Tag Archives: Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Warinussy: More makar cases in Papua

Comment by Yan Christian Warinussy, senior lawyer in West Papua, recipient of the John Humphreys Freedom Award, 2005
December 13, 2013

The latest treason verdict against seven West Papuans is yet another example of the serious human rights situation in West Papuan, in particular with regard to the right to freedom of expression. The seven men were headed by Isak Kalaiban.

Based on the facts revealed during the course of the trial, it is clear that there was a plan between the accused to freely give expression to their views in a way that is based on the rule of law.
This occurred on 1 May 2013 after Isak and his colleagues brought the families of the accused together on the previous day at their home  in Aimas-Sorong. While they were meeting together,  a police patrol in Sorong began to opened fire at the group of people, as a result of which four people were killed or wounded.
At the trial, the men were charged with treason (makar)  by the court in Sorong before a panel of judges headed by Maria Magdalena Sitanggung.
None of the witnesses questioned at the trial said anything about what had taken place on the day before, 30 April.
For the legal team defending the accused, the question is who indeed is it that perpetrated treason in view of the fact that none of the witnesses who appeared in the trial knew anything about the men who were being charged.
This is yet another case in which the accused were charged under Articles 106, 108  and 110 to prevent people in Sorong from giving free expression to their rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly  as provided for by Law 39/1999 on Human Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Translated by Carmel Budiardjo

West Papua Political Prisoner Dominikus Sorabut amongst writers honoured for commitment to Free Expression

English: Human Rights Watch logo Русский: Лого...

From Human Rights Watch


41 Facing Persecution Win Hellman/Hammett Grants

(New York) – Forty-one writers from 19 countries have received 2012 Hellman/Hammett grants for their commitment to free expression and their courage in the face of persecution.The award-winners have faced persecution for their work, generally by government authorities seeking to prevent them from publishing information and opinions.  Those honored include journalists, bloggers, essayists, novelists, poets, and playwrights. They also represent numerous other writers worldwide whose personal and professional lives are disrupted by repressive policies to control speech and publications.

“The Hellman/Hammett grants help writers who have suffered because they published information or expressed ideas that criticize or offend people in power,” said Lawrence Moss, coordinator of the Hellman/Hammett grant program at Human Rights Watch. “Many of the writers honored by these grants share a common purpose with Human Rights Watch: to protect the rights of vulnerable people by shining a light on abuses and building pressure for change.”

Governments have used arbitrary arrest and detention, politically motivated criminal charges, and overly broad libel and sedition laws to try to silence this year’s Hellman/Hammett awardees. They have been harassed, threatened, assaulted, indicted, jailed on trumped-up charges, or tortured for peacefully expressing their views or informing the public. When abusive governments target writers, it intimidates others to practice self-censorship.
Free expression is a central human right, enshrined in article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which declares that “everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” On July 21, 2011, the Human Rights Committee, the expert body established under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, reiterated the central importance of freedom of opinion and expression, stating that these freedoms “are indispensable conditions for the full development of the person. They are essential for any society. They constitute the foundation stone for every free and democratic society.”

The Hellman/Hammett grants are given annually to writers around the world who have been targets of political persecution or human rights abuses. A distinguished selection committee awards the cash grants to honor and assist writers whose work and activities have been suppressed by repressive government policies.

The grants are named for the American playwright Lillian Hellman and her longtime companion, the novelist Dashiell Hammett. Both were both questioned by US congressional committees about their political beliefs and affiliations during the aggressive anti-communist investigations inspired by Sen. Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s.  Hellman suffered professionally and had trouble finding work. Hammett spent time in prison.

In 1989, the trustees appointed in Hellman’s will asked Human Rights Watch to devise a program to help writers who were targeted for expressing views that their governments oppose, for criticizing government officials or actions, or for writing about subjects that their governments did not want reported.

Over the past 23 years, more than 750 writers from 92 countries have received Hellman/Hammett grants of up to US$10,000 each, totaling more than $3 million. The program also gives small emergency grants to writers who have an urgent need to leave their country or who need immediate medical treatment after serving prison terms or enduring torture.

Of the 41 winners this year, six remain anonymous to prevent further persecution. A list and brief biographies of the award-winners, including just the countries of the anonymous grantees, is below.

A concentration of grantees in certain countries points to especially severe repression of free expression by those governments. Twelve of this year’s grantees come from the People’s Republic of China; four of them are Tibetan and remain anonymous for security reasons. Five grantees are from Vietnam, four from Ethiopia, and three from Iran.

“The compelling stories of the Hellman/Hammett winners illustrate the danger to journalists and writers around the world,” Moss said.

2012 Hellman/Hammett Awardees (Full list at http://www.hrw.org/node/112138 )

Dominikus Sorabut (Indonesia/Papua)

Dominikus Sorabut (photo: PW/West Papua Media)
Dominikus Sorabut (photo: PW/West Papua Media)

Dominikus Sorabut is a Papuan activist who also produced a number of film documentaries on issues such as deforestation, illegal mining, and Indonesian government efforts to eradicate Melanesian Papuan cultures. In 2010, he interviewed a Papuan farmer who was tortured by Indonesian soldiers, helping to provide international exposure of torture and suffering of the farmers. Sorabut has written several op-ed articles and a number of book manuscripts on the Papuan people. While attending a peaceful demonstration for Papuan independence in October 2011, Sorabut was arrested when Indonesian police and soldiers fired into the crowd and detained more than 300 protesters. Sorabut was convicted of treason along with four other Papuan figures and sentenced to three years in prison. He is in the Abepura prison in Jayapura, Papua.

