Saturday, March 12, 2011

AWPA update. February 2011

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

AWPA update. February 2011
A snapshot of events for February and beginning of March.

The 6th National Gathering of West Papuan solidarity groups met in Sydney on the 26 February to discuss issues of concern in relation to West Papua including the deteriorating human rights situation. Organisations present at the meeting AWPA (Melbourne), AWPA (South Australia ), AWPA (Sydney), Indonesia Human Rights Committee (New Zealand), West Papua Media Alerts, West Papua Project at CPACS , West Papua Solidarity Group Brisbane Also in attendance representatives from West Papuan National Authority (WPNA), West Papuan National Coalition for Liberation ( WPNCL). Press release fro meeting found at

A summary from Cammi below re the previous weeks' events in Sydney associated with the Comprehending WP conference
Comprehending West Papua: A report on the CPACS conference in Sydney and surrounding events

“We are Melanesian, not Indonesian!” and “Free Filip Karma!” chanted a group of West Papuans from around Australia - some refugees, some studying in Australia on scholarships – who had gathered in front of the Indonesian embassy in Maroubra, Sydney, on February 22, 2011. This demonstration urging Indonesia to free West Papuan political prisoners kicked off a week of events in Sydney bringing together academics and other advocates to focus on the status of West Papuan human rights.

Later that evening, a cocktail reception hosted by the West Papua Project at the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (CPACS), University of Sydney, followed by a dinner for conference participants, marked a merry beginning to a serious conference on Comprehending West Papua (February 23-4), the sixth in a series of conferences on the topic held by CPACS over a decade.

The conference was opened the following day by Emeritus Professor Stuart Rees and a performance group from the West Papuan community in Melbourne, both of whom graced the conference, respectively, with West Papua-centred revolutionary poetry and songs of inspiration. Up to 80 people attended the conference which convened at International House, with presenters from overseas (The Netherlands, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand and Vanuatu), and interstate (Victoria and the ACT). Papers from in absentia participants (Paul Barber and Rosa Moiwend from TAPOL based in Surrey, John Saltford from London and Jim Elmslie from South Australia) were presented on their behalf, and Eben Kirksey, currently based in Florida, addressed the conference via video link.

The conference received good media coverage prompting an op ed in the Sydney Morning Herald by Hamish McDonald ( several ABC radio interviews; a New Matilda article and coverage by Radio New Zealand International and SBS.

Paper highlights covered new interpretations of self-determination, from Akihisa Matsuno, in light of the concept of legitimate sovereignty (rather than decolonization) that guided the independence successes of East Timor, Kosovo and (soon to be) South Sudan; a presentation by Nick Chesterfield on the opportunities afforded for West Papua by new social media currently carrying revolutions in the Arab world; a spectacular analysis of the Australian Museum’s Sentani bark cloth art production by Yvonne Carrillo-Huffman; the outlaying of precise political goals for achieving independence and for post-independence governance by Jacob Rumbiak; and an astute reappraisal of the anti-Act of Free Choice campaigns that took place in West Papua in the 1960s by Dutch historian Pieter Drooglever. The entire collection of papers will be gathered into a book to be published later this year.

West Papuan political positions were represented by Rex Rumakiek and Otto Ondawame from the West Papua National Coalition for Liberation, Jacob Rumbiak and Herman Wainggai from the West Papua National Authority, and Franzalbert Joku and Nick Messet from IGSSARPRI (the Independent Group Supporting the Special Autonomous Region of Papua Within the Republic of Indonesia). Passions ran high as discussions on the different political positions (essentially support for independence or integration) predictably emerged with so much at stake for all, but a respectful atmosphere reigned and peaceful dialogue between parties transpired.
The conference closed with the launch of a beautiful short film titled Mambefor Dance directed by West Papuan Melanie Kapisa, showcasing two young children learning West Papuan dance from imitating bird of paradise rituals. Dr Jude Philp from the Macleay Museum also generously showed conference participants around the University of Sydney’s West Papua collection donated in the 1970s and housed at Fisher Library. Finally, conference participants signed an open letter initiated by Human Rights Watch to Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, requesting that the prohibitive restrictions on access to West Papua be lifted for researchers, NGOs and foreign media.
That evening at the Amnesty International offices in Sydney, Indonesian Solidarity launched a campaign to free West Papuan political prisoners. The launch was addressed by Human Rights Watch’s Andreas Harsono with a powerful presentation documenting Filip Karma’s imprisonment, and John Dowd, QC, President of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) Australia. The week closed on Saturday 26 February with the annual national meeting of the Australia West Papua Association at which campaign decisions to support West Papuan self-determination for 2011-2012 were decided upon, together with West Papuan advisers (and members) Rex Rumakiek, Jacob Rumbiak, and Otto Ondawame.

