Tag Archives: US Military Aid

PAPUA STUDENTS: Freeport should close; US must be hed responsible for Crimes Against Humanity

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PAPUA STUDENTS ALLIANCE (AMP)

 

PRESS RELEASE

Freeport McMoRan copper and Gold should be closed down and the United States should be held responsible for crimes against humanity and against the environment in Papua.

 

(JAKARTA, 09 November 2010) – The history of Papua is a history manipulated by the political and economic interests of other countries, especially the United States which eventually encouraged Indonesia to carry out the annexation of West Papua.  The political process that occurred prior to the implementation of the 1969 Act of Free Choice is a process in which the ideological interests of the world played an important role in the process of the history of Papua.  The Capitalist Bloc (the West) led by the United States and the Socialist Bloc led by the Soviet Union played a major political part in the political bargaining which led to the decisions concerning the political fate of the Papuan people up until today.

On the one hand there was the United States which played a role in cutting off political access of the Dutch Government to its colony in West Papua and in encouraging the Netherlands to accept a project of political diplomacy drafted by American diplomat, Elsworth Buncker, which resulted in the so-called Buncker plan in which important political concepts were drawn in relation to the right to self-determination of the West Papua people.  The Buncker plan was at the origin of the famous document known as the New York Agreement (NYA) signed by the Dutch and the Indonesians, under the auspices of the United Nations, which established the technical principles regarding the implementation of a process of consultation of the people on their right to self-determination.  This so-called Act of Free choice (Pepera) took place in 1969 and it was unfair, undemocratic and highly discriminatory towards the people of Papua.

In addition to playing the role of political diplomacy in the Western Block, the United States was also acting out of personal economic interests in order to safeguard its access to the natural resources in West Papua, an area extremely rich in natural gas, mining deposits, minerals, petroleum, forest products, fishery, plantations  and a number of other economic resources which proved to  be very profitable for the interests of the exploitation of foreign capital, especially for the United States, in Papua.  Evidently, the economic interest is Freeport McMoran Gold & Copper, with its basis in New Orleans, one of the largest mining company in the United States, a company which would later cause great problems concerning the political rights of the People of West Papua.  The political intervention of the United States and its behavior towards the Netherlands resulted in an insignificant political support from the Dutch with regard to protecting the right to self-determination of the people of West Papua.   Also the backing by the United States of the clique within the Indonesian army between 1965 and 1966 which facilitated the coming to being of the New Order authoritarian militaristic regime under the leadership of General Suharto, had as a direct result the annexation of West Papua, turning it into a colonized area for economic purposes, as well as a killing field where gross human rights violations were and still are perpetrated by the Indonesian army, an area fully controlled by the United States and the economic interests of the capitalists.

It is common knowledge that the Freeport company funds the Indonesian military with billions of rupiahs to secure the exploration area of PT. Freeport. In a report from the New York Times entitled “The Cost of Gold, The Hidden Payroll: Below a Mountain of Wealth, a River of Waste” (27 Dec 2005)  it is clearly described how much dirty money is received by high-ranking Indonesian military.

Over the past 32 years of control over Papua by the militaristic regime of Suharto, there have been numerous cases of violations of human rights as a result of many Military Operations conducted in Papua.  This situation did not stop after the period of reform in Indonesia in 1998. Regime change was not accompanied by fundamental changes to the system in Indonesia. Evidence of continuous gross human rights violations by the Indonesian military forces up until today can be seen, as two torture videos were circulated on the Internet some time ago.  These two films depicting scenes of torture were published by the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), based in Bangkok, through the Youtube site. A few days later, after meetings with President Yudhoyono at the State Palace, Co-ordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs, Djoko Suyanto, confirmed in front of reporters that gross acts of torture had indeed been perpetrated by members of the military, on two civilians who were suspected of being members of the Free Papua Movement (OPM) in the District of Puncak Jaya, Papua. These cases of torture were committed by the Indonesian army, which has long established ties with the American Government in the field of military cooperation.

Considering the complexity of the problems in which Papua finds itself today, where there is no recognition of the democratic rights of the people of Papua, the Papuan Students Alliance states its position as follows:

1. Freeport McMoRan copper and Gold in the land of Papua should be closed down immediately and the United States should be held responsible for crimes against humanity and against the environment in Papua.

