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We Will Lose Everything: CJPC Brisbane’s shadow fact finding mission finds no improvement in human rights in West Papua

WE WILL LOSE EVERYTHING: A Report on a Human Rights Fact Finding Mission to West Papua

Conducted by the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission of the Archdiocese of Brisbane

1 May 2016

CJPC Brisbane’s report on its shadow human rights fact finding mission to West Papua this year finds that there is no improvement in human rights in West Papua.

It calls for action at the UN to investigate human rights abuses and for the Indonesian Government to negotiate with the United Liberation Movement for West Papua to find a pathway towards self determination.

“We will lose everything!” This was the grim prediction made by the four members of the Executive of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) when they presented their three year campaign strategy to a Brisbane meeting of representatives of solidarity groups from around the South Pacific in January 2016. When ULMWP Secretary-General, Octovianus Mote, uttered these words on behalf of his colleagues, both the anguish of the people of West Papua and their grim determination to overcome their oppression was evident in his voice. Faced with becoming a small minority in their own land within a few short years and living with unrelenting intimidation and brutality at the hands of the Indonesian Government’s security apparatus together with rapidly growing economic and social marginalisation, he stressed the need for urgent action to stop the violence in their land and to secure an international commitment to give their people a genuine opportunity to freely determine their future. The message was clear. The situation in West Papua is fast approaching a tipping point. In less than five years, the position of Papuans in their own land will be worse than precarious. They are already experiencing a demographic tidal wave. Ruthless Indonesian political, economic, social and cultural domination threatens to engulf the proud people who have inhabited the land they call Tanah Papua for thousands of years.

One week after the meeting in Brisbane, a two person delegation from the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission of the Archdiocese of Brisbane set foot on Papuan soil to speak to Papuans directly about their situation. The Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) Leaders Summit in Port Moresby in September 2015 had agreed to send a human rights fact-finding mission to West Papua, but the Indonesian Government has not allowed this to happen. One of the Commission’s objectives in sending the delegation was to build relationships with the Church in West Papua for future collaboration on human rights and environmental issues. However, because of the Indonesian Government’s unwillingness to accept a PIF mission, our delegation effectively became the first of a number of shadow human rights fact finding missions to West Papua from the Pacific.

Read the full report at the https://cjpcbrisbane.files.wordpress.com/2016/05/we-will-lose-everything-may-2016.pdf


Investigation Report: The Tolikara Arson and Shootings Incident

January 19, 2016

(apologies for the delay in publication due to verification issues)

On Friday, July 17, 2015, 10 youths from the GIDI (Evangelical Christian Church in Indonesia) suffered gunshot wound, and 1 died from mortal wounds inflicted by Indonesian military and police.

Closeup of Incident Location next to the Tolikara airstrip (photo: JPIC/WPM)
Closeup of Incident Location next to the Tolikara airstrip (photo: JPIC/WPM)

After the shooting, the demonstrators became mad and burned gasoline outlets and the other outlets, with the fire spreading into the surrounding kiosk stalls, including a mosque. 62 citizens suffered material losses as the result of the fire.

On Friday, July 17, 2015, at 08.30am, approximately 15 young members of the GIDI Church (Evangelical Church in Indonesia) gathered at the GIDI complex, located at the end of the of the airfield of Karubaga township to continue a seminar and Christian Youth outdoor worship (KKR) on its third day. They went to meet the Muslim community, which had gathered at the office of the Karubaga Military Sub-District Command (KORAMIL) to conduct the morning prayer. The young GIDI members wanted to make a visit with peaceful intent, and wanted to convey that the Idulfitri prayer should take place inside the local small mosque, without the utilization of loudspeakers (Toa), due to the short distance of 300 meters between the mosque and the worship location. The young church members’ request was in line with a previous letter from July 15, 2015, with the number 90/SP/GIDI-WT/VII/2015 by the executive board of the GIDI church in Tolikara region stating that “1) The Lebaran opening prayer on July 17, 2015 is welcomed to take place in Karubaga, Tolikara regency; 2) it would be better if the prayer would not be carried out at an open field, but inside the mosque and its surrounding yard”.