Cammi Webb-Gannon (; +61 408 727 367)

RNZI 02 March, 2011
A Papuan independence group is calling for Indonesia’s application for observer status at meetings of the Melanesian Spearhead Group to be declined. The West Papua National Coalitional for Liberation’s Secretary General says Indonesia’s application will be considered when the MSG meets at the end of the month. Rex Rumakiek says the application is a bid to crush his organisation. “That will end our efforts, our successful efforts to get the MSG to support our case to the United Nations. Indonesia should not be allowed to be a member or even observer of Melanesian Spearhead Group because that is only against the basic principles from which this body was established.” Rex Rumakiek says if Indonesia’s application is approved, the West Papua National Coalitional for Liberation will apply to the MSG for full membership.

Unicef allocates US$4 million for education in Papua
The Jakarta Post Fri, 02/11/2011
Unicef says it has allocated US$4 million for the development of education programs in Papua and West Papua provinces for the 2010-2012 period. The support is being provided in efforts to improve the quality of education offered in the two provinces, Sri Karna, a member of Unicef’s education staff in Biak, said on Friday, as quoted by Sri said the funding was intended to finance various programs, including school-based management and strategic education planning. Unicef was also closely monitoring the education programs of other provinces, particularly Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam and East Nusa Tenggara, she said.

12 Jayapura children with HIV/AIDS 'the tip of the iceberg'

The Jakarta Post 02/07/2011
The National AIDS Prevention Commission (KPA) says the 12 children the commission found living with HIV/AIDS in Jayapura district, Papua, are just the “tip of the iceberg”. The results of a survey conducted in Sentani, Jayapura, in 2010, were recently revealed by KPA Jayapura. Among the more startling revelations was that 12 children between one and four years of age were living with HIV/AIDS in that area.
"The children ... contracted HIV/AIDS from their mother during childbirth and breastfeeding," KPA Jayapura secretary Purnomo said Monday as reported by He added that the cases were just the "tip of the iceberg", and that preventive measures needed to be taken by the community to stop the spread of the disease. "These cases must be taken seriously by the community, especially by parents. If preventive measures are not taken the future of our younger generation will be put in jeopardy," he said. The survey also revealed the total number of reported cases of people living with HIV/AIDS in Jayapura regency reached 609 in 2010, with the majority of these (367) being women. The single-largest group were housewives, accounting for 164 cases, followed by commercial sex workers, 102 cases, and farmers and laborers with 61 cases.

PNG ends security operation along Indonesian border
Firmin Nanol Radio Australia 24 Feb 2011
Papua New Guinea's government says it has stopped illegal activities like drug trafficking and human smuggling along its side of the land border with Indonesia. The government deployed "Operation Sunset Merona", a joint PNG security forces operation, in PNG's West Sepik province last month. Commander Jerry Frank says the operation has achieved its mission. He says illegal activities like illegal entry, drug trafficking and human smuggling have been stopped. But Commander Frank has warned local authorities to continue monitoring the border for illegal activities. "When we leave these things might creep in again but it is up to the agencies out here to coordinate and beef up police presence that we are intending to do within three weeks," he said. The PNG government has spent more than $US1 million dollars on the six week security operation.

Torres News Friday, 04 March 2011
THE police commander of Papua New Guinea’s Western Province says high-powered weapons are regularly being smuggled into the country from the Torres Strait in exchange for drugs. Commander Peter Philip says not enough is being done to prevent the illegal trade in arms ranging from high-powered, semi-automatic weapons to small arms and shot-guns. Two weeks ago, a man who attempted to smuggle three firearms from Saibai Island to Daru has been sentenced to 18 months in prison. Law enforcement authorities in Papua New Guinea’s Western Province have described arms smuggling via the Torres Strait as a “threat to national security”. PNG Correctional Service Minister Tony Aimo told The National newspaper the country is “sitting on a time bomb”. “There is exchange of guns and drugs along this Western border which Waigani (the government area of Port Moresby) does not know about,” Mr Aimo said. “It is very fragile and a threat to our national security.” Simon Somo Harquart from Morobe, PNG was arrested by police when he attempted to move three firearms from Saibai Island into Daru. Commander Philip said his men were acting on a tip-off when they arrested Harquart. Police confiscated a .22 squipman rifle, 303 rifle, self-loading rifle and more than 150 rounds of ammunition. Mr Aimo admitted that arms smuggling and free movement of people across the borders of Indonesia and Australia was a major security concern and he would raise the issue through report to the national executive council to extend police the operations to Western Province. Provincial magistrate Patrick Monouluk said arms smuggling was a concern for authorities who lacked the capacity to police the vast border province. Mr Monouluk sentenced Harquart to 18 months imprisonment.