2. We demand that the Government of the United States, the United Nations and Indonesia be held accountable for the political conspiracy surrounding the 1969 so-called Act of Free choice, which was in effect a miscarriage of justice and morality, an act full of intimidation and manipulation.

3. We strongly call on the termination of the bilateral military cooperation between the United States and Indonesia.

4. We demand that there be a thorough and comprehensive resolution of all cases of human rights abuses.

5. We demand the withdrawal of the organic and non-organic military troops from Papua.

6. We demand the implementation of the right to self-determination or a referendum for the nation of Papua.

We raise these issues in our statement to the American government, Indonesia, the United Nations and all parties associated with the dark history of the Papuan people to date, so that they may address these matters of concern in an urgent manner.

 

Jakarta, 9 November 2010

General Coordinator

Rinto Kogoya

 

Action PR

Okto: 082112808445

 

SURVIVAL INTERNATIONAL: Shocking video of Papuan torture prompts calls for inquiry

SURVIVAL INTERNATIONAL PRESS RELEASE

October 20, 2010

Shocking video of Papuan torture prompts calls for inquiry

Disturbing and graphic footage of two tribal Papuan men being tortured, allegedly by Indonesian soldiers, has led to widespread demands for an independent inquiry. One of the victims is an elderly man.

The incident is believed to have been filmed on the mobile phone of one of the soldiers as a ‘trophy’. Analysis of the footage suggests it was taken in May this year in the highland region of West Papua, where a military operation has been taking place.

The shocking footage shows an elderly man stripped naked, a plastic bag being forced over his head, and screaming in agony as a burning stick is held to his genitals. Exact details of the victims are hard to confirm due to military control of the area and a ban on journalists and human rights organisations from entering the region. However, reports suggest that the elderly man is still missing, presumed dead and the younger man, who is shown with a knife held to his face and throat, has since been released.

The Papuan tribal people have suffered enormously at the hands of the Indonesian military since 1963. The Indonesian army has a long history of human rights violations against the Papuans, including killings, torture and the rape of women, and children as young as three. For many years Indonesian soldiers have taken trophy photos, and now films, of killings and rapes, which they use to intimidate and humiliate Papuans.

Survival International’s Director, Stephen Corry said, ‘This footage of an elderly man being tortured, allegedly by Indonesian soldiers, is truly horrific. There must be a full, independent investigation into this atrocity. Soldiers have been killing, raping and torturing Papuans with impunity for almost 50 years. The international community cannot sit back and allow this to continue.’

To read this story online: http://www.survivalinternational.org/news/6598

Notes to Editors:

Survival campaigner, Sophie Grig, who has been to West Papua, is available for interview.

This video clip is an excerpt of a longer video, most of which is unsuitable for general viewing. Broadcasters can contact Survival for further footage.

For more information and images, or to use the attached image, please contact Miriam Ross:

T (+44) (0)20 7687 8734 or (+44) (0)7504543367
E mr@survivalinternational.org
W http://www.survivalinternational.org/

In the US:

Christina Chauvenet (before 12 pm EST)
T: (+1) 202 525 6972
E: cc@survivalinternational.org

Tess Thackara (after 12 pm EST)
T: (+1) 415 503 1254
E: tt@survivalinternational.org

WPAT: Torture video reveals "Indonesia's Abu Ghraib" on eve of Obama visit

WPAT: Torture video reveals “Indonesia’s Abu Ghraib” on eve of Obama visit

Contact: Ed McWilliams (WPAT) +1-575-648-2078

October 19, 2010 –  A new video shows the torture of helpless men in the Indonesian-ruled territory of West Papua. Monitoring groups are already describing the footage as “Indonesia’s Abu Ghraib.”The video reveals indisputably Indonesian security force brutality, and raises serious questions about the Obama administration’s decision to embrace cooperation with Indonesian security forces engaged in active and ongoing torture.

