Thursday, June 28, 2012

1) The last frontier

1) The last frontier
2) OPM: Three regions ready to fly the Morning Star flag
3)  Papua Police confiscate homemade weapon
4) INDONESIA: Police shot civilians in a petty fight in Papua resulted in one person



1) The last frontier
In West Papua Indonesian history is repeating itself as tragedy
Jun 30th 2012 | from the print edition

THE flight from Bali to Jayapura, in the Indonesian half of Papua, offers a stunning view. The planes stop at Timika soon after dawn to connect with helicopters leaving for Grasberg, the largest gold mine and third-largest copper mine in the world. As the sun rises, a vast expanse of lush forest emerges. From the air it is a vision of Eden. But on the ground, these are dark days.

Ever since 1969, and a ludicrously misnamed “Act of Free Choice”, when a decision by 1,025 selected Papuans was deemed an act of self-determination accepting Indonesian sovereignty over the former Dutch colony, simmering, low-level resistance has persisted. After the fall in 1998 of the dictator, Suharto, and the flowering of Indonesian democracy, the region was granted “special autonomy” in 2001 and renamed Papua (from Irian Jaya). In 2003 it was split into two provinces—Papua and West Papua. But Indonesia continues to rule the region in the Suharto style, through shadowy parts of the security forces. This year a spate of unexplained deaths has raised tensions. At least 17 people have been killed since May. Jayapura’s usually bustling streets are deserted after nightfall. Anonymous text-messages warn people to stay indoors, recalling memories of previous crackdowns.

In Wamena, a sprawling town in the highlands, it is wise to take a bicycle rickshaw, not a motorcycle taxi. The cyclists, calves bulging as they labour, are native Papuans and know the way. The motorbikes belong to the Indonesian migrants—from Sulawesi, Madura and Java—who make up 40-50% of the 3.6m population of the two provinces. Migrants own the shops, restaurants and building firms, and man the police and army. Native Papuans sit in the dirt to hawk vegetables and fruit. Women traipse in from the countryside with hand-knotted nets strapped to their foreheads, stuffed with cabbages, piglets and sometimes their babies. To the migrants’ disgust, some men still come into town naked but for their penis gourds. The mainly Muslim settlers and mostly Christian Papuans do not always get along.

Three recent incidents, above all, have contributed to the climate of fear. On May 29th a German tourist was shot on the beach at Jayapura. Activists link the shooting to hearings that month at the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva, where Indonesia was discussed. Among the countries unusually critical of its record, especially in Papua, was Germany. The suspicion is that parts of Indonesia’s security forces want to show that Papua remains dangerous, blaming the Free Papua Movement, or OPM, a secessionist group that has used guerrilla tactics.
Then on June 6th a ten-year-old boy was injured by a motorcycle ridden at high speed by two Indonesian soldiers through a village near Wamena. Angry locals attacked the soldiers, killing one of them. Their comrades came back for revenge on the villagers, setting fire to some of their houses. At least one person died. For critics of the army this was a typical tale of its indiscipline, brutality and impunity. Even after a video seen around the world in 2010 showed soldiers torturing Papuan suspects, the three culprits received jail sentences of just eight to ten months, for insubordination.

In the third incident, security forces in Jayapura on June 14th shot dead Mako Tabuni, a leading advocate of a referendum on Papuan independence. The police say they had reason to suspect him of recent killings, and that he was carrying the gun used to shoot the German tourist. Eyewitnesses, however, have said he was unarmed and doing nothing more aggressive than buying betel nut when he was killed.

All of this is eerily reminiscent of the way Indonesia ruled its former province of East Timor for 24 years. There, too, abusive and mysterious security forces fuelled local resentment. There, too, Indonesia divided to rule, stressing the fissures among the local population. There, too, it would blame unrest on a tiny resistance manipulated by foreign forces. In East Timor Indonesia tried to contain unrest by closing off the territory. Papua is largely off-limits to foreign journalists. Foreign NGOs—even those dealing with an HIV epidemic spread by prostitution—are finding visas for their workers hard to come by. Some feel pressure to leave Papua altogether.

Yet there are reasons to doubt that Papua can follow East Timor into the independence it has now, as Timor-Leste, enjoyed for ten years. First, East Timor’s legal status was different. Through the occupation, Portugal remained, under the UN charter, the “administering” power. Much as the outside world might have liked to forget the problem, there were legal reminders of its existence. The Act of Free Choice, though a flagrant injustice, was nevertheless one to which the UN was party. Second, the Papuan resistance is not as coherent even as the faction-ridden Timorese.

