AHRC: Prison guards tortured 42 prisoners and detainees at Abepura correctional facility in Papua

June 8, 2012

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information regarding the torture of 42 prisoners and detainees by prison guards at Abepura Correctional Facility on 30 April 2012 following an argument between one of the detainees, Selfius Bobii, and the Head of the Abepura Correctional Facility (Abepura Kalapas). The prisoners were beaten, kicked, hit with wood blocks as well as iron sticks and some of them were trampled by the prison guards. Their personal items were taken away and burned. The torture and property destruction took place under the order of the Abepura Kalapas.

According to several local NGOs such as The Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violance in Papua (KontraS Papua), Sekretariat Keadilan, Perdamaian dan Keutuhan Ciptaan (SKPKC) Fransiskan Papua, Papua Legal Aid Foundation (LBH Papua) and Elsham Papua, around 12pm on 30 April 2012, the prison guards at Class II.A of the Abepura Correctional Facility were going to put back and lock the detainees and prisoners in their cell. Amongst them was Selfius Bobii who was detained and received punishment for his involvement in the Third Papuan Congress in October 2011. Selfius had asked the Head of the Correctional Facility’s Security Unit (KPLP), Juwaini, for a permit to hold a creative activity with other prisoners but his request was dismissed by the KPLP. This led to an argument between him and the Abepura Kalapas, Liberti Sitinjak, who heard the conversation of Selfius and one of his staffs.

The argument between Selfius and the Kalapas ended with an order from the Kalapas to the prison guards to put Selfius into isolation. Selfius avoided the prison guards and insisted that he should not be isolated as he has not done anything wrong.

Other prisoners who were at their cell witnessed this and they also yelled at the prison guards asking them to put Selfius back to his cell instead of to the isolation. Their requests were ignored and the prison guards put Selfius in an isolated area. The prison guards later went back to the cells where the prisoners were yelling. The guards were offended with what the prisoners said so they took them out of their cell and beat, kicked and hit them with fists, wood blocks and iron sticks. The prisoners were also whipped with thick ropes supposed to use for controlling cows. They were also dragged to the yard in front of the block and were asked to walk whilst they were crouching for about 200 metres. As they were doing this, the guards kept beating and kicking them. The guards stepped on some of the prisoners and detainees’ fingers and toes. The guards also kept saying to the prisoners ‘you are all stupid, that is why you ended up here’. The torture and ill-treatment took place for about two and a half hours, approximately from 12.30-3.15pm. There were 41 prisoners in total who were treated this way by twenty prison guards. Two prisoners Hendrik Kenelak and Otto Ikinia fainted and one, Parmen Wenda, had his arm broken.

Before the prison guards put the prisoners back to their cell, the Kalapas asked them to search the cells and took away their personal belongings  and later burned them. Selfius was brought to the Papua Regional Police Station and was questioned. He did not receive any ill-treatment whilst he was there and was later sent back to Abepura Correctional Facility on 3 May 2012.

Principle 6 of the UN Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention and Imprisonment explicitly prohibits the use of torture and ill-treatment against persons whose liberty are deprived. The principle also emphasises that no reason can be used to justify any state officials to conduct torture and ill-treat prisoners. These principles are in accordance with the provisions under the UN Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UN CAT) to which Indonesia is a state party since 1998. Yet although Indonesia has ratified the UN CAT, torture itself has yet to be criminalised in Indonesia in order to end the ongoing practice. For this reason, at the first and second Universal Periodic Review of the UN Human Rights Council’s session on Indonesia, several countries urged the Indonesian government to criminalise torture and to reform its Penal Code in accordance with its international human rights obligations.

The absence of articles making torture a punishable crime in Indonesia contributes to the low investigation rate seen in torture cases in Indonesian criminal procedure. Torture is often deemed merely as a violation to disciplines for which, in the majority of cases, the perpetrators received inadequate or no punishment. Military officers who tortured several Papuans in 2010 as shown in a video distributed on the internet, for instance, were sent only to 8 to 10 month imprisonment for disobedience but have not been held accountable for the torture they committed.

Garda-P calls for all human rights violations in Papua to end immediately

JUBI, 29 May 2012
Jayapura:  Garda-P, the Papuan People’s Democracy Movement, has called on the Indonesian government to immediately halt to all acts of violence and violations of the basic human rights of the Papuan people, which they commit  in the name of the Indonesian State in order to preserve the NKRI – the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia.This call was made in response to the statement made by Marty Natalagawa, the Indonesian Foreign Minister, at the 13th session of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) regarding  the human rights situation in Indonesia which took place in Switzerland on 23 May 2012.

The chairman of Garda-P, Bovit Bofra said: The Indonesian government should arrest and put on trial all the perpetrators of crimes against humanity and those who spread lies about the Papuan people.

In the opinion of Garda-P, acts of intimidation, terror and violence against human rights defenders, lawyers acting for those facing the charge of makar, and student activists in Papua as well as human rights violations continue to be committed by the Indonesian government.

‘The militarisation  in Papua which poses a threat to the security situation and the rights of the Papua people must stop,’ he said.

Bovit also said that there should be access to Papua for  independent observers as well as foreign journalists, so that they can see for themselves the human rights situation in Papua. This is why various human rights institutions as well as a number of countries  tabled recommendations to the  UPR and called for observers to visit Papua to see the human rights situation there.

[Translated by TAPOL]

Sharp increase in international concern about Papua

Indonesia’s human rights record reviewed at UN Human Rights Council

TAPOL press release

London, 23 May 2012 – Today, Indonesia’s human rights record was reviewed by the UN Human Rights Council during the 13th session of the Universal Periodic Review in Geneva, Switzerland. Concerns about human rights in Papua increased sharply since the last review in 2008, with a significant number of member states raising concerns about freedom of expression, human rights defenders and political prisoners in the region.

