Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)
PO Box 28, Spit Junction, NSW 2088
AWPA update. - A snapshot of events -West Papua
September 2011-begining October
The Pacific Islands Forum held in Auckland (7-9 September) again disappointed West Papuans with no mention of the human rights situation in West Papua in the official communiqué (unlike in the past ) and West Papua again not gaining observer status at the Forum although the US territories of American Samoa, Guam and the Commonwealth of Northern Marianas did become Forum Observers. However, the issue of West Papua achieved a lot of media coverage thanks to the local civil society organizations in New Zealand including the Indonesian Human Rights Committee who organized public meetings and rallies leading up to and during the PIF. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10749993
Media students from Pacific Media Centre at AUT did a terrific job covering the PIF and some of their stories at http://www.pmc.aut.ac.nz/articles/caf
Some excitement was caused by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon ‘s response to a question on West Papua in which he “stated that it was up to the Member States to decide on the re-listing or de-listing of any territory as a non-self-governing territory.”
However, there was no surprise to see a clarification a few days later stating
“His off-the-cuff response may have led to the misunderstanding that he was suggesting the matter of Papua should be placed on the agenda of the Decolonization Committee. The Secretary-General wishes to clarify that this was not his intention”
Some of the images from the PIF at http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.231954730185237.55675.116517195062325&type=1
The Asian Human Rights Commission released two appeals in relation to West Papua. (Urgent Appeal Update: AHRC-UAU-041-2011) The Manokwari district court in West Papua has sentenced two peaceful activists to seven and a half months and two years imprisonment respectively. The trial was characterised by a series of violations of the Indonesian criminal procedure and appeared to be politicised and biased. The victims had participated in a peaceful protest in December 2010. The Manokwari Court ignored several basic rights of the accused and the verdict was given despite the lack of sufficient evidence. Five more victims are still undergoing their trial process. http://www.humanrights.asia/news/urgent-appeals/AHRC-UAU-041-2011 and (Urgent Appeal Update: AHRC-UAU-046-2011) The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received updated information from the Institute for Research, Recognition and Development of Legal Aid (LP3BH) in West Papua regarding the sentencing of another Papuan student and the acquittal of four others in relation to their involvement in a peaceful protest on 14 December 2010. While the AHRC welcomes the acquittal of four of the seven victims brought before court the sentencing of the other three presents a violation of their right to freedom of expression. Concerns over the imprisonment of Mr. Bleskadit and the application of the rebellion charge against peaceful protesters in other cases in West Papua remain.
The Commission for Missing Persons & Victims of Violence (Kontras) reported that the Indonesian military are still involved in cases of abuse and that between July and September, Kontras recorded 16 cases of abuse, 15 shootings, five cases of intimidation, 11 cases of maltreatment and two murders. In Papua, Kontras said that military violence had killed 23 people, including 22 civilians. The violence also injured 8 military personnel and 10 civilians. http://www.tempointeractive.com/hg/nasional/2011/10/03/brk,20111003-359564,uk.html
and in a joint statement NGO’s in Indonesia including the Human rights watchdog Imparsial, the Commission for the Missing and Victims of Violence (Kontras), the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), said recent violence in Papua in July and August underscores the urgent need for the government to reassess its military approach and place respect for human rights at the heart of conflict resolution policies and practices. Freedom of expression and freedom to assemble have been repeatedly violated in Papua, which in turn has seriously fueled tensions. http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2011/09/22/reassess-military-approach-papua-ngos.html
Papua, Indonesia’s poorest province
28 September, 2011
TEMPO Interactive, JAYAPURA:The latest figures from the bureau of statistics show that Papua is the poorest province in Indonesia. “Around 36.8 percent or 980,000 of a total 2.8 million people in Papua are poor,” said Ali Said from the Central Bureau of Statistics’ (BPS) Analysis and Statistic Development Directorate, yesterday. According to Ali, the measurement was based on the components of food, which is equal to 2,100 kkl per capita per day. The basic food need is represented by 52 commodities, including rice.
RI, Aussie special forces launch joint exercise
The Jakarta Post 09/09/2011
JAKARTA: The Indonesian Army Special Forces (Kopassus) is currently conducting a two-week joint training exercise with the Australian Special Operations Command (SOCOMD) in the Thousand Islands regency, north of Jakarta. Members of the special forces from both countries will take part in exercises, including live fire training and marine terrorism prevention, tempointeraktif.com reported Thursday.
