Tag Archives: United Baptist Churches in Papua

STATE VIOLENCE WHICH PARALYSES COMMUNITIES IS INTENSIFYING IN THE LAND OF PAPUA: Press Release by KINGMI Church and Papuan Alliance of Baptist Churches

PRESS RELEASE

LEADERSHIP WORKING FORUM OF PAPUAN CHURCHES

STATE VIOLENCE WHICH PARALYSES COMMUNITIES IS INTENSIFYING IN THE LAND OF PAPUA

As leaders of churches in the Land of Papua, we are deeply concerned about the state violence which is occurring in our  sacred motherland. This is clear proof of the fact that the government and the security forces  have failed to provide protection for the indigenous Papua people. These concerns of ours have already  been conveyed by our communities in the following statements:

(a)    The eleven recommendations made by the Consultation of the Papuan People’s Council (MRP) and the Indigenous Papuan Communities on 9-10 June 2010;

(b)   The Joint Communique of Church Leaders on 10 January 2011;

(c)    The Theological Declaration of Church Leaders  on 26 January 2011, and

(d)   The Prophetic Message by Papuan Church Leaders to the President of Indonesia on 16 December 2011, in Cikeas, Jakarta.

Similar concerns have been expressed by member countries of the United Nations (the USA, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Canada, Norway, South Korea, Japan, France, Germany, Mexico, New Zealand, Australia Spain and Italy) on the occasion of the 23 May 2012 session  of the Human Rights Council (UPR) in Geneva, Switzerland.

Based on the above facts, we believe that the Indonesian Government and the security forces  are part of the problem of violence which has been created by the State, preserved by the state and allowed to continue in order to legitimise yet more acts of violence in the Land of Papua and to take advantage thereof in order to strengthen the security forces.

We regard these developments as a reflection of [Generative Politics] which was described in an article by Nugroho published by The Jakarta Post on 10 July, 2012. According to Nugroho, generative politics are political views and considerations which have paralysed and worsened the situation of Papuan communities and which have been pursued  in accordance with the policies  of the Indonesian Government for the past fifty years.

Herewith is a list of several incidents of violence that have systematically and structurally been perpetrated as a reflection of the generative politics mentioned above:

  1. On 2 March 2013, a priest named Yunus Gobay (male, 55 years old) was tortured and mal-treated and after being released, he paid ransom money to the police forces in the Police Command Post in the town of Enarotali, Paniai.
  2. The shooting incident in Sinak, District of Paniai, Tinginambut, Puncak Jaya on 21 February 2013 and the shooting incident  in Udaugi on the border of the District  of Delyai on 31 January 2013 when a number of civilians and members of the security forces were killed, which in our opinion happened  because of the neglect of the unlawful sale of weapons.
  3. On 15 February 2013, Dago Ronald Gobay (male, 30 years  old) was arrested  in Depepre, district of Jayapura by the police and while being interrogated was tortured in the office of police intelligence in Jayapura.
  4. The attempt by the government and the security forces to forcibly disband a religious ceremony which was being held on the 4th anniversary of National Committee of West Papua (KNPB) on 19 November, 2012 in the STAKIN ASSEMBLY HALL, Sentani, on which occasion the security forces were under the command of the Police Chief of Jayapura, AKBP Roycke Harry Langgie and the deputy of the District Head (Bupati) of the District of Jayapura, Robert Djoenso D, SH.
  5. The unlawful murder of Mako Musa Tabuni, first chairman of the NKPB on 14 July 2012 in Perumnas, Jayapura.
  6. The murder of TPN/OPM General  Kelly Kwalik by police from Densus 88 and a member of the Indonesian army (TNI) on 16 December 2009 in the town of Timika, and on the same day and month in 2012  another Papuan Hubertus Mabel was murdered  by police of Densus 88 in Kuruku, the town of Wamena.
  7. Ferdinand Pakage was tortured in Abepura Prison by Herbert Toam, a warder at Abepura Prison, on 22 September 2008, as a result of which he was permanently blinded in the right eye.
  8. The torture and murder of Yawan Wayeni on 13 August 2009 by the police chief in Serui, AKBP Imam Setiawan.
  9. Two incidents of gross violations of human rights  in Wasior in 2001 and in Wamena on 4 April  2003, the latter of which is related to the assault on an ammunitions dump; this incident has been investigated by Komnas HAM (National Commission of Human Rights), but the results of which have not been forwarded by the Attorney General to the Human Rights Court for a verdict.