Evidence for the use of fire arms by the by Muslim community praying at the  big field in Tolikara 2
Evidence of firearm use by alleged intelligence officer amongst Muslim community prayers at Tolikara big field. (Photo JPIC/WPM)

The Agreement to not using loudspeakers accompanying or initiating prayer of Muslim Community in Karubaga had already been agreed since 2010. On the 30th of July 2015 prior to the Seminar and Youth Worship occurring, the Regent had repeatedly instructed the Chief of Tolikara Regional Police via telephone, and also directly informed Muslim Cleric (Ustad) about the agreement. Despite this, the persons in charge used loudspeakers during the Idulfitri prayer at the Karubaga Military District Command, which caused the protest of the youth seminar participants and finally let to the Tolikara incident.

Incident Location next to the airstrip of Tolikara from distance (photo: JPIC/WPM)
Incident Location next to the airstrip of Tolikara from distance (photo: JPIC/WPM)

As all the seminar participants went to express their aspirations and protest in front of the military district command office, one youth was suddenly shot down by gunfire from the Koramil office.

Evidence of of firearms use by Muslim community praying at the  big field in Tolikara (Photo: JPIC/WPM) - Note: Firearms are Indonesian army intelligence service issue)
Evidence of firearms use by Muslim community praying at the big field in Tolikara (Photo: JPIC/WPM) – Note: Firearms are Indonesian army intelligence service issue)

Subsequently the security forces released shots, causing injuries to 11 of GIDI Youth. 1 youth died, named Endi Wanimbo (15 years old). As the result of the shootings, the mass of people released their anger over the incident and burned several small stores (kiosks) in the market area to the ground. The fire expanded and finally caused the burning of the mosque.


Names of Shooting Victims

Tollikara shooting victims (photo: JPIC/WPM)
Tollikara shooting victims (photo: JPIC/WPM)

All of the 11 victims received medical treatment in the public hospitals RSUD Wamena and RSUD Dok 2 Jayapura.

  1. Endi Wanimbo (15 years) died after bullet pierced his lower back and exited the stomach
  2. Amatin Sibolim, bullet wound in the leg
  3. Enembe Mus Jikwa, bullet wound in the right thigh
  4. Geradadus Kogoya, bullet wound in the right calf
  5. Yulianus Lambe, bullet wound in the left thigh
  6. Dasiduli Jikwa, bullet wound in the buttocks
  7. Atlelu Wenda, bulllet wound in the left thigh
  8. Ares Kogoya, bullet wound in the left knee
  9. Alesi, bullet wound in the left thigh
  10. Ciliben, bullet wound in the left thigh
  11. Edison Pagawak, bullet wound in the left leg