Police Set to Top Human Rights Abuse List: Komnas
Nivell Rayda & FaroukArnaz February 21, 2011
The Indonesian police’s abysmal human rights record took yet another hit on Monday with the revelation that almost a quarter of all human rights complaints made last year were because of alleged police brutality. The National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) said that throughout 2010 it received more than 5,600 public complaints, 1,300 of which accused the police of some sort of rights abuse. “The majority of complaints directed at the police were linked to the right to access to justice, the right to security and to live free from fear,” said Ifdhal Kasim, the commission chairman. Among the more high-profile human rights cases Komnas HAM is probing is the attack earlier this month by a mob on a small Ahmadiyah community in Pandeglang district, Banten, which left three of the sect’s members dead. The police are widely accused of failing to protect the victims despite having advance knowledge of the attack. Human rights activists say the police look set to top the Komnas HAM list for most rights abuses by the end of this year, thanks in large part to a regulation issued by the National Police allowing officers to fire live ammunition to keep riots under control. The regulation was put into use this year when police shot six unarmed farmers in Jambi province. Police claimed the farmers were trespassing on a privately owned oil palm plantation and suspected they might be thieves. The Indonesian Human Rights Monitor (Imparsial) said the police should refrain from firing live ammunition at rioters, calling instead for the government to enact the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials. The principles, adopted by a UN congress in 1990, stipulate the need for non-lethal weapons to counter riots and brawls and for the government to ensure that abusive use of force and firearms by law enforcement officials is punished as a criminal offense. Imparsial has recorded at least 135 cases of excessive use of force by the police since 2005. Surprisingly, the military, which has a long history of rights violations, including a video that appeared on the Internet of soldiers torturing Papuan civilians last year, finished only eighth in the Komnas HAM list with 203 complaints last year. “The low number of complaints doesn’t reflect the seriousness of the violations, nor does it reflect changes and reform within the military, because the victims have not received full justice,” Ifdhal said. Three of six soldiers implicated in the torture video were eventually court-martialed and sentenced to between eight and 10 months in prison, angering human rights activists in Indonesia and abroad. “The military still enjoys impunity,” said Mugiyanto Sipin, from the group Solidarity for Missing Persons. “The number of people affected by rights violation involving the military may be low, but the culture is still the same as during the Suharto era.” National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Anton Bachrul Alam declined to comment on the Komnas HAM data, saying he had not yet studied it.

36 tons of aid waits for Wasior

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta Tue, 02/15/2011
Up to 36 tons of humanitarian aid intended for victims of last year's flash flood in Wasior, West Papua, have been unable to reach them because of limited sea transportation facilities serving the region. “There is about 36 tons of aid in the form of food, garments and other items that have not been sent to Wasior because of a lack of vessels to carry them,” said Feliks Rumbewas, the head of the social services agency in the neighboring regency of Biak Numfor, as quoted by on Tuesday. Feliks said the aid had been donated by people in Biak Numfor. Wasior is a district of Teluk Wondama regency. Feliks said he expected the aid would be sent by the end of this week, and was currently waiting for information from the Teluk Wondama administration on whether it should be sent straight to Wasior or to nearby Manokwari.

News items below from Tapol visa regwestpapua list.
Flag raisers to go on trial in Manokwari
JUBI, 11 February 2011
Two Papuans are due to go on trial in Manokwari for raising the 14-star flag. The two men are Melkinus Bleskadit and Dance Bleskadit who, along with five others, raised flags on 14 December 2010. The documents regarding the two men were handed over by the police to the attorney's office. A lawyer acting for the two men, Yan Christian Warinussy, said that this is the second stage in the judicial process, following interrogation and bringing together other evidence. 'The two men are now awaiting action on their case by the prosecutors who will present the charges against them,' he said. He said that the two men were likely to be charged for treason - makar - and the lawyer hoped that the trial proceedings would commence as soon as possible.
Four others involved in the flag raising are Jhon Wena, 21, George Rawiay, 20, Benha Supangha, 20, and Alex Duwen, 22. [The name of the fifth person was not mentioned .] The ages of the two men due to be formally charged were not given. The seven men were arrested as they were commemorating the anniversary of the independence declaration of the West Melanesian Republic o 14 December 2010. The five men are being held in police custody and are still undergoing interrogation by the police.