Kopassus commander Maj. Gen. Lodewijk F. Paulus officially opened the joint exercise on Tuesday at the Kopassus headquarters in Cijantung, Jakarta. The exercise is hoped to encourage exchange of knowledge between the two delegations, and improve cooperation between both countries, he said. “It also aims to improve the forces’ abilities and skills in personal and group fighting techniques and tactics,” he said. He added that Indonesian and Australian forces had been carrying out joint exercises since 1992.
RI to boost military ties with 3 European states
The Jakarta Post, 09/10/2011
Indonesia is set to boost military ties with Germany, France and Spain, deputy defense minister Sjafrie Sjamsoeddin said in Jakarta on Saturday. “We are currently completing drafts for the [new] military partnerships between Indonesia and Germany and between Indonesia and Spain. The result will be MoUs signed by defense ministers from each country,” Sjafrie said as quoted by Antara. The draft for the new partnership with France, meanwhile, is still in its early stages, he added. Sjafrie said the signing of the MoUs was expected to intensify and expand the scope of military ties already existing between Indonesia and the three European countries. “We will also intensify existing defense industry partnerships between Indonesian state enterprises and the three countries, in order to support a more independent national defense industry.” He added starting from Sunday, he would engage in talks in Berlin and Stuttgart in Germany, Madrid in Spain, and Paris and Marseille in France on the new military partnerships.
Merauke earmarks Rp 1.7 billion for ice factory
The Jakarta Post, 09/15/2011
The Merauke administration in Papua has allocated Rp 1.7 billion (US$193,800) to establish an ice factory to meet the demand for fish starching in the region. Merauke’s Maritime and Fishery Agency head Korbianus Topay said the ice factory is expected to have a production capacity of 15 tons of ice per day. “We have decided upon a location in Lampu Satu District,” Korbianus said Thursday as quoted by kompas.com. The location was picked because of its proximity to a fishing village. The Merauke Statistics Agency recorded that the region produced a total of 3.4 million tons of sea produce in 2009, of which approximately 54,979 tons were exported.
Bodies of pilots recovered in Indonesia
(AFP) – 13/9/11
TIMIKA, Indonesia — The bodies of an Australian pilot and his Slovakian co-pilot who died when their small plane crashed in Indonesia's Papua province have been recovered, according to an official. "At 7:00am today we sent three helicopters to recover the bodies of Susi Air pilot David Cootes from Australia and co-pilot Thomas Munk from Slovakia," Papua police spokesman Wachyono said on Wednesday.
The choppers collected the bodies from the crash site in Yahukimo district and flew them to Biak island, off Papua's northwestern coast. Wachyono did not say when the bodies would be repatriated. Susi Air's light Cessna Grand Caravan plane was carrying food and fuel to a remote district when it crashed Friday in bad weather. Thick fog and bad weather prevented a prompt search-and-rescue mission to the remote site.The sprawling Indonesian archipelago relies heavily on air transport and has a poor aviation record. Turbulent weather conditions in Papua have caused several aviation accidents in recent years.
4 HIV positive pregnant women found in Merauke in August: KPA
The Jakarta Post, 09/12/2011
At least 14 women were found to be HIV positive in Merauke, Papua, during the month of August, four of them pregnant, the HIV/AIDS Prevention Commission (KPA) reports. Merauke KPA secretary Heni Astuti Suparman added that last month around 240 people were tested for HIV/AIDS in her area. "The greatest concern was finding four of those HIV positive women were pregnant," she said. At least six of the HIV positive women were classified as in high-risk groups and one had worked as a showgirl, Hen said. She further added that at least eight HIV positive pregnant women had been found in Merauke since December last year. The findings are alarming because HIV/AIDS has increasingly spread in the housewife group, which now accounts for at least 169 people living with HIV/AIDS in Papua. Meanwhile, the numbers of HIV positive husbands whose wives are HIV positive is currently unknown."Some have been tested and the results have come back negative. We will test again to make sure," Heni said Sunday as reported by kompas.com.