    List of injured tolikara victims (photo: JPIC/WPM)
    List of injured tolikara victims (photo: JPIC/WPM)
List of Citizens that were material/property Fire Victims in Karubaga, Tolikara, July 17 2015
No. Name From Religion
1 Nandina Karubaga Christian
2 H. Colleng South Sulawesi Muslim
3 Albetina Karubaga Christian
4 Bindo Yikwa Karubaga Christian
5 Ferianto South Sulawesi Muslim
6 Ilang Karubaga Christian
7 Nasiore Karubaga Christian
8 Merika Karubaga Christian
9 H. Suparman South Sulawesi Muslim
10 Mappe South Sulawesi Muslim
11 Zainal Abidin South Sulawesi Muslim
12 Andi Madda South Sulawesi Muslim
13 Andi Madda 1 South Sulawesi Muslim
14 Baharuddin Linta South Sulawesi Muslim
15 Baharuddin Linta South Sulawesi Muslim
16 Bastian Sulawesi Barat Christian
17 Yulius Ruru South Sulawesi Christian
18 Yoland South Sulawesi Christian
19 Agus South Sulawesi Muslim
20 Robert South Sulawesi Christian
21 Pak Sarno Center Java Muslim
22 Sudirman South Sulawesi Muslim
23 Silvi South Sulawesi Muslim
24 Mama Febi South Sulawesi Christian
25 Ali Usman Center Java Muslim
26 Ali Muktar East Java Muslim
27 Kondalina Karubaga Christian
28 Syamsul South Sulawesi Muslim
29 Hastang South Sulawesi Muslim
30 Ismail South Sulawesi Muslim
31 Ridwan South Sulawesi Muslim
32 Ansar South Sulawesi Muslim
33 Faizal South Sulawesi Muslim
34 Ali South Sulawesi Muslim
35 Mustafa South Sulawesi Muslim
36 Taslim South Sulawesi Muslim
37 Munta South Sulawesi Muslim
38 Mustaqim South Sulawesi Muslim
39 Madong South Sulawesi Muslim
40 Abu South Sulawesi Muslim
41 H. Darwis South Sulawesi Muslim
42 Sultan South Sulawesi Muslim
43 Udin South Sulawesi Muslim
44 Sudirman South Sulawesi Muslim
45 Mansyur South Sulawesi Muslim
46 Syukur South Sulawesi Muslim
47 Unding South Sulawesi Muslim
48 Asdar South Sulawesi Muslim
49 Iccang South Sulawesi Muslim
50 Madi South Sulawesi Muslim
51 Tagiling South Sulawesi Muslim
52 Bustam South Sulawesi Muslim
53 Darman South Sulawesi Muslim
54 Yusuf South Sulawesi Muslim
55 Mansyur South Sulawesi Muslim
56 Nurmin South Sulawesi Muslim
57 Massara South Sulawesi Muslim
58 Timombi Karubaga Christian
59 Billiar Karubaga Christian
60 UST. Junaidi Karubaga Christian
61 Mama Ari Karubaga Christian
62 Mosque

 Post Incident Mediation and Legal Process
Together with the legal process undertaken by Police Regency ,POLDA against GIDI leadership, the GIDI take the initiative to negotiate with the Muslims, in this case the national Islamic Ulama’s Council, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), and encourage these cases to be solved through indigenous Papuan methods. On 27-28 July 2015 meeting between the two sides, which were mediated by the Rev. Benny Giay, representing Papuan ecumenical church leaders, and Toni Wanggai of NU Papua province. The leader of GIDI in Papua then communicated with Ustad Ali of Tolikara, and on July 29 reached an agreement which put forward the peaceful settlement and legal proceedings be lifted. Despite this agreement, the peace and reconciliation effort was ignored by the state, and the legal process is still running. Until the publication of this report, state prosecutions are still underway, and are currently at the stage of witness testimony.

Photo Evidence is presented within the report.

 *Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) Desk (Keadilan, Perdamaian dan Keutuhan Ciptaan (KPKC) Bidang), Evangelical Christian Church in Papua (Gereja Kristen Injili di Tanah Papua (GKI))

The Struggle for Merdeka in West Papua

Book Review:
Merdeka and the Morning Star: Civil Resistance in West Papua
Author: Jason MacLeod
University of Queensland Press
Release Date: 1/12/2015
Pages: 304
ISBN: 978 0 7022 5376 8

Excerpt from the book can be read here


Review by Robert J. Burrowes

January 19, 2016

It has been argued that nonviolent struggles to liberate occupied countries – such as West Papua, Tibet, Palestine, Kanaky and Western Sahara – have failed far more often than they have succeeded but that secessionist struggles (that have sought to separate territory from an existing state in order to establish a new one) conducted by nonviolent means have always failed. (See ‘Why Civil Resistance Works: The strategic logic of nonviolent conflict’.)

However, this argument fails to properly take into account one crucial variable: the quality of the nonviolent strategy that has been used. Given that none of the cases cited above, for example, has ever planned and then systematically implemented a comprehensive nonviolent strategy of liberation/secession, it is accurate to observe that struggles that largely (but not necessarily wholly) reject the use of violence and then use a randomly selected and applied range of tactics, most of which are not violent, have ‘failed far more often’ or have ‘always failed’ to achieve the desired outcome.