These are just a few of the cases which are evidence of crimes which have been perpetrated by the Indonesian state and the security forces in a systematic, well-structured, widely-based  and prolonged way and which are reflective of the generative politics (paralysis, destructive, eliminating) which, according to Nugroho in his Jakarta Post article of  10 July 2012, have been perpetrated by the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia in the Land of Papua for the past fifty years, since 1961.

Bearing in mind all the very disturbing facts given above and the living experiences of the indigenous Papuan people, we church leaders in the Land of Papua, make the following recommendations:

Firstly, the Indonesian Government and the security forces should return to the original aspirations of this country by investigating and  putting an end to  the unlawful sale of weapons and ammunition which is happening in the Land of Papua.

Secondly, the Indonesian Government should speedily take cognisance of the prophetic messages from the Church, the eleven recommendations of the MRP on 9-10 June 2010 and the Appeal by members of the UN Human Rights Commission at its session  23 May 2012.

Thirdly, we believe that the Indonesian Government is responding in a very discriminatory way to the aspirations of the Papuan people for peaceful dialogue.  We therefore press the Indonesian Government to enter unconditionally into a dialogue based on the principle of equality between Indonesia and West Papua, with mediation by a neutral party, which is what happened in the dialogue between GAM (Gerakan Aceh Merdeka – the Aceh Liberation Movement) in Aceh.

Fourthly, the Indonesian Government should unconditionally release all political prisoners in Papua and should allow  a visit to Papua by the Special Rapporteur  of the United Nations, as well as by foreign journalists and human rights defenders. And it should forthwith end all its efforts to criminalise the political struggle of the Papuan people for self-determination.

Fifthly, the shooting to death of members of the TNI as well as civilians which occurred in the district of  Sinak, Puncak Jaya and in the district of Tingginambut, Puncak Jaya on 21 February 2013 should be regarded  as a separate incident. It was in no way connected to the election of the bupati (district chief) of the district of Puncak. This violent incident  is part and parcel of  state policy to build the necessary infrastructure for the TNI and Polri (the police) in the mountainous interior in order to establish the Puncak Jaya 1714 military command, to increase the budget for the security forces and  to criminalise the peaceful struggle of the Papuan people at the international level.

Sixthly, the Chief of Police in Papua, Inspector-General (pol) Drs M  Tito Karnavian, MA, has failed to investigate who it was who perpetrated acts of violence in the Land of Papua and has created the impression that he is allowing the illegal sale of weapons to go ahead. We urge the chief of police in Papua to implement the statement made by the chief of police, Inspector-General Bekto Suprapto in December 2010 that those who are responsible for the entry into West Papua of illegal weapons will be investigated.

Seventhly. we call on all Papuan communities and all components in society to study the laws in force regarding the TNI and Polri, in order to be able to control criminal actions as well as the policy of the Indonesian government and security forces  in the Land of Papua.

Port Numbay (Jayapura), 6 March 2013

Chairman of the Synod of KINGMI Church, Papua:

The Rev. Dr Benny Giay.