“While Indonesia today said it is using a ‘welfare and development’
approach in Papua, the continued presence of thousands of troops and
dozens of political prisoners suggests otherwise,” said Paul Barber,
Coordinator of TAPOL.

TAPOL and United for Truth (Bersatu Untuk Keadilan, BUK) submitted a
report to the review process, making recommendations to improve the
human rights situation in Papua by ending the stigmatisation of
peaceful political activity, repealing repressive legislation and
releasing political prisoners.

Concerns raised by TAPOL based on inputs from local NGOs were picked
up by a number of Member States during the review. Switzerland and
Mexico were among those States questioning Indonesia’s worrying human
rights record in Papua, joined by regional neighbours New Zealand and
Japan. The United States called for action on Indonesia’s repressive
treason laws, backed by Canada and Germany who further called for the
release of peaceful political prisoners.

While Indonesia today announced that it intends to issue an invitation to the Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression, Mr Frank La Rue, it was unclear whether he would be guaranteed free access to the Papua provinces.

Restrictions on access for foreign media and civil society were
challenged by a number of States including France and Australia, while Germany called for immediate access for the ICRC, who were ejected from Papua in 2010.

“The international community has today sent a clear message to Indonesia that the human rights situation in Papua is totally unacceptable,” noted Barber. “With increasing regional and international engagement on the issue, the pressure is on for Indonesia to provide a meaningful response.”

“Papuans do not feel safe in their own land” – Faith Based Network holds forum in Geneva

from the Faith-based Network on West Papua

Newsletter, March 2012

On 15 March, the Faith-based Network on West Papua (FBN) in cooperation with Franciscan International (FI), the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), the World Organization against Torture (OMCT) and TAPOL held a side-event at the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

National and international human rights experts discussed the implementation of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) recommendations from 2008 in Indonesia with regard to the human rights reality in Papua. Four years after the Indonesian Government accepted the UPR recommendations, the human rights experts observe no significant changes in the protection of human rights violations on the ground.

“Many Papuans do not feel safe in their own land”, said Rev. Matheus Adadikam, General Secretary of the Evangelical Church in the Land of Papua (GKI-TP). Extrajudicial executions, torture, arbitrary arrest and detention remain a reality for the indigenous people of Papua.  Ferry Marisan, Director of the Institute of Human Rights Studies and Advocacy (ElsHAM Papua), reported 75 people tortured and three killed by the Indonesian security forces after the 3^rd Papuan Peoples Congress in October and over 1.000 refugees caused by a military operation in Paniai Regency in December 2011.

Norman Voss, from the Asian Legal Resource Center (ALRC), drew a bleak conclusion of the UPR recommendations in Indonesia. “The implementation of the 2008 recommendations is very disappointing”, the international human rights expert said. The initial momentum of the so-called “Reformasi” with its improved human rights legislation had gone. There is no accountability for human rights violations in Papua and also no remedy for the victims, Norman Voss explained.

Novel Matindas, from the Papua Desk of the Communion of Churches in Indonesia (PGI), supported these observations and criticized the lack of political will from the Indonesian government to implement the Special Autonomy Law for Papua. The PGI therefore requests a dialogue between Papua and Jakarta to find the “best solution” for the ongoing problems.
For more information on the Faith-based Network on West Papua: http://www.faithbasednetworkonwestpapua.org or contact fbn_papua@vemission.org

Related News

*World Council of Churches expresses concern over human right violations in Tanah Papua*

The World Council of Churches (WCC) Executive Committee recently issued a statement expressing concern over the escalation of violence in Tanah Papua, Indonesia. <http://www.faithbasednetworkonwestpapua.org/news_release/world_council_of_churches_expresses_concern_over_human_right_violations_in_tanah_papua>

*Concerns of JPIC in Papua regarding the situation in Papua*

The secretariats of JPICs in Papua confirm that the pro-investment policy of the Government of Indonesia and the torture and cruel treatment by the security forces have undermined law and the dignity of the indigenous Papuans, marginalising and threatening their right to life. <http://www.faithbasednetworkonwestpapua.org/news_release/concerns_of_jpic_in_papua_regarding_the_situation_in_papua__reflections_on_the_situation_in_2011_>

*Statement: Torture and extrajudicial execution still take place in Papua*

FI, FBN and TAPOL would like to draw the attention on torture and extrajudicial execution still taking place in Papua. <http://www.faithbasednetworkonwestpapua.org/userfiles/files/Item3-General%20debate-joint%20statement-FI-FBN-Tapol-West%20Papua%20%282%29.pdf>

*Joint Press Release*

The Jayapura State Court found five Papuan leaders guilty of treason, sentencing them to three years imprisonment. <http://www.faithbasednetworkonwestpapua.org/userfiles/files/Joint%20Press%20Release%20on%20Verdict%20%282%29.pdf>

*Urgent Appeal: Joint Letter to Mrs. Sekaggya*

Dear Mrs Sekaggya, We are writing to you in relation to threats made against human rights lawyer Mr Gustav Kawer by the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Jayapura. <http://www.faithbasednetworkonwestpapua.org/news_release/urgent_appeal>

*Papua Update*

A Statement to the Human Rights Sub-Committee of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade, House Representatives of Australia Canberra. <http://www.faithbasednetworkonwestpapua.org/userfiles/files/BH%20paper%20for%20ozi%20joint%20committee_2012%20%282%29.pdf>

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