The video, available at http://material.ahrchk.net/video/AHRC-VID-012-2010-Indonesia.html, is the second in recent months to offer graphic footage of Indonesian  to offer graphic footage of Indonesian security force torture of Papuans. In it, a Papuan man is held to the ground while a hot stick, still smoldering from a fire, is held against his genitals. A plastic bag is wrapped around his head several times, a rifle held against him. Another man has a large knife held against him while he pleads: “I’m just an ordinary civilian, please…” One of his interrogators responds: “I’ll cut your throat… Do not lie, I will kill you! Burn the penis!” The video appears to have been taken on the cell phone of one interrogator. Although the interrogators are dressed in plain clothes, they speak in Javanese and in Indonesian with non-Papuan accents. Plain clothes dress is common for Indonesian security forces in West Papua. The techniques used mean they are almost certainly trained security personnel in the Indonesian army or police. The dialect of the victims places them in the Puncak Jaya region, where security forces are accused of repeated rights abuses.

The extreme brutality revealed in this footage is not new. What is new is that there is now additional video evidence of the brutality suffered by Papuans for nearly five decades. The international community can now clearly witness the indisputably harsh reality of life for Papuans. While Indonesia continues on the path of democratization and peaceful resolution of disputes, one region is sent on the opposite path: towards ongoing military domination, widespread suppression of political activity, and routine use of torture and other severe violations of basic human rights. In West Papua, the brutal and unaccountable Indonesian military and its accomplices, the militarized police ( Brimob), special forces ( Kopassus) and “anti-terror” force (Detachment 88) continue to operate with impunity under the old dictatorship’s rules: peaceful dissent is criminalized; civil society leaders are humiliated and intimidated and the international community is precluded from any effective monitoring of conditions in this besieged community.

Thanks to the courage of Papuan human rights advocates in the face of harsh security measures designed to silence them, the world periodically has been witness to the harsh rule of West Papua. In the past, the faith in international justice and humanity demonstrated by these courageous Papuans has been betrayed by the international community’s deference to the Indonesian government’s insistence that neither its course nor rule there not be challenged. Numerous governments have placed the territorial integrity of Indonesia and the desire to support its democratization process first. In the process, however, they have abandoned what could have been constructive efforts to uphold human rights in West Papua, which continue to be systematically violated.

Geopolitical and commercial goals led the U.S. government to ignore Suharto dictatorship atrocities targeting its own people and the people of East Timor for decades. President Bill Clinton acknowledged this when East Timor gained its independence in 2002, saying: “I don’t believe America or any of the other countries were sufficiently sensitive in the beginning and for a long time, a long time before 1999, going all the way back to the ’70s, to the suffering of the people of East Timor.” It was the suffering of the people of East Timor that led to Congress deciding to suspend military cooperation with Indonesia.

The system of security force rule and repression of peaceful dissent has been dismantled in much of Indonesia, but the same security system and the same systematic human rights violations continue in West Papua today. Such stopgap solutions as “special autonomy” have been clearly rejected by the Papuan people. Despite the continued human rights violations, the Obama administration has continued the Bush administration’s policy of support to the Indonesian security forces. It has continued support to the Indonesian military through the IMET program, and support through the Anti-Terror Assistance Program to the notorious Detachment 88 of the Indonesian National Police, credibly accused of torture and other rights violations. It has resumed cooperation with the Indonesian special forces (Kopassus) notwithstanding that unit’s  decades-old record of human rights abuse including recent, credible accounts of brutality targeting Papuan civilians.  In so doing the Obama Administration, like its predecessors, has wittingly or unwittingly made itself complicit in the repression now underway in West Papua.

The United States, under President John F. Kennedy, was responsible for the transfer of West Papua to Indonesian rule. In that act, the United States made itself co-responsible for the outcome of its actions. Successive administrations have not been sufficiently sensitive to the ongoing human rights violations, including torture to this day, which resulted from Indonesian rule.

President Obama’s upcoming visit to Indonesia offers an opportunity to end the silence on West Papua, and to craft new policies that advance human rights rather than lending support to human rights violators. Information about the ongoing human rights violations in West Papua was heard on September 22 by the House of Representatives Sub-committee on Asia, the Pacific.