In essence, the failure is one of strategy, not of nonviolence per se. And if we fail to identify the problem correctly, we inaccurately assign the blame for failure.

In Jason MacLeod’s new book, ‘Merdeka and the Morning Star: civil resistance in West Papua’, the failure to develop a comprehensive strategy of any kind, violent or nonviolent, to liberate West Papua is overwhelmingly evident. And MacLeod does an excellent job of identifying why this has happened as he provides us with an overview of the history and geopolitical circumstances of the occupation of West Papua as well as a history of the resistance, both violent and nonviolent, to this occupation. He then identifies what still needs to happen if Papuans are to develop and then effectively implement a comprehensive nonviolent strategy to achieve the richly textured and multifaceted merdeka to which they aspire.

MacLeod, an Australian, has spent an enormous amount of time in West Papua since 1991 and the reason for this is explained early in the book with a compelling personal story that gives his commitment to West Papua both focus and depth. He has been actively involved in their struggle as a student (learning about the history and culture of West Papua), scholar (observing and documenting the origin and history of the occupation by interviewing key personnel and reading important documents), compassionate consultant and teacher. He has also spent time in Indonesia and travelled to many countries in search of the knowledge necessary to better understand why Indonesia occupies West Papua while most of the rest of the world either supports the occupation or does nothing.

Like all occupying powers, but particularly one that is a borderline ‘failed state’, the Indonesian elite cares nothing about West Papua, simply treating it as a resource (particularly for forest and mineral products which it can steal and then export) while subjecting Papuans to the usual abuses of occupation: lack of political recognition and participation, state violence, discrimination, racism, economic marginalisation, large-scale industrial development at the expense of traditional landowners, denial of access to health, welfare, education and other human rights, unfettered migration of Indonesians to displace/dilute the indigenous population, as well as police, paramilitary and military violence, including torture, to repress Papuan dissent.

Moreover, of course, the Indonesian elite ensures that West Papua is relatively isolated from media scrutiny, access to international agencies and diplomats (even though many western states are well-known to oppose any indigenous struggle for self-determination, given it would only raise questions about their own subjugated indigenous populations).

A key feature of this occupation, which is worth emphasizing, is the Indonesian government’s facilitation of resource extraction by large transnational corporations such as Freeport-McMoRan/Rio Tinto and BP among a host of others, including a dense network of Chinese, Malaysian and Korean timber and mining companies. In this context, it is also worth noting the corrupt involvement of the Indonesian police and military in the occupation by securing financial kickbacks for providing ‘security’ to these corporations. This highly profitable corruption ensures the enthusiastic complicity and brutality of the police and military in support of the occupation.

But these are not the only problems, as MacLeod makes clear: ‘There are also significant internal movement challenges’ including significant mistrust and disunity between the various parties of the resistance both within and outside West Papua, lack of resources, inadequate political analysis, and lack of strategic planning and coordination.

In many ways, MacLeod notes, West Papua is a worst-case scenario: ‘internationally isolated and internally divided indigenous peoples facing a genocidal occupying army’.

Nevertheless, ‘Papuans continue to dream, plan and act in pursuit of self-determination and decolonisation’ with significant diplomacy, lobbying and legal work at the international level (particularly among Melanesian allies in the Pacific), a variety of local victories through women’s and worker actions within West Papua and, most notably, a clarity and agreement about the root causes of the conflict in West Papua.

Moreover, there is an emerging consensus about the desire for self-determination, respect for their rights as indigenous peoples, greater trust and unity among Papuans symbolised by the formation of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua in December 2014, and a gradually emerging consensus about the nature of their liberation strategy with many prominent Papuans articulate in their advocacy of nonviolent struggle and many organisations publicly committed to it. In the words of Reverend Benny Giay: ‘Resisting without violence is not something foreign to us, it is part of our history’. And from Reverend Herman Awom: ‘Even when we were imprisoned we tried to keep a nonviolent struggle.’