JUBI on deplorable human rights situation in West Papua
JUBI, 8 February 2011
The National Human Rights Commission [Komnas HAM] in Papua has called on the Indonesian government to take responsibility for a number of human rights violations that have occurred in West Papua. 'It is for the government to resolve these problems,' said Matius Murib,' who insisted that the government must take responsibility for this situation. He said that if the government fails to do anything, the number of violations will continue to increase. 'There is no other way out of the problem,' he said. It was, he said a matter for the central and also the provincial governments. He said he has the impression that the state has simply washed its hands of the issue. Nothing is being done about it. The evidence is, he said, that the provincial government has issued no special regulation to strengthen the hands of the local Komnas HAM. There was a need for a regulation that would strengthen the legal position of Komnas HAM.

DAP rejects latest transmigration plans
JUBI, 21 February, 2011

The chairman of DAP, the Papuan Traditional Council, has called on the Indonesian government to be more judicious about plans to send yet more transmigrants to Papua.

Forkorus Yaboisembut said that plans by the Transmigration Department to move more transmigrants into Papua was a matter of great concern. 'I very much hope that Papua will not yet again be the target for more transmigrants because this is turning the Papuan people into a minority in their own homeland.' He went on to say that sending more transmigrants in Papua was creating many more problems. In addition to turning local communities into minorities, it is also fostering feelings of jealousy because the majority of people who run businesses and own plenty of capital are those who have come from other parts of Indonesia. Transmigration is also resulting in local Papuan cultures being swamped by cultures from outside. The government has announced that it has allocated Rp 600 billion to cover the cost of bringing more transmigrants to Papua from other parts of the country. The new transmigration programme is scheduled to continue until 2014.

Prisoners's lawyer concerned about health of her client in Nabire Prison
JUBI, 15 February 2011
Latifa Anum Siregar, the lawyer acting for the prisoner, Kimanus Wenda, has written to the authorities calling for her client to be moved from Nabire Prison to Jayapura in order to receive the medical attention he needs. She said that he is suffering from a tumour. She said she had written to the provincial office of the law and human rights ministry on 4 February when she explained that Kimanus Wenda had been undergoing treatment for a long time, facilitated by the medical personnel in Nabire Prison who have now said that he must be operated on at the earliest opportunity.
However because of the lack of medical equipment available in Nabire and for family reasons, Kimanus Wenda should be moved to Jayapura where he would have the support of his family and a lawyer during medication and the operation. She has asked the Nabire Hospital to issue a letter calling for him to receive medical treatment and to be operated on in Jayapura.

AJI has urged press to monitor rights violations in Papua
JUBI, 11 February 2011
The chairman of the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) in Jayapura, Victor Mambor, has called on the press in Papua to regularly monitor cases of human rights violations in Papua. 'Reports written in the media about these violations are helpful to organisations that fight for the rights of the victims of violations,' he said, during a speech at a workshop on the Papuan perspective regarding human rights violations.
He stressed the importance of the role of the press in reporting the human rights situation in Papua because this can help reduce acts of repression against the civilian population. 'Reports about human rights in Papua are only available from NGOs active in the field, and these are frequently quoted in reports that appear in the media,' said Mambor. He also sstressed the importance in ensuring that these published reports are accurate and credible. It was also important, he said, for journalists to provide the appropriate references so as to make it easier for others to investigate the violations that occur.

Press releases/reports/opinion pieces etc.
VIDEO: More Indonesian brutality against Civilians in Kapeso, 2009
West Papua media alerts
Indonesian military brutality and torture of West Papuan civilians is revealed in a video released today exclusively by West Papua Media.
The footage shows troops from Indonesia’s elite counter-terrorism unit Detachment 88, who receive Australian and US military training, engaged in a raid in late May 2009 on the Papuan village of Kampung Bagusa, at Kapeso airstrip in Mamberamo regency. The video can be viewed at the following link:

In the early hours of 3 March, journalist Banjir Ambarita was stabbed in the Indonesian province of Papua. He is currently in intensive care, recovering after an operation. He is at risk of further attacks and intimidation.

Three days of torture, it seems, is not a serious human rights violation in Indonesia.
by Elaine Pearson Published in: Global Post FEBRUARY 9, 2011

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