The Obama administration should:

    Insist upon an investigation and prosecution of those who recently tortured Papuans in Puncak Jaya

    Seek an investigation by relevant United Nations human rights rapporteurs of this and other instances of torture in West Papua Suspend cooperation with Indonesian security forces accused of systematic human rights violations, including Detachment 88 and the Brimob (Mobile Brigade) of the National Police and the Indonesian special forces (Kopassus) Call for full and open access for journalists, humanitarian assistance personnel including the International Committee of the red Cross and other international monitors to all of West Papua Seek meetings between President Obama and Papuan human rights and civil society leaders during his visit to Indonesia Call upon the Indonesian government to carry out an internationally facilitated, senior-level dialogue process with Papuan officials and civil society designed to resolve the Papuan conflict peacefully, as was done in Aceh province

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Posted with additional links: http://etan.org/news/2010/10video.htm

Testimonies at US Congress hearings on West Papua

September 22, 2010

Crimes Against Humanity: When Will Indonesia’s Military Be Held Accountable for Deliberate and Systematic Abuses in West Papua?

Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific and the Global Environment

Statements available for download are hyperlinked:

Mr. Joseph Y. Yun Deputy Assistant Secretary Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs U.S. Department of State

Mr. Robert Scher Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for South and Southeast Asia Asian and Pacific Security Affairs U.S. Department of Defense 

Pieter Drooglever, Ph.D. Professor Emeritus Institute of Netherlands History

Mr. Octovianus Mote Founder, West Papua Action Network President, Papua Resource Center

Mr. Henkie Rumbewas

Mr. Nicholas Simeone Messet West Papua, Independent Group Supporting Special Autonomy as Part of the Republic of Indonesia

Mr. Salamon Maurits Yumame Head of FORDEM (The Democratic Forum)

S. Eben Kirksey, Ph.D. Visiting Assistant Professor The Graduate Center The City University of New York

Sophie Richardson, Ph.D. Asia Advocacy Director Human Rights Watch

AWPA (Sydney) Urges Moratorium on Australian aid to Detachment 88 torturers

Australia West Papua Association, Sydney
PO Box 28, Spit Junction, Sydney, Australia 2088

The Hon Julia Gillard MP
Prime Minister
Parliament House
Canberra
ACT 2600

15  September 2010

Dear Prime Minister,

On behalf of the Australia West Papua Association  (AWPA),  I am writing to you concerning the recent media reports about the torture of activists in Maluku by members of the Indonesian counter-terrorism unit Detachment 88. Detachment 88 also operates in West Papua where they have  also  been accused of human rights abuses. In December 2009  the West Papuan  leader Kelly Kwalik who was of great symbolic importance  to the West Papuan people was killed  by the Indonesian security forces  which included members of  Detachment 88.  We will not go into great detail of the human rights abuses committed by this unit and that of the other Indonesian Special Forces unit,  Kopassus.  These human rights abuses have been documented in numerous reports and the activities of the Indonesian security forces  are well know to the Australian people from their past history in East Timor, Aceh and the ongoing abuses in West Papua.  A recent Human Rights Watch report titled “What Did I Do Wrong?” Papuans in Merauke Face Abuses by Indonesian Special Forces,”  documents a number of cases of West Papuans who were tortured by Kopassus troops.
AWPA and other civil society organisations have written regularly to Australian Governments over many years about our ties with the Indonesian military. We have raised concerns that any aid or training given to the military would be used against the West Papuan people who are struggling for their right to self-determination.

Many of the NGO submissions to the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT) concerning  the Lombok treaty, also raised  concerns about the past history of  the Indonesian military’s treatment of civilian populations.  Unfortunately these concerns have proven yet again justified in the case of the treatment of activists in West Papua and Maluku.

During the occupation of East Timor by Indonesia, the Australian Government appeared to believe that by continuing ties with the Indonesian military that  the professionalism of the Australian military would  rub off on the Indonesian military.  However, this  proved to be wishful thinking and a complete failure  as  was shown  by the behavior of the Indonesian military at the time of the referendum in East Timor. It is also a failure now.  To quote from the Human Rights Watch Report  “The cases in this report illustrate how violence thrives when a culture of impunity persists in  the heart of what is supposed to be one of Indonesia’s best trained fighting units”.

AWPA is urging you to put a moratorium on the training, funding and any ties between  the Australian military,  Detachment 88 and the special forces unit  Kopassus, until a full inquiry is held into the activities of these units in relation to  human rights abuses in the archipelago.

Yours sincerely
Joe Collins
Secretary
AWPA (Sydney)

CC The Hon Kevin Rudd MP
Minister for Foreign Affairs
The Hon Stephen Smith MP
Minister for Defence
Various human rights organisations