The final section of MacLeod’s book provides a compelling explanation of how Papuans might systematically address the problems they face in developing and implementing a comprehensive nonviolent strategy of liberation. It reflects the work of a thoughtful scholar who has both listened well to the needs and aspirations of the people of West Papua, knows and understands the many obstacles that need to be overcome and who has consulted the literature on nonviolent struggle and in other relevant fields.

It was in 1961 that Papuans first raised their Morning Star flag. It is still illegal to do so. Will Papuans achieve their precious merdeka and see the Morning Star flag fly freely over West Papua? Not without a struggle. But the commitment to make that nonviolent struggle more strategic has never been clearer. And it is this commitment that will make the difference. One day, West Papua will be free.

Robert J. Burrowes has a lifetime commitment to understanding and ending human violence. He has done extensive research since 1966 in an effort to understand why human beings are violent and has been a nonviolent activist since 1981. He is author of ‘The Strategy of Nonviolent Defense: A Gandhian Approach’. His email address is flametree<at>riseup.net and his website is at http://robertjburrowes.wordpress.com

OpEd: Asia, Africa and the Unresolved Question of Papua

by Budi Hernawan*

April 24, 2015

EDIT: WPM received a transcript without the original author being credited and published as an original .  We apologise for this, but will maintain the article as fair dealing.  Article originally appeared at http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/opinion/commentary-asia-africa-unresolved-question-papua/

Sixty years ago in Bandung, 29 representatives from Asian and African nations were enthused with the spirit of decolonisation, and today even more seem determined to pursue South-South cooperation.

If we look back at the 1955 Bandung conference as described in Richard Wright’s “The Colour Curtain,” it was simply stunning. Most of the leaders of newly independent nations were former political prisoners under their respective colonial regimes. Those who had long been treated as underdogs were now in charge of new nations. It was a new dawn of liberation and in 1960 these Asian and African countries made history through the adoption of Resolution No. 1514 on Decolonisation at the General Assembly of the United Nations.

For this year’s commemorative Asian-African Conference, Indonesia has set three main goals:

  1. strengthening South-South cooperation to promote world peace and prosperity;
  2. reinvigorating the New Asian-African Strategic Partnership; and
  3. a Declaration on Palestine.

However, one thing is missing in this picture: Papua.

Sixty years ago, Papua was on the top of then-president Sukarno’s decolonisation agenda. He managed to get the support from many of the participants of the Bandung conference for his diplomatic battle at the UN to make Papua — still ruled by the Dutch — part of the Republic of Indonesia. The Dutch were still recovering from their post-colonial syndrome and although they had started to realise that their time had passed, they were determined to hold on to what they called Netherlands New Guinea, and what Indonesia referred to as West Irian.

The debates at the UN centred on the topic of unfinished decolonisation and the serious threat to world peace this posed. With the support of other Asian and Africa countries, Indonesian diplomats tirelessly argued before the General Assembly that West Irian was part of Indonesia as agreed during the Roundtable Conference in The Hague in 1949. Furthermore, they argued that the situation was detrimental to stability in the Southeast Asian region, calling on the UN to step in, as mandated by the UN Charter.

With the support of 14 countries, in 1954 Indonesia managed to table “The Question of West Irian” at the UNGA but it took another year before the UN General Assembly adopted it as Resolution 915(X) in 1955. The journey was far from over.

In the following years, Indonesia fought hard for the topic to be put on the agenda at the UNGA, with the support of 15 Asian and African nations, but failed. Australia was one of the countries that consistently voted against the proposal, whereas the United States opted for abstention — giving the Dutch leeway. This diplomatic failure led Sukarno to divert his energy to scale up the nation’s military capacity and, ultimately, launch an assault — Operation Trikora in 1961.

Not long after, the current provinces of Papua and West Papua were transferred to Indonesia after a brief period of UN administration. However, many people do not realise that until today, “Papua” remains an unresolved question.

