for Papuan aspirations, including the release of almost 300 balloons painted with banned Morning Star flags and the UN flag, which drifted across town and out to sea. This tactic has been used repeatedly as a tactic for distributed symbolic resistance in both Papua and Maluku for years. Isolated gunfire was heard when the balloons passed over military barracks, according to local sources, believed to be Indonesian soldiers attempting to shoot down the balloons.
And in Wamena, in the Baliem Valley, a thousand people joined in a rally and march to support the call for the UN to take action by sending peacekeeping force to protect Papuan people against Indonesian security forces. Stringers for West Papua Media report that few security forces were in overt attendance, but there was an understanding that troops were close by at all times. The Baliem Valley and West Papuan highland people have borne the brunt of Indonesian violence since the occupation began, with sweeps against civilians by the Australian funded Detachment 88 counter terrorism group and Indonesian army still ongoing in Tingginambut, Mulia and the outer areas of the Baliem Valley.
When foreign journalists are banned from an Occupied Land, who better to tell the story than the people who live it. Your donations support and help deliver training for a free and independent media in Papua, safe from harm from those who want to prevent the story getting out. We are entirely non-profit and rely on your support to continue our work. Please donate generously.
Papuans Behind Bars is a new project to document the cases of West Papuan Political prisoners. That site has profiles of current and former political prisoners and releases monthly news updates on arrests, trials, etc. West Papua Media is proud to be working with Papuan Behind Bars
Background information on West Papua and its history for journalists and bloggers