Komnas HAM is gathering data about the 15 arrests in Skyline
Bintang Papua. 8 September 2011
Although thirteen of the fifteen Papuans who were arrested on 31 August have since been released, the National Human Rights Commission's (Komnas HAM) Papua branch is continuing to pay serious attention to what happened, said Mathius Murib, deputy chairman of the commission. 'We have been paying close attention to what has happened from the start up to the present moment,' he said. 'The proper procedures were not followed and the people who were detained were subjected to mal-treatment, and what is even more disturbing is that a child of 7 or 8 years old was kidnapped at the same time,' he said. After receiving complaints from the families of the victims, Komnas HAM decided to investigate the case.'Since receiving these complaints we have been conducting investigations which are still on-going.' Commenting on allegations by the KNPB - National Committee for West Papua - that the events in Papua that preceded the arrests had been deliberately set up, especially the incidents in Jayapura, he said that we would need to have evidence that this was true. 'People can express their opinion about this but everything needs to be based on careful investigations which can be properly accounted for.' 'We need to know who was responsible, what the motivation was and whether the incidents were deliberately set up or not.' When asked whether the incidents were being comprehensively investigated, he said he said that a number of incidents had occurred one after the other, almost daily, cases that need to be handled by the police.Moreover, some people were involved in several of the incidents. 'Is this a matter for the police or for the NGOs or for the Komnas HAM? Whatever the case, they must be dealt with, and it is mainly the responsibility of the police to do so.' Asked whether the Komnas HAM was conducting its own investigations, he said that this would depend on whether it falls within its authority to do so. The procedure requires that there should be an official request. Komnas HAM could make recommendations but that is all. But basically it is the responsibility of the police.' As yet, the government and the legislature have said nothing. 'Up until now, those who have been expressing their concern about the cases are the NGOs, the churches and Komnas HAM. But issuing statements is not enough; bodies need to do whatever is within their authority in order to change things for the better. This is a matter for the legislature which should exercise its powers to do so.' (from tapol)
Alleged OPM members may be charged with Nafri and Skyland incidents
Bintang Papua, 19 September 2011
Jayapura: Two Papuans who are allegedly mmbers of TPN/OPM and who are facing charges in connection with the burning of a taxi and shootings that occurred in Kampung Nafri as well as at Skyland and were arrested on 31 August, are now at the stage of processing by the police force in Jayapura. In order to obtain more documentation about the case, the police have questioned two further witnesses. The results of these investigations cannot yet been reveal. The public relations officer of the police said that other witnesses were likely to be summoned which may hopefully speed up the handling of the case. These witnesses were being summoned as they may have seen people who fled when a group of armed criminals opened fire on local people. He said that one of the accused has been identified as PK who is alleged to have been involved in the killing of the driver of the taxi that was burnt and the other accused, EK was only allegedly involved in the burning and killing of the taxi driver in Skyland. 'It is hoped that the questioning of the witnesses will lead to the identification of other suspects.,' the official said. The police say that they intend to continue their investigations and hunt down other possible perpetrators in the case of the shootings in Kampung Nafri. (from tapol)
Indonesian Minister on Papua Conflict: ‘We get it’
Agence France-Presse September 28, 2011
New York. Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said on Tuesday that his government was fully aware of problems in restive Papua and was working to find a way to deliver autonomy. Speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, Natalegawa said that Indonesia has listened to human rights groups and sought ways to address legitimate concerns since the country embraced democracy in the 1990s. “The key thing here, to all our international interlocutors, friends, and [those] both critical as well as supportive: We get it,” Natalegawa said. He said that the two provinces of Papua “need special attention, special empowerment. Autonomy is the way to go.” “But when there are problems,” he said, “let’s address them in an inclusive way and problem-solving way rather than simply creating more challenges ahead.” Indonesia took over Papua in 1969 and has since faced a low-level insurgency. Human Rights Watch says that Indonesian forces have killed civilians and imprisoned peaceful activists. Indonesia in 2001 introduced autonomy in Papua -- a vast, mineral-rich province that shares an island with Papua New Guinea -- but local activists say that the implementation has been half-hearted and not improved their rights. Natalegawa stressed to his audience that Indonesia was open to change, saying that its positions at the UN Security Council on issues including North Korea and Myanmar has gradually evolved. Natalegawa said, without further details, that the government was considering its positions on Iran and human rights-related issues including capital punishment.
Freeport workers stage another protest
The Jakarta Post 09/30/2011
Mimika: Thousands of PT Freeport Indonesia workers staged another protest in front of the Mimika Manpower Agency over what they said was a violation committed by the company. The protesters who have been on strike since Sept. 15, said the company had broken the law by recruiting new workers while they were on strike.
“We came here to report an alleged violation of the law [by Freeport]. Besides, we want to report the management for attempting to intimidate workers,” workers’ field coordinator Jimmy said Thursday as quoted by tempointeraktif.com. Mimika manpower agency chief Dionisius Mamayo said his office would study the alleged violation report. “Neither the company management nor employees can say whether the strike is legal. Only the court reserves the authority to decide that,” he added.