Papuans have long appealed for a peaceful solution to the decades-old conflict in the easternmost part of the country. It has been a while since local church leaders declared Papua as a “Land of Peace” in 1998, following the bloody massacre of Biak, which remains unresolved. Filep Karma, who rose the Morning Star flag in Biak days before the massacre, remains in jail for doing the same thing in 2004.

The Papuan Peace Network has been trying to persuade Jakarta to engage in dialogue with Papuans since 2009. President B.J. Habibie’s administration told the 100 Papuan representatives to go home and rethink their call for independence. The administration of president Susilo Bambang Yudhyono held two separate meeting with Papuan church leaders and promised to organise a dialogue, which never happened. President Joko Widodo visited Papua after promising to improve the situation on the campaign trail.

But Papuans are still waiting.

While the national government is determined to revive the Bandung spirit of liberation by proposing a “Declaration on Palestine”, local police in Jayapura on April 8 arrested five Papuan leaders and charged them with treason even though they had only just returned home from a  meeting with Defence Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu. Papuan efforts to establish a dialogue are being criminalised. Charges remind us of the colonial time, when our founding fathers were persecuted for expressing their political positions.

Papuans are no longer placing their hopes in Asian and African countries, and some have started to shift their focus to the Pacific.

The Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) has become a new forum to find a solution for Papua. During its 2013 summit, the MSG expressed concerns over the human rights situation in Papua and called on Indonesia to find a peaceful solution. The summit also discussed an application for membership from Papuan representatives, although a decision has been delayed. But in May, the MSG will again discuss the application during its summit in Honiara.

“The Question of West Irian” is still very much alive.

*Budi Hernawan is a long time researcher on human rights issues in Papua, and is currently a research fellow at the Abdurrahman Wahid Center for Interfaith Dialogue and Peace at the University of Indonesia (UI).

Papuan students attacked with machetes in Manado, 2 dead, 4 injured: WARNING GRAPHIC


from our partners at MajalahSelangkah.com, with additional reporting by West Papua Media

original report Sunday 19th October 2014,

2 Victim Petius Tabuni after being hacked to death by militias in Manado. Photo supplied

Victim Petius Tabuni after being hacked to death by militias in Manado. Photo supplied (accompanying image too gruesome to display openly, if you must see this click here.)

 Manado, MAJALAH SELANGKAH – a Papuan student, Petius Tabuni, was hacked to death with machetes by unknown assailants, believed to be militia, around 3am local time on Sunday morning(19/10/2014) in Tondano City, Manado, North Sulawesi.

Petius, a student at Manado State Political-technical university,  died on the spot from his extensive and vicious  machete wounds across his back, body, head and face.  Five other Papuans who went to look for him were also attacked and rushed to a hospital nearby, by the same assailants.  The names of the other students and dead boy have not yet been released at time of writing.

“At this point, the  situation in Manado is not very safe. We are all too scared to leave our dormitories,”  a student from Manado told majalahselangkah.com on Sunday.

The incident began as students from Manado University (UNIMA) on Saturday night (18/10/2014) were holding a graduation celebration party at the student dormitory village of Tataaran Patar Minahasa.

The victim was reported to have been intoxicated, and left the party. Around 03:00 am, he telephoned his brother and friends saying he was being attacked.   When 5 of his friends came to the place he had called from, they found him already lying dead.

Before they had time to park their motorbikes, they were attacked with machetes for over twenty minutes by a large group of local Manado people loitering in the darkness nearby. The five were severely injured with machete wounds, with one of the five students, reportedly just out of middle school, died in hospital.

Local sources reported that a large group of Papuan students at Tondano are being forced to barricade themselves and have been stranded in their student boarding houses.   They can not leave even with a rental car, according to local sources, because there is information circulating that the perpetrators are still looking for more Papuan victims.

Manado police have refused to return calls from West Papua Media about the status of the victims and the current security situation for Papuan students in Manado.  (BT/014/MS/WPM)

Additional reporting, Edited and translated by Westpapuamedia