Chairman of the Executive Board of the Alliances of Baptist Churches in Papua:

Socratez Sofyan Yoman

End of translation by TAPOL

 

Baptist leader calls for unconditional release of Forkorus

Bintang Papua
11 December 2012
The Indonesian government has been urged to free all political prisoners in Papua, including Forkorus Yaboisembut and Filep Karma. On the occasion of World Human Rights Day,  the human rights defender Socrates Sofyan Yoman spoke about the activities throughout 2012 of organisations such Polri (the police force), the TNI (the Indonesian military) and vicious armed civilian groups. He said 90  incidents of violence had been committed by these groups in all parts of Papua during the year so far.’As we celebrate Human Rights Day,’ he said, ‘we defenders  of human rights urge the Indonesian government to take the following actions:

‘Firstly, in accordance with its constitutional responsibility to safeguard its citizens, the government should acknowledge that the way it treats prisoners, convicts and the citizens in general is brutal, inhumane and demeaning. This includes the way it treats Papuan civil society and Papuan political prisoners. Such activities  should be prohibited, along with all practices that violate the law. Torture must be clearly identified  and criminalised. This would be seen as a concrete sign of Indonesia’s commitment to the International Covnention Against Torture which it officially ratified  by enactment of Law 5/1998

Secondly, the government should agree to adopt a policy that recognises Papuan citizens as victims. In those cases where legal processes have been resorted to, rehabilitation not imprisonment should be the method  chosen. The government should also adopt measures to  inform the general public about the many civilian victims in Papua.

His next point was to ensure that whenever the law on treason is used in a court of law, this should be non-discriminatory and concrete action should be taken to put an end to all criminal activities by the security forces, including judges, public prosecutors and all those people who are in charge of the prisons.

Furthermore,  the rights of all Papuan political prisoners must be safeguarded, including ending all illegal detentions. In cases where confessions were made under duress and without the presence of legal counsel, they should not be accepted as evidence in a court.of law.

The government should create mechanisms for people to be able to initiate charges. Such mechanisms should be available everywhere and in all places of detention and imprisonment.And in cases where charges are brought by detainees, this must be followed through by independent investigations by law-enforcement institutions as well as the National Human Rights Commission.

His next point  was to urge the National Human Rights Commision, the National Commission to End Violence Against Women and the Ombudsman  of the Indonesian Republic, to establish a mechanism  for a fully independent National Protection Unit to visit all places of detention, especially places of detention where persons charged with treason (/makar/) or other political prisoners  are being held as part of the state’s responsibility to act in accordance with the Anti-Violence Optional Convention.

The seventh point was to press the Indonesian government to enter in peaceful dialogue on the problem of Papua, mediated by a third party, one of the aims of which would to end torture and other forms of violence throughout the Land of Papua.

The eighth point was to press the Indonesian government to invite  the UN Special Rapporteur against Torture and Arbitrary Detentions to visit Papua.

The ninth point was to press the Indonesian government  to allow foreign journalists to visit Papua.

The tenth point was that the Indonesian government should accept responsibility for incidents of gross violations of human rights such as the incident in Abepura on 7 December 2000, the Wasior 2001 incident, the Wamena  2003 inicident and other incidents that have already been investigated by the  National Human Rights Commission, and to ensure that  the results of these investigations  are considered at the human rights court and dealt with in accordance with the principles of justice.

With regard to the role of the churches in Papua, it should be acknowledged that their main mission  has been paralysed by the state and governmental system in Indonesia.

Moreover, its prophetic voice is hardly ever heard in Papua, particularly since Papua was integrated into the Indonesian republic by military means and this the integration was preceded by the bloody events surrounding the Act of Free Choice, which continue to the present day.

‘The churches have forgotten or refused to recognise that Christianity arrived in Papua three centuries ago, on 5 February 1855.’

These thoughts were expressed by Socrates Sofyan Yoman during his opening address of the Congress of the Alliance of Baptist Churches in Papua at the Baptist Church in Wamena in October 2012.

He pointed out that his church  has supported the Papuan people with education, religious belief, healthcare and in the economic sphere, and has helped to improve access to the most remote areas by establishing small airfields which cater for small aircraft, with alll the risks this involves.

The church’s  missionaries live in close proximity with the Papuan people and help to foster the dignity of the Papuan people.in sharp contrast to what Indonesia has done since Papua’s integration, when it became a colonial power, a fact that is rarely criticised by the churches.

As a church leader, Yoman said that he not only studies the Bible but also learns from the history of Papua.  He has learned a great deal from this history, in particular the many untruths that have been told.  It is the role of the churches to insist on correcting these untruths, he said

Until now the churches talk about  ‘peace and well being’ but God’s people are continually  stigmatised as treasonous and accused of being part of the OPM.

As a church leader, he rejects all these allegations  and believes that Christians  must reflect of God’s will, as is stated in Genesis 1:26.  For all these reasons, he said in conclusion:

‘I will continue to speak out and will do everything I possibly can to share in the sufferings of God’s people. There is no future for Papua if it continue to remain a part of Indonesia. Papuans cannot live normal lives The churches must speak out about this and integrate themselves with those people whose very identity has been destroyed. It must speak out about  justice, equality  and the freedom  of all humankind regardless of race, ethnicity, culture or religion.

[Translated by TAPOL]

 

Papua Church Leader Warns Of ‘Unfair’ Gubernatorial Election

FYI
The Jakarta Post
Monday, April 11, 2011 

Ina Parlina, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The death of a prominent Papuan leader has sparked concerns over the
security of the upcoming gubernatorial election in the volatile
region.

GKI Papua synod deputy chairman Rev. Elimelekh D. Doirebo said that
the demise of former Papuan People’s Assembly speaker Agus Alue Alua
destroyed any expectations of a fair and safe election for the
province this September, as well as undermined the possibility of a
pro-Papuan Assembly.

“Agus was very vocal in fighting for the rights of the Papuan people,
including supporting the policy that Papua local administration heads
must be Papuan,” he told The Jakarta Post on Saturday.

Agus reportedly died Thursday at Dian Harapan Hospital in Jayapura.
Agus, who was re-elected to the Assembly for a second term, died soon
after being admitted to hospital. The cause of death is unknown.

Agus was known for his policies, including a decree stipulating that
Papua local administration heads and their deputies must be from the
region.“We believe Agus died as a result of the persistent
intimidation he faced,” Elimelekh said.

He claimed Agus faced threats especially from Barisan Merah Putih,
which wanted to oust the original members of the Assembly whom they
perceived as too radical in their defense of Papuan rights and their
opposition to special autonomy.

In June last year, rallies initiated by the original Assembly members
drew thousands in Jayapura, who issued 11 recommendations for a better
solution to the strife in Papua.

The protestors urged the central government to annul special autonomy,
which they claimed was a tool for the central government to win the
hearts of Papuans while toning down demands for independence.

They also called for a dialog mediated by neutral international
parties to address Papuan grievances.

“Several Papuans in Jakarta once came to Papua to meet Agus and
basically forced him to stop criticizing the election of new Assembly
members and special autonomy. They also forced him to step down,”
Elimelekh claimed.

Later, he added, Agus was removed from the roster of new Assembly
members following accusations he supported separatism.

Hana Hikoyabi, who was also re-elected to the Assembly, was likewise
disqualified. As of today, the new elected Assembly members, who will
serve until 2016, have not been inaugurated.

The GKI, along with Papua’s KINGMI synod and Papua’s Baptist churches
synod, boast a following of more than 1.3 million members, most of
them native Papuans.

Papuan churches call for dialogue mediated by third party

Bintang Papua, 11 March 2011

The leaders of a number of churches in Papua have called on the central government to hold a dialogue with indigenous Papuans, stressing that it should be mediated by a neutral third party and held without conditions.

A press release issued by Rev. Benny Giay of the KINGMI Church, Rev
Socratez Sofyan Yoman of the Alliance of Baptist Churches in Papua and the deputy chairman of the GKI Synod, Drs Elly D. Doirebo said:

We church leaders in Papua hereby announce to our congregations and to the general public that we have informed the central government about our rejection of OTSUS (Special Autonomy law) for two consecutive weeks (13-18 February and 28 Feb-3 March). We need to convey a number of important facts as follows:

First, the failure of OTSUS has been acknowledged not only by the
Papuan people but also by the executive and legislature of the central
government, as well as by foreign diplomats and civil society figures
who we met in Indonesia who have been paying close attention to the
development of the Papuan people.

A number of government functionaries who we met at the centre have
blamed government leaders in the Land of Papua as being responsible for the failure of OTSUS.

We do not believe that this is true. The failure of OTSUS reflects the
lack of political will and seriousness on the part of the central
government to do anything to promote the development of the Papuan
people. We made this clear in the Theological Declaration of Papuan
Churches on 26 January 2011 when we said that the central government has failed to promote the development and welfare of the indigenous Papuan people.

Second, bearing in mind that all sides recognise that OTSUS has failed, we continue to urge the government at the centre as well as in the Land of Papua to immediately announce that the swearing in of a second-term MRP will be abandoned because it lacks aspiration and has no firm legal basis. We regard the efforts now being made by the central and regional governments to set up a second-term MRP as arrogant and as a move to force through their will which can only intensify the conflicts between the Papuan people and the Indonesian Government.

Third, we continue to be guided by the people of the Lord who continue to urge the Indonesian government to hold a dialogue with the Papuan people facilitated by a neutral third party, without conditions.

We are well aware that the government of President Susilo Bambang
Yudhoyono was successful in the dialogue it held with the Acehnese
people and that the same can be achieved with the Papuan people.

Dialogue is the most dignified, peaceful and democratic way which has
been widely accepted by the international community as the model for the resolution of conflicts that have occurred in other parts of the country.

Fourth, we reject the creation of UP4B, the Unit for Accelerating
Development in Papua and West Papua, as well as all talk about
‘Constructive Communications’, the aim of which is to conceal the
failure of OTSUS and to obscure the Papuan people’s demand for dialogue.

There should be prior consultation with the Papuan people about all
measures taken by the state for Papua which should be the result of
agreement between the government and the Papuan people.

Fifth, We reject all acts of intimidation and violence perpetrated by
the state in order to silence freedom of expression and democracy in the Land of Papua, such as the stabbing of the journalist Banjir Ambarita.

We therefore urge the police to carry out a thorough investigation of
that stabbing incident and to proceed with the case through legal
channels, in order to give the victim as well as the community in
general in the Land of Papua a sense of peace and justice.

Sokrates Yoman launches book titled ‘OPM’

JUBI, 12 March 2011

The Rev. Sokratez Sofyan Yoman has launched a new book titled: Otonomi, Pemekaran dan Merdeka [OPM] – Autonomy, Division and Independence. The 136-page book bears a sub-title: ‘Time to Speak the Truth in the Land of Papua’.

Speaking at the launch, the author, who heads the Alliance of Baptist
Churches in Papua, he said that he had taken the decision to write the
book as a calling from God. He said that when he meets his Maker and is asked what he has done and whether he should go to heaven or to hell, he would accept whatever would happen to him.

The book will cost Rp. 30,000 a copy but the author has decided not to sell it through the bookshops. ‘I will ask students to sell it so that
they can earn something from the profit they make selling it.’

Speaking at the launch of the book, Herman Awom said that the
significance of the book could be judged by the fact that past books of his have all been banned.

‘Why are his books banned by the Attorney-General? Because they speak about the experiences of the Papuan people, about their history, about the failure to uphold human rights in Papua and about the use of violence in Papua.’

Herman Awom said that this book was a way for Rev Yoman to deliver his sermons; not all the churches were willing to write in the way that he does. The title of the book in bahasa can be abbreviated to OPM.