Journalists Document Life in Rural Papua
Jakarta Globe Anita Rachman | September 27, 2011
Eighty percent of Papuans live in the approximately 3,000 kampongs spread across the country’s largest province, so any meaningful understanding of how Papuans live must start at the village level. That was the reasoning that inspired a group of journalists from the Voice of Papuan Women Tabloid (TSPP) to travel from village to village for more than two years. They talked to people and looked at the facilities and infrastructure, which the TSPP’s editor in chief, Angela Flassy, says remains predictably underdeveloped. Their findings from 34 villages, initially published weekly in the TSPP, were first collected into a book in 2009, “From Village to Village: The Journalistic Journey of the Voice of Papuan Women Tabloid.” Now a second book covering 13 villages is set to hit shelves. Paskalis Keagop, a senior editor at the TSPP, says the team of eight journalists checked on basic infrastructure such as “schools, puskesmas [community health centers], roads, bridges and markets. We also visited two mining areas.” He adds that in the 47 villages visited so far, “the conditions are generally the same.” “Education and health, these are the basic services that people need but that are lacking in general,” he says. He cites Wambes village, where residents have to rely on rainwater because of a lack of potable water sources. According to the account in the book, Frans Abar, the village chief, said that in 2008 the provincial public works office drilled a well to provide a reliable water source, as well as a reservoir to store the water only the officials never handed the keys to the well or reservoir to the village residents. No one in Wambes was involved in the process. Frans said it was difficult to find clean water in the area, especially during the dry season, forcing residents to resort to “living from rainwater.” Over in Puay village, the book tells of a shortage of a different sort: of teachers, doctors and nurses. The village has only one school, a state elementary school. Even then, the students can count themselves lucky if teachers show up three days a week. “Teachers don’t want to live in the village. They prefer to say in towns,” said Belsazar Doyapo, the village head. Puay also has a high number of malaria, tuberculosis and skin disease cases, caused mostly by the consumption of dirty water drawn from Lake Setani. But there are no doctors or nurses at the local health center. For treatment, residents have to take a two-hour boat ride to the nearest clinic. Paskalis says many other villages are in dire need of better education and health care. In a vocational school at a village in Sarmi district, for instance, many students have difficulty reading, he says. Angela says there are more schools being built across Papua, but few teachers are willing to accept what is widely seen as a hardship posting, and there are not enough books to go around. “It’s probably not a new story for you, but what can we say? The conditions five years ago, the conditions today and the conditions in the next five years won’t change, I don’t think,” she says. She points out that in Wambes, the local administration built a library, but the provincial administration did not supply it with any books, magazines or even newspapers. When Paskalis visited the village, he found the library had been overrun by a herd of goats. But Angela says she disagrees with the idea that the people of Papua live in poverty. “Because we don’t. Just look at our natural resources wealth,” she says. “The problem is that despite the presence of the government, we don’t feel that it’s actually governing.” The TSPP team says it has many more villages to visit. It adds that it has no ulterior motive for publishing the books, but is simply sharing Papuans’ stories with the rest of the country. “The government might see it as criticism,” says Yakobus Wally, a TSPP reporter. “But we don’t actually criticize them. We’re simply describing the reality on the ground.”
Four Papuan students acquitted of makar charges
According to report received today from the defence team of five Papuan students from UNIPA university, four of the five men have been acquaitted by a court in Manokwari and will be released immediately. They had faced the charge of makar - subversion - in connection with their involvement in an event to mark the anniversary of the proclamation of the Independence of the Republic of West Melanesia on 14 December last year. The four acquitted men are Alex Duwiri, John Wilson Wader, Penehas Serongan and Yance Sekeyab. The fifth student, John Raweyai, who had jumped onto the platform to speak on the issue was found guilty and sentenced to nine months, with deduction for the time already served in detention. Yan Christian Warinussy, a member of the defence team, described the acquittal as a courageous decision by the panel of judges. He said that the men were the victims of mistaken arrest and investigation by the police who took them into custody. (from tapol)
Island in focus: Many artifacts in disrepair in Papua museum
The Jakarta Post Mon, 09/26/2011
Jayapura: At least 700 of the 3,447 artifacts on display at the Papua State Museum are damaged due to poor maintenance, the museum’s curator Sukardi says. “Up to 200 are seriously damaged and 500 others are lightly damaged,” Sukardi said in Jayapura on Saturday. He said that most of the museum’s exhibits consisted of organic artifacts, and that the museum’s budget was not enough to cover repairs. “Most of the organic exhibits have been damaged by termites,” Sukardi said as quoted by Antara news agency. Sukardi, who participated in the project to restore Borobudur Temple in Central Java in the 1980s, said he had on many occasions asked Papua’s provincial culture and tourism office to increase the museum’s budget, but had received no response. Because of the inadequate funds, thousands of the exhibits at the museum are maintained using simple or low-cost methods, he said.