Third, and most important, Timor-Leste’s oil-and-gas income is relatively modest, and started to flow only after independence. Papua is already a treasure-chest. That immense forest is pockmarked in places by isolated lighter-green squares, where the trees have been felled and oil palm planted. And Freeport McMoRan, Grasberg’s owner, claims to be the largest single taxpayer to the Indonesian government. Indonesia is not going to part with such riches easily. It has invested heavily in Papua, buying itself a corps of people with a vested interest in its continued rule.
The SBY effect

Its rule in Papua is a reminder that Indonesia’s current president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, was a general under Suharto, that the army has not cleaned up its act since its atrocities in East Timor and in the conflict in Aceh in Sumatra, and that, in some other respects, too, his regime looks less like the repudiation of Suharto’s Indonesia than its continuation. But Mr Yudhoyono enjoys being feted internationally as the leader of a beacon of democratic moderation. Papua may be the place where that image, already tarnished, is irrevocably stained.
from the print edition | Asia


 2) OPM: Three regions ready to fly the Morning Star flag
Bintang Papua, 27 June 2012

OPM: 'Three regions are ready to fly the Morning Star flag'

The OPM's general coordinator, Lambert Pekikir has announced that three regions in Papua are ready to fly the Morning Star flag on 1 July, the anniversary of the OPM's military wing, the TPN.

The flag flying will last for three days, along with fireworks. He said that the three regions are Wamena, Keerom and Yapen Waropen. People in Wamena are from the mountains, the people Yapen Waropen are coastal people, while those from valleys and lowland areas live in Keerom.

OPM troops along with  civilian sympathisers will take part in the flag-flying. 'There will be ceremonies as well, attended by the general public and those struggling for an independent Papua.

'Our military forces are well prepared for these events and if the TNI and police respond with violence, we are ready,' he said.

Meanwhile,  the police have issued an ultimatum urging that there is no flag flying.  'The Morning Star flag is not a flag of the Indonesian Republic or a regional symbol, and anyone who unfurls that flag anywhere in Papua will be seen as having  violated the law and  will face the consequences in accord with the laws in force in Indonesia.'

The army spokesman, Yohannes Nugroho Wicaksono  called on people not to fly the flag. 'In the interest of security and order throughout the area of Papua,  we urging people not to be provoked by those who are planning this event.'

Activities undertaken by the police in anticipation of the flag flying on 1 July include intensifying police patrols and sweepings in all police regions. He said that the police have been ordered to act professionally.'

The chairman of Commission A of  the DPRP, the Papuan legislative assembly, Ruben Magai, has called on all the people not to be provoked by unnecessary issues in advance of the TPN anniversary. He hoped that people will continue to engage in their everyday activities, while calling on the security forces not to use violence. 'The persuasive approach must be prioritised. The best thing would be for all those concerned to sit down and talk, to as to find out what each sides wants.

[Slightly abridged translation by TAPOL]

3) Papua Police confiscate homemade weapon
The Jakarta Post | Archipelago | Thu, 06/28/2012 7:38 AM
Jayapura: The Papua Police have confiscated a homemade weapon together with 47 bullets discovered in a suitcase abandoned near a trash can on Jl. Pipa Argapura in Jayapura.

The weapon was discovered by two scavengers on Monday at 11:30 a.m. local time.

“The two scavengers were suspicious upon discovering the suitcase. As soon as they saw the weapon after opening it, they reported it to the nearest police post,” Papua Police spokesman Adj. Sr. Comr. Johanes Nugroho said Wednesday.

Johanes explained that the box in which the bullets were stored was not made in Indonesia but came from overseas.

The weapon with its bullets, he said, had been sent to the National Police’s forensic laboratory for ballistic tests. “It will take one to two weeks to know the test results,” he said.

When asked whether the weapon was used by unknown assailants to terrorize the Jayapura area in a spate of recent unsolved shootings, Johannes said he could not answer because he had to wait for the results of the ballistic tests-

4) INDONESIA: Police shot civilians in a petty fight in Papua resulted in one person died and four others injured

June 28, 2012
Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-110-2012

28 June 2012
INDONESIA: Police shot civilians in a petty fight in Papua resulted in one person died and four others injured
ISSUES: Extrajudicial killing, police violence, right to life, inhuman & degrading treatment
Dear friends,
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information regarding the death of a civilian and the injury of five others after the police shot them in a petty fight in Degeuwo, Papua, on 15 May 2012. The five civilians were having an argument with the owner of a billiard parlour they were visiting. The owner of the parlour called the police and three officers arrived and became involved in a fight with the civilians. None of the civilians were armed at that time.
CASE NARRATIVE:………………………………


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