Kontras believe there is speculation around the shooting of Mako Tabuni

Bintang Papua, 20 June 2012

Kontras Papua, SKPKC and BUK believe that there has been speculation about the killing of Mako Tabuni on 14 June. Mako Tabuni was shot by police from the Papua regional police in the Perumnas III Waena area. KontraS Papua said that the shooting was carried out not only by the regional police, but there was also involvement of Special Detachment 88 Anti-terror Police (Densus 88) who are suspected of carrying out undercover activities in Papua. Kontras and SKPKC have already gathered a number of facts from the field, including meeting a number of witnesses who directly saw the shooting of Mako Tabuni. The witnesses in question stated that the deceased, Mako Tabuni, was shot whilst he was standing eating betel nut in front of a kiosk in Perumnas III Waena, when the first black Avanza car drew up, followed by a Silver Avanza and a blue Daihatsu. A person got out of the blue Daihatsu and immediately shot Mako Tabuni to death on the spot. After shooting him dead, Mako was rushed to the Bhayangkara Hospital in Kotaraja. The question is why did the police take Mako to the Bhayangkara Hospital after shooting him, when in Waena, Dian Harapan Hospital is closer to the scene of the incident? Furthermore, Mako was shot and brought to Bhayangkara Hospital without the knowledge of his family, and during the journey he lost a lot of blood. This raises the suspicion that the police quickly used formalin, so that once Mako’s family requested an autopsy, the medical team at Bhayangkara Hospital could say that it was not possible to do an autopsy because he had already been formalined. Kontras Papua, represented by Peneas Lokbere, said that the actions of the police in shooting Mako Tabuni showed that the police were incapable of acting professionally to announce who was responsible for the acts of violence and human rights violations which had happened recently. “We condemn the perpetrator, the person who ordered the killing, and all those involved in the shooting of Mako Tabuni,” he said.

According to Peneas, Mako Tabuni did not behave like someone involved in violent shootings, and throughout the shootings he had been going about his normal activities, going out of his house as usual, and going to campus. “He’s a genuine guy, he didn’t do anything,” added Peneas. It was said that the Papua regional police are telling a lot of lies in public during the aftermath of the shooting of Mako Tabuni.

Kontras and SKPKC said that the shooting of Mako Tabuni should receive the attention of the president of the Republic of Indonesia, and the president must withdraw all troops from the land of Papua – both organic and non-organic – and stop trying to rationalise the numbers of military and police in Papua.

Because the shooting of Mako Tabuni was carried out by the Papua regional police, the Provincial Head of Police in Papua must end the sweepings, arrests, attacks and criminalisation of students, and stop seizing items from them, such as laptops which contain their theses, mobile phones, and other items which have been seized from student dormitories.

The Provincial Head of Police must also stop sweepings of civilians and form an independent team to investigate the shootings in the land of Papua, including the murder of Mako Tabuni. Peneas and two staff from SKPKC – Bernand and Frans Making – called on the Head of Police to stop all efforts to destroy and scapegoat the pure struggle of Papuans to demand justice and truth, in accordance with criminal law, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. (Ven/don/I03).

Translated by TAPOL

High Cort upholds three-year sentences for Forkorus and his colleagues

JUBI, 11 May 2012

The High Court in Papua has decided that Forkorus and his co-defendants should be sentenced to three years, in accordance with the verdict declared at the trial on 16 March.

The defence lawyer of the five men, Gustaf Kawer said that the High Court’s decision had simply affirmed the verdict of the district court which had given the men sentences of these years each.

He said that the High Court’s decision was conveyed to the five men today. Kawer also said that the articles in the Criminal Code which had been used to condemn the men had not been considered by the High Court. ‘They simply handled the case as a priority and in so doing confirmed the three-year sentence.’

He went on to say that this is the kind of political error that is commonplace in this country.

The five men have been given two weeks to decide whether they want to appeal to the Supreme Court, the highest court of appeal, following the counter-appeal made by the Prosecutor to the Jayapura district court.

The prosecution did not make any mention of the basis used for laying the charge of treason against the five men. Even so, the High Court judges simply expressed their agreement  with the demand for sentence that had been made by the prosecutor., nor did they say anything about the time the crime was perpetrated.

Dominikus Sorabut and Edison Waromi were hand-cuffed at the end of the Third Papuan People’s Congress on 19 October, 2011. They, along with the other two were jointly charged with treason and for having proclaimed the establishment of the Federal State of West Papua and appointing Forkorus Yaboisembut as its president.and Edison Waromi as its prime minister.

Indonesia urged to pay close attention to the situation of Forkorus and his colleagues

JUBI, 11 May 2012

Indonesia has been urged to pay close attention to the health and well-being of Forkorus and his colleagues who are now being held in Abepura Prison and to make sure that their conditions are being regularly monitored.

Yan Christian Warinussy, the executive-director of LP3BH, the legal aid NGO in Manokwari  said  that this monitoring should be done on a daily basis, bearing in mind that people in many countries are very concerned about how they are faring in prison. ‘What I mean is that people in several countries that are friendly with Indonesia are watching and monitoring the situation closely.This also includes international human rights NGOs as well as UN agencies.  This relates to the legal guarantees required by the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Indonesia’s Human Rights Law 39/1999.’

He said that special attention is being shown in the USA, the Netherlands, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, the European Union, France and New Zealand.

He also said that he had received inquiries  as well as strong statements from all these countries.. They all say that they are paying close attention to the need to safeguard the security and peace of mind of Forkorus and his colleagues; this includes such agencies as Tapol and Amnesty International,