Report of sweepings and arrest of Papuans, including an 8-year old girl
Report posted by KNPB Sentani on 2 September,2011
[Abridged in translation by TAOL]
\Sweepings of Papuan homes in South Jayapura district, Wakno subdistrict , West Papua. On 31 August , the homes of four Papuans were subjected to sweepings by the security forces of the Republic of Indonesia, specifically by the Army (TNI-AD), Brimob (special unit of the Indonesian police) and the police force of Papua. The four homes affected were the home of Gidi Wend, the home of Arman Koyoga, and the homes of Gembala Ciky Koyoga and Giben Kogoya. During the sweeping operation, thirteen Papuans were arrested. According to 13 witnesses who we questioned about the incident, the occupants of the four houses were in the houses at the time of the operation, some of whom were asleep. The security forces entered the area where the homes were located and started firing warning shots which traumatised the local people while the thirteen people who had been arrested, including a girl aged thirteen managed to flee but they were chased by the security forces and arrested again.They were then taken to the local police station, where ten were released while two were held and have been designated as suspects. The two are Ekimar Kogoya, 22 years, and Panius Kogoya, 20 years old. There is no information about the whereabouts of the eight year old girl. There are fears that she may have been killed or that something else happened to her. Her family are now looking for her.
The security forces that conducted the sweepings are formally charging the two now being held with involvement in the killings in Nafri last month and say that they are suspected of being members of the TPN/OPM. There is no basis for suspecting them as being involved in the TPN/OPM or involvement in the Nafri incident Our investigations suggest that the Nafri incident was perpetrated not by the TPN but by Kopassus. We therefore call on the police to halt their sweepings and arrests because there are no grounds for these activities to continue. These activities are resulting in many Papuans being victimised. And we call upon national and international organisations which are concerned about the situation in West Papua to exert pressure on the Papua police, the TNI-AD and Brimob to halt the injustices now underway in Papua. The arrest of an eight-year old girl in a serious breach of human rights laws in Indonesia according to which an eight-year cannot be held responsible for criminal actions and is in breach of the Indonesian Constitution. Port Numbay, 2 September 2011.
Reports/opinion pieces/press releases etc.
Would An Independent West Papua Be A Failing State?
David Adam Stott The Asia-Pacific Journal Vol 9, Issue 37 No 1, September 12, 2011.
“Where it cuts across the island of New Guinea, the 141st meridian east remains one of colonial cartography's more arbitrary yet effective of boundaries.”1
On July 9, 2011 another irrational colonial border that demarcated Sudan was consigned to history when South Sudan achieved independence. In the process an often seemingly irrevocable principle of decolonisation, that boundaries inherited from colonial entities should remain sacrosanct, has been challenged once again. Indeed, a cautious trend in international relations has been to support greater self-determination for ‘nations’ without awarding full statehood.
Leaks reveal it's past time to speak for West Papua
Jennifer Robinson SMH September 12, 2011
Having been unjustifiably targeted on the ''WikiLeaks Threat'' list in secret US documents leaked in February, I was somewhat surprised to be left off the Indonesian intelligence watch list leaked last month about West Papua. I mean, every man and Naomi Robson was on it. And I've been acting as lawyer to exiled Papuan independence leader Benny Wenda far longer than I've acted for Julian Assange.
The Papuans’ (il) legitimate battle for independence
Harison Citrawan, Jakarta | Mon, 09/05/2011
Papua has once again come under not only the national but also the international spotlight. The situation was exacerbated by a leaked document about the Indonesian Army titled Autonomy of Papuan Separatists, on the Internet. Many human rights activists were quick to voice criticism over the report. ..
West Papua: A history of exploitation
West Papua was taken over by Indonesia in 1969, and a legacy of oppression and environmental devastation has followed.
NAJ Taylor Last Modified: 21 Sep 2011
A history of violence at Indonesia mine
Aljazeera . NAJ Taylor Last Modified: 02 Oct 2011
Rio Tinto has cosy ties with the Indonesian military, who have a long history of human rights abuses. Investing in conflict-affected and high-risk areas is a growing concern for responsible businesses and investors. Companies based in developed countries often operate in lesser-developed foreign markets, where governance standards are lax, corruption is high and business practices are poor.
Residents Flee As Troops Mobilise
NewMatilda.com 9 Sep 2011
By Setyo BudiThousands of people have deserted their homes in the Central Highlands of West Papua as Indonesian troops step up their search for a rebel leader. Setyo Budi reports
West Papua Faces Security Crackdown
NewMatilda.com 5 Sep 2011
As security in West Papua deteriorates, local groups have stepped up their calls for dialogue with Jakarta. Joe Collins from the Australia West Papua Association